A showcase of culture at Brunei Film Blitz

The Brunei Film Blitz (BFB) is the centre for all things film during December. Held at the Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia (MIAA) and the Jerudong Park (JP) Mini Amphitheatre, it featured acclaimed movies of different countries and genres, the wide selection attracted hundreds of movie-goers.

Some would reminisce at the blast from the past brought on by the films; others have their curiosity sparked about the countries the films originated from.

In association with the MIAA, High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar screened four acclaimed Indian movies of different genres on December 20 and 21. The Indian films drew emotional response from the local community through its cultural facets, which the envoy saw a reinforcement of the cultural bonds between the two countries.

The high commissioner along with members of the Indian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam, participated in the inaugural ceremony for the screening of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag as well as Mary Kom were biopics based on the true story of the Flying Sikh – world champion runner and Olympian Milkha Singh and Indian Women Boxer Mary Kom respectively. ‘Hawaa Hawaai, a children’s movie, presented the small aspirations in which even the orphans and street children thrive. It motivated one’s search for his/her raison d’etre of life and see the happiness in the small and common things it offers. Wazir, a crime thriller, narrated the story of a friendship between a policeman and a disabled man led by unusual circumstance.

On Sunday, the BFB also featured Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?, a film that single handedly revived the Indonesian film industry from economic collapse. Crowds flocked the amphitheatre to catch the powerful film portraying the life of normal teenagers.

Festival Director Siti Kamaluddin with movie-goers. PHOTOS: BRUNEI FILM BLITZ
ABOVE & BELOW: Indian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar with members of the Indian High Commission; and Pakistan High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Major General (Rtd) Abdul Aziz Tariq, members of the Pakistan community in Brunei and movie enthusiasts in a group photo

Despite being a hit, it took the film producer 14 years to release its sequel Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2?. The Indonesian Embassy, the Indonesian community in Brunei and locals reminisced how the film impacted their lives during its release in 2002.

Fika Noor Muhammad, who was in the audience shared, “When we saw its screening, I wanted to watch it because when it was released in 2002, I was very young. It was my parents’ favourite movie. I missed home so much so that it was nice to catch it here and see how the locals responded to the film”.

Another member of the audience said, “We needed to watch after nearly two decades. There were so many memories. We used to memorise its songs and dance routines”.

While commercial films were screening at the JP Mini Amphitheatre, Indonesian festival movies such as Mudik produced by Sheila Timothy was screened at the MIAA. A guest speaker for the BFB Film Education Workshops in 2019, Sheila was also the BFB guest judge this year.

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko also attended the film at the MIAA.

On Saturday, A Pakistani Film Appreciation Day was hosted by the BFB at the MIAA, supported by the Pakistan High Commission in Brunei Darussalam, featuring movies Actor in Law and Sher Dil.

Pakistan High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Major General (Rtd) Abdul Aziz Tariq, members of the Pakistan community in Brunei and local filmmakers as well as cinema enthusiasts attended the event.

The Pakistani High Commissioner expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to bring Pakistani films to Brunei.

“Films are a good way to share cultures,” he said.

“Through a film, an audience can experience what Pakistan looks like, its natural beauty, the people and its culture. The BFB is a fantastic way to exchange cultures through entertainment.”

The guests were also treated to a range of Pakistani cuisine.

A budding film student Hamizah Hamzah said, “It is not everyday that we get to watch Pakistani films. I did not know what to expect but these screenings sparked my curiosity.”

Meanwhile the Film Fun Day in JP attracted over 200 movie-goers to the JP Mini Amphitheatre who flocked to catch Wild Oats, a comedy adventure film produced by Al-Marhum His Royal Highness Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim and Origin Artistic Management’s 2020 film Akademi.

Festival Director Siti Kamaluddin said that BFB was fortunate to screen movies produced by the late Prince and honour his work.

“Hosting Wild Oats and The Time of Their Lives was a way of inviting local audiences to

reflect upon the work of an important Bruneian filmmaker. We thank Imagine for making this happen,” she added.

Also at the screening was film star Liyana Yus.

For Liyana, “it is a way of honouring someone who has always pushed for the creative arts and created a path for others to follow.”