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Brunei’s first Islamic film festival kicks off

Izah Azahari

The Brunei Islamic Film Festival kicked off with a symposium titled ‘Islamic Film Genre: Questions, Possibilities and Implications for the Bruneian Screen Industry’ at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex yesterday.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hajah Nurul Amal Munjiatul Athirah binti Pengiran Sura Negara Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Bey Muntassir was the guest of honour.

Symposium participants comprised individuals from higher learning institutions including Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia (MIAA) and Kolej International Graduate Studies (KIGS) as well as filmmakers and officials from production houses and government agencies.

Festival Director Siti Kamaluddin opened the symposium with a speech describing her excitement over the Sultanate’s first-ever film festival dedicated to Islamic content.

“In 2019, we introduced the Islamic film competitive category as part of the annual Brunei Film Blitz, and the category has since grown. But this year, it has become its own festival,” she said.

Guest of honour Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hajah Nurul Amal Munjiatul Athirah binti Pengiran Sura Negara Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Bey Muntassir at the event. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI

Being a firm believer in the importance of education, research and study, Siti Kamaluddin said, “This is why the festival is starting with a symposium, which will allow participants to explore the concept of film genre, and what it means to have an Islamic Bruneian screen identity.”

Dr Alex Fischer from MIAA shared an overview of the Brunei Islamic Film Festival symposium and a study on film genres.

Dr Yong Liu from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Dr Ahmad F Yousif from UNISSA also presented at the festival.

The symposium aims to create a roadmap for academic investigation on the Bruneian Islamic screen identity.

Fatin Feisal moderated a round table discussion on Islamic film management.

Matters pertaining to Islamic etiquette, halal food preparation, Islamic financing and insurance were discussed in greater detail to ensure filmmakers delve into these details when producing Islamic content.

The symposium ended with a filmmaking workshop allowing participants to put into practice what had been discussed at the symposium. Participants were assigned filmmaking exercises on ideation, cinematography, sound recording and editing.

Intensive individual mentorships will be made available for participants over the next two weeks while they produce Islamic short films to be screened on March 30.

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