Participants from the United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam-funded Mengupas Cerita Documentary Film Initiative attended a lecture by Dr Maslin bin Haji Jukim from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) recently.
Dr Maslin discussed the valuable folklore possessed by older generations of Bruneians and the importance of preserving the stories for the country’s cultural heritage.
Dr Maslin used his recently published book, The Etiological Tale of the Hills, Rivers and Wells in Brunei, to structure the lecture.
The publication is the first attempt to discuss the legendary past of select geographical points of interest such as ‘Bedil’ Hill, ‘Pamarang’ River and ‘Arung si Marang’ Well in the English language.
Mengupas Cerita coordinator Dr Alex Fischer said, “The book safeguards the origin stories of the Sultanate and celebrates the past by making it relevant in the modern world.
“Brunei documentary filmmakers should use the resource as a point of departure for production.”
Dr Maslin also used this lecture as a cautionary tale about the timeliness of interviews.
He called for filmmakers to be proactive and collect as many stories as possible before the older generation is no longer around to tell their stories.
Dr Maslin also stressed the importance of making folklore entertaining, encouraging the Mengupas Cerita participants to understand how the stories resonate within the Brunei culture.
Filmmaker Hamizah Hamzah said, “Dr Maslin has a great deal of credibility and has been involved in documentary productions before, so he knows how to package a story for an audience.”
Mengupas Cerita is funded under the Small Grants Programme from the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam. Mengupas Cerita initiative represents the first concerted effort to promote the production of non-fiction films in the Sultanate and provides local filmmakers with the opportunity to share their researched and ethically sound perspectives with the global community.
Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia is the facilitating organisation of this initiative. It will provide technical support and educational expertise to the selected participants.
“The US Embassy is proud to support this meaningful initiative by Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia to promote civic education, culture and arts.
The US Embassy Small Grants Programme aims to enhance mutual understanding between the people of the US and Brunei by supporting projects that advance goals such as environmental conservation, civil society development, and entrepreneurship,” said US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jeff Barrus.