Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Brunei Town

Local documentaries get spotlight

Documentary filmmaker Hamizah Hamzah screened her most recent film Terapung as part of the wayang pacak at Eco Ponies Garden in Kampong Lamunin to commemorate Hari Raya Aidiladha.

The documentary chronicles the pilgrimage of Hajah Masni who, in 1971, undertook a round-trip journey from Brunei to Jeddah by sea as an 11-year-old.

The documentary was produced under the Mengupas Cerita Documentary Film Initiative and took nearly two years to complete.

“I spent a lot of time researching this topic at the Language and Literature Bureau Library. I discovered many newspaper articles about the haj in the 1970s that aren’t available online,” the filmmaker said.

“Learning about the traveling conditions of the pilgrims and the hardships they encountered inspired me to tell their story.”

Attendees at the film screening. PHOTO: MAHAKARYA INSTITUTE

Other documentaries screened at the event included Mural by Nasywa Zafira Julia Ahmad, a meditation on the large mosaic mural in the capital, Hamsterview by RAF, an exploration of the animal live trade in Brunei, Graffiti by Syahmi Saifuddin, an investigation into the commercialisation of graffiti in the Sultanate, and The Brunei Experience an Audio- Visual by Farrah Majid – a tour of the sights and sounds of popular local locations.

The films were projected upon an inflatable air screen, a tribute to the traditional wayang pacak. A Tutong resident recalled watching films as a child, sharing: “An announcement would be made around the village two days before the screening inviting villagers to gather at night to watch a film projected onto a screen made from white cloth.”

The method was also used to convey information to villages.

The Mengupas Cerita Documentary Film Initiative aims to coordinate more screenings at remote locations in Brunei. The initiative was originally funded by the Small Grants Program from the United States Embassy in Brunei Darussalam and is the first concerted effort to promote the production of non-fiction films in the Sultanate, providing local filmmakers the opportunity to share their perspectives.

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