Film is not just a vehicle for examining society and sharing viewpoints, but also serves as a reflection of Brunei’s rich culture and diversifying its economy.
United States (US) Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Caryn McClelland said this at the opening night of the annual Brunei Film Blitz festival in the form of the classic Wayang Pacak with a modern twist under the Super Tree in Pekan Bangar, Temburong District on Friday.
Deputy Permanent Secretary (Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Dr Siti Norkhalbi binti Haji Wahsalfelah witnessed the inauguration.
The screening continued in Seria, Belait District yesterday and will be shown in Bandar Seri Begawan today.
“This is one reason why the embassy continues to support film and other creative arts that allow Bruneians to tell their own stories in their own ways,” the ambassador said.
Festival director Siti Kamaluddin shared that they are taking film-watching beyond the standard indoor cinema experience, while taking precautions on the weather, as “there is just something special about watching films outside in fresh air, under the stars with the accompanying jungle night sounds”.
Wayang Pacak features five documentaries about Brunei. It is part of the Mengupas Cerita Documentary Film Initiative, a local programme that represents the first concerted effort in promoting the production of non-fiction films in the Sultanate and provides local filmmakers with the opportunity to share their research and ethically-sound perspectives with the global community.
These are the aims of the facilitating organisation Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia, whose event is funded by the Small Grants Programme of the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.
It was also shared that the Brunei Film Blitz will continue with its international screenings later in the month with films from Australia, France, Indonesia, Iran, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkiye.