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24/04 Wednesday 05:21PM

Being true with 'weird'

By Leo Kasim

Experimental film making is not something you would generally associate with Brunei. As it stands, the country has a small film industry or scene as some have said. So When the genre branches off to arthouse-style films you really only see one person. 

That person is Abdul Khabir Zainidi whose abstract and surreal films have made their way into Cannes International Film Festival and won an award from the Association of Abstract Arts for the 'Weirdest' film.

The participation in Cannes this year was the third by Abd Zainidi . He says that he is the first Bruneian to present a short film two years ago with 'Bread Dream' followed by Teluki in the following year. This year he put up his other films 'Lobak' and 'Ostrich'. All of his films were made in Brunei.

“I wanted to show a different side to Brunei by giving the audiences a taste of surreal cinema...it is not to everyone's taste,'' he admits.

“Lobak has been poorly received in Brunei due to a controversial scene within the trailer. Ostrich received mixed reviews and some liked the story. For me, the sound quality was undesirable but I was operating on a low budget and promotion was mainly done through word of mouth,'' he says.

Despite the fact that experimental film making is still ahead of the time for most Bruneians, Abd Zainidi says that he is still proud of his work mainly because of the fact that he did what he set out to do.

“I shot my first feature length with a full Bruneian crew which gave opportunities to fellow Bruneians to get involved. While the films may seem daunting to some, at least Brunei has something to offer from that genre,'' he says.

Now, Abd Zainidi is continuing the promotion of his Bruneian films around Europe and is coming up with another horror drama with his French Associate, Stephen Kay in a film called 'Ghoulindin'.

While the uphill battle continues for his films to be accepted among the majority of Bruneians, Abd Zainidi says that he had always been true to himself. 

“I am happy with what I have achieved,'' he says.

(Abd Zainidi runs his own production house called Brurealism Pictures)

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