Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
Belle the musical was held from the 1st to the 3rd of April at Jerudong International School Arts Centre. I did not know what to expect. I went in with an open mind and heart, and I was blown away.
Photo Credits: Faiq Airudin @faiqairudin
A notable standout for me was none other than Nabilah Hamid who played the role of Belle. She carried the role of Belle very well and her voice captured my attention each time she sang. Another one would be the dancer and choir group. I enjoyed them as individuals with their unique styles. They flow very well together, dancing in sync. The other cast members played the role of their characters very well too: Lumiere played by local comedian Zainal Bostaman, Beast played by Kevin Cheong, Babette played by Ummi Aisyah Binti Mohammad Salim and Cogsworth played by A'aqil Ahmad.
It was amazing to see a Disney classic translated into a muscial. It was extra special as this was a local production. I am sure the audience was pleased with the show as there was laughter and applause at the end of every act. There was a boy seated in front of me. He was initially not fond of the loud sound and was a little scared of the Beast. But by the second half of the show, he was hooked! His excitement grew as the show went on. That to me was what made the show special.
I am impressed with the local talents that were showcased in the musical. The acting, dancing, costumes and make-up were impressive. The one thing that could have been improved was the sound quality, in which there were inconstancies with the volume. Belle the Muscial brought out the little kids in all of us, including the little kid in me. All in all, the show was top notch!
Here are a few words from Mardi and Amy from Relentless, Nabilah Hamid who played Belle and Kevin Lo who played Gaston in the muscial.
Mardi Hedus @smartz2102 & Amy Cheong @amycheong
It’s been a few weeks since our final show of Belle and we're so happy that people are still talking about it. Belle is our third musical production. Our first was 'Enchanted Forest' in 2013 and second was 'Poppins' in 2015. Organising and producing a musical on a large scale is a Relentlesss' community project we plan on doing annually.
Belle has been the most challenging in terms of production costs. This year we went bigger and better with our venue, props, set design and costumes.
With Belle, we wanted to show Brunei that local talents are capable of pulling off a high quality show while at the same time show our cast and crew what is possible in Brunei with some good old fashioned hard work. We often hear the phrase 'but this is Brunei' when things seem impossible and we wanted to prove to everyone that, that shouldn't be the case.
We've been so lucky to have had the privilege of working with an amazing cast and crew throughout the whole process. As there are only two of us managing everything from directing and choreography to costume and set design and program book design, it can get very stressful but our cast has been extremely understanding and supportive. We definitely could not have done it without each and every one of our cast, crew and volunteers.
Our aim is to build and create an industry in Brunei where performance artists can perform, do what they love and are passionate about full time.
We are very proud and happy of what we have achieved with Relentless so far and we will keep on going and doing our part to help the industry in Brunei grow.
We will be starting preparation for our next musical soon.
Nabilah Hamid @nabilahhamiddd
My experience with this musical has been a rollercoaster ride. It was so exciting to be doing something that I haven’t done in a long time. I was genuinely terrified and a nervous wreck throughout the whole process.
Everyone in the cast and chorus are so unbelievably talented and have so much passion for music, theatre, dancing, acting and film. I really questioned my ability and why I was even there to begin with. However, the amount of love and support I got was tremendous! These individuals are not shy to share their talents and aid wherever they can. They challenged and encouraged me to grow as a performer and I feel that my performance was dedicated to all of them.
It was absolutely incredible to be part of the musical. I spent so many hours with new friends, creating something together with them. Everyone formed a bond. It made it very difficult to go back to regular day-to-day life. But for now, I am just hopeful that the future will hold more opportunities for myself and others to showcase and explore their talents.
Kevin Lo @kevinljs
It was a humbling experience working with so many amazing talents, especially the dancers. Seeing the production fuse the Relentless trademark dancing with good old fashioned theatre drama certainly made the whole experience feel fresh and on the edge.
It's a total privilege to be cast as Gaston. Beauty and the beast is a tale as old as my childhood and the scenes with Gaston and Lefou were always my favorite. Getting the chance to fill Gaston's boots was indeed a treat for me and I delightfully hope it was a treat for those watched it.
It is my dream that one day actors / performers like myself would be able to sustain a living performing full time in Brunei. The industry certainly exists but not yet in the phase where it is a feasible career for many people. I believe we can all create this possibility together and bring the exciting world of theatre into the culture of our great nation.
I want to thank Relentless Brunei for creating this amazing platform both for the performers and for the audience without which there would not exist Belle The Musical. I urge other local creatives like Amy and Mardi of Relentless Brunei to summon their courage to follow suit. Courage is not overcoming fear, it is the decision to do it anyways in spite of the fear.
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Editor's Note: Introducing Bash Harry, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger from Brunei. She blogs at heybash.com, and her blogging and story-telling style inspires me. Bash, keep up the good work. Aim high. You will go far.
What do you do?
A lot of things but mostly I blog. Right now, I am focusing on the dreaded future like figuring out universities, wondering how everything will fall into place and where to eat later. I'm rather hungry.
Describe yourself in a few words.
Slightly manic and a little neurotic, but in a cute way. That sums me up rather well. Most days I teeter between acting obnoxiously loud and suspiciously quiet. Depending on how much I sleep and how much caffeine I ingested.
When and why did you start blogging?
Officially I started blogging in 10th April 2014, a day before my mother's birthday. It was called 'Bash Says Hey.' Though, I made no use of it until January 2015, when I started blogging regularly. I took a leap and bought a domain, and Hey Bash was made.
I decided blogging the same way other decisions are made, through boredom. I just didn't expect it would become a large part of life. I wanted to do something other than studying and knitting. The desire to do is innate in me. I hate boredom and when you're a blogger, you're never bored. Perhaps overwhelmed, but never bored.
Why "fashion, beauty and lifestyle"?
Because to be completely honest, I'm not good at much else. I don't even think I'm good at fashion or lifestyle. It's just expected when you're interested in putting war paint on your face every day. They correlate well to highlight who you are as a person, in appearance and personality. For the most part.
Self-taught or course-trained? Who inspires you?
I am a course-trained makeup artist, certified twice when I was sixteen, but self-taught in SFX. I love SFX more than I love beauty makeup, but to know SFX, you must know beauty first. Terrible irony.
The girl who inspired me the most to do SFX is Klaire DeLys, who I've been watching for almost seven years now. She inspires me to be more creative and focus on quality than quantity. As for starting normal makeup, it's the classic case of puberty and low self-esteem.
Share a few highlights from your journey to date.
Featured on Kristal FM for Bloggers vs DJs during Hari Raya 2015 was incredible. I was on a team with social media influencers, feeling as uncomfortable as a novice among professionals. We won! Not because of me, but we won! And as you know, winning is everything.
In 2014, I entered Bonnie Corban's International SFX Contest and was a Top 5 finalist! Even better, she recreated the look and its up on YouTube here!
Mini-highlights also include being featured on @hijabfashion, who has two million followers, and hitting 500 on bloglovin. They are pretty cool feats in just one proper year of blogging. Having recognition as a blogger is pretty darn cool too.
Three goals for 2016.
Go to Law School, read 52 books and convince my dad to get me a functioning laptop that doesn't crash every two weeks.
Three noteworthy bloggers.
The Rustic Trove - http://therustictrove.com/ - Fifi is my favourite Bruneian Blogger, though maybe that’s because I’ve met her and she’s absolute cool personified. She runs The Rustic Trove, which is a lifestyle blog where she showcases her stunning photography in the UK.
Love From Berlin - http://www.lovefromberlin.net/ - If you’re looking for incredible photography and helpful lifestyle tips, then LFB is perfect. I adore Rae’s stance on conscious living, teaching life in numerous ways, whether travelling or cooking.
Not Your Type - http://www.notyourtypeblog.com/ - I recently found Not Your Type, a Pakistani lifestyle blog by Areeba. I love how much of her personality shines through her blog. Funny and witty, this blog is a wonderful place to brighten your day.
Best piece of advice you've received.
"You were given a voice, so speak."
My parents regret teaching me this Aesop at four years old. Hence why they have a daughter that never shuts up, whether through speech or lexicons. I took this lesson as a reminder. That I am my own person with my own thoughts and feelings. I am in control of my actions. If I need to speak, I speak. If I need to change, I change. If I need to do, I do.
What do you see yourself doing in three years?
Alive, I hope. I always hope I'm alive by the next year. If not, at least I know I lived a good life. So if I'm still alive in three years, 21-year old Ne will probably be studying for Law finals somewhere while crying inside, chanting 'I can do this. I can't do this. I can do this.' Similar to Current Me.
Editor's Note: Creating content for Projek Brunei is a process. Since the launch of this website in 2010, we have featured over 80 different stories. Each story is different, but there are two connecting themes. The stories are about people who are not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone, and about people who take action. This story is about Amali Roslin, the co-founder of Beluneu Films.
What do you do?
I graduated from UBD with BA Professional Communications and Media. I co-founded Beluneu Films, but I’m currently focusing on running UBD TV, which is another venture that I founded. I’m not a movie buff, but I’m obsessed with making films. Hollywood is my obsession and so much so that I’m constantly analysing their products to see what it is that makes them aesthetically pleasing to me.
How and when did your interest for film begin?
At the heart of it, I was interested in the performing arts and the entertainment industry since Form 6 where did live performances in music. Speaking about entertainment, music and film goes hand-in-hand. Thus, I felt that there was a natural progression into film. But I oscillate between the two from time to time as I enjoy both equally.
My interest in filming began when I got my first laptop, which was in the year 2011. My first editing job was using a consumer software for a university assignment for my sister. During that period also, there was a DSLR revolution with the release of Canon 5D MKII where movies and tv series in Hollywood started experimenting using the camera in their productions. Likewise, in Brunei I have to owe Visual Dimensions (Adam Groves) for spearheading the movement here through his web-series. That, and Adam, I guess piqued my interest and inspired me to try filmmaking.
Tell us about the start of your journey.
As with a number of my peers, it started from doing video assignments for modules that I took in UBD. My major was in media and communications but I made my first video for a policy assignment which was at a neighbouring faculty. At that point my only ever experience were with digital cameras, using the auto settings.
I happened to watch the “Band of Brothers’ Making Of” on tv. That was where I learned the aspects of filmmaking particularly in editing. From that I started to understand elements such as tone, framing and visual effects, how they enhance the story and give a particular visual character to a series or film. From then on, I called myself a video editor.
Ever since I started to edit my first video, I was obsessed in achieving the “Film Look” where I would be googling and youtubing for tips and tricks in getting that Hollywood look. That, coupled with tv shows about filmmaking, gave me the knowledge that I needed at that time. As an editor first, with the fact that I didn’t own a DSLR, I needed to team up with someone that owns a DSLR and has the same outlook towards filmmaking. That was when I met my colleague and cinematographer Abu.
We have the same passion in filmmaking and similarly understood how a final piece of video is made. With a couple of my other friends we founded Beluneu. There we made our first short using a DSLR with relatively minimal filmmaking experience. There was a mix of creative energy from everyone which is always a good thing, and from there on, my journey as a filmmaker started.
What inspires you?
There are a lot of things and people that inspires me. When it comes to influential people, I’d say directors such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino. Recently Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, Ben Stiller, David Fincher, Ryan Connolly, Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Guy Ritchie, Akira Kurosawa, Francois Truffaut and Baz Luhrman, all to name a few.
Some actors inspire me to want to make films because they’re just so good and almost always gives the best performances. They are Leonardo DiCaprio, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Amy Adams, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Damien Lewis, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Wiig, Bradley Cooper, Guy Pearce, Collin Farrell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kate Winslet, Isla Fischer, Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Olivia Wild, Anne Hathaway, Eva Green, Jessica Chastain, Brittany Snow, Anna Kendrick, Emma Thompson, Tom Hiddleston, Emma Watson and Rose Byrne, from the top of my head that is.
When it comes to shows, it has to be the insightful ones that you find online like Film Riot and the other how-to shows. Of course as I’ve mentioned earlier, The 'making of' and 'behind the scenes' are always a good way to learn how to make a film. Then there are shows like Science of the Movies that discusses not just the techniques, but the science that goes behind filmmaking.
Then there’s the movies such as Inception, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Shutter Island, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Great Gatsby, The Dark Knight and many more others from the directors mentioned earlier. Miniseries such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Band of Brothers, Newsroom and the likes.
Tell us about Beluneu Films.
Beluneu Films is a company that I co-founded with a couple of my other close friends namely, Abu Wafiq and Shariza, where we invested together in the hopes of making it bigger one day. At the moment, we are on hiatus and will probably turn away from big projects as we’re concentrating on our own endeavours at the moment.
Basically we strive to produce the best quality, high-standard visual works. What we are working towards is to produce feature films that are Hollywood-worthy. Thus, the journey is still long and there are still plenty to learn.
As of now, I’m concentrating on my project of setting up UBD TV which is a media establishment housed in UBD.
What projects have you done so far?
Our personal projects include two short films The Same Song and Woebegone, based on the original ideas by Wafiq and Shariza, respectfully. We’ve also done a couple of wedding coverage and a live event coverage.
We’ve also collaborated with The Creative Core BN (TCCBN) which is a startup that focuses on highlighting individuals in the creative industry and to become the core for creativity for Brunei. We did a series called I.Am and did an event Dancersmeet with them. From the name, it was basically a season where the focus was on dancing and the stories of the featured dancers. Our part was the video production where we were able to gain a lot and learned a valuable amount of filmmaking production techniques. It was a great project and we hope to find some ways to work with them again in the future, definitely.
Our best work so far has to be Colours of UBD. A video made for a competition in UBD, which was taken to compete in the Best Institution Corporate Video at the QS Maple forum at Doha, Qatar. the video was awarded Bronze.
What are some challenges you face when it comes to filming?
It depends on the type of shoot and what the shooting is for. But the start is always hard. As is with all art forms, to come up with a full concept is always challenges. Our shorts, for instance, it was quite difficult to write a script and screenplay because none of us had the experience in it. Then to write it in a way that it can be visualise is very difficult, especially for me since my storytelling is still weak.
For the most of it, like the I.Am series for TCCBN, the challenge was mostly to fit with the look and tone that they were opting for. Because my style is heavy-contrasting look, very serious, whereas theirs are more light-hearted and fun. But for that type of shooting, the main challenge was not having enough manpower and not having the right type and amount of gears/equipments that we wanted. In a series like that, the first day of shooting is very difficult especially when you you’re not quite sure how things are going to go and can’t really predict how things will pan out. The first day is always tiring as you’re trying to figure out what are the best ways to shoot it and how to manage the time, because again, we weren’t sure how it will look like.
Speaking of time, for everyone who’s starting, it’s always a luxury. You don’t seem to have enough time to do what you want to do. And as they say, the final product is never finished. Even until today and years to come, I would still have that lingering thought that I could do more with it. Which is good because that will become a checklist in my head of do’s and don’ts.
For something like the Colours of UBD, the challenge was to bring a fresh derivative on a cliché concept. Because one, we had to adhere to the criteria, two, we weren’t sure if the audience would understand what we try to convey as there were no voiceovers and texts. Thirdly, the biggest challenge was the actors. We had to capture UBD in a sense conveying what Colours of UBD means to us, so we wanted to go with the concept that the people are what colours UBD. But since it was the semester break, we couldn’t get any more than two actors on call. Luckily, there were still a number of people going to the institution and so many thanks to them, we had faces and people in our video.
Basically, the challenges are the lack of experience with storytelling, semi-professional videography gears and equipments, and getting enough people to participate in our productions. However, all these challenges has their merits and that because of them, I now can visualise a production timeline and make it as efficient as I could.
Any upcoming projects?
For the other venture that I’m doing for UBD TV, we’re pretty much occupied until August 2016, at least.
Recently we’ve launched our music project and released our first episode on 6th February 2016. The projects ends with the last episode to be uploaded March 26th. Following that, we’ll be doing a mini-documentary promoting selected clubs and student bodies in UBD, so that future students as well as current students will be more informed about them. The project is part of our flagship online show on YouTube called Everything UBD. So for that, we’ll commence by the end of February and will end by July-August 2016.
Lastly, our first and will be our biggest event is the Film Festival that we’re planning for August, just to top off our year. It will be in commemoration with the 30th Anniversary of UBD, 1st Year anniversary for UBD TV and to top it all to celebrate the 2016 graduates. This project is a collaboration with TCCBN as well as supported by Candas. It’ll be featuring up and coming young local filmmakers, as well as selected UBD student films.
All our work can be viewed from the UBD TV YouTube channel and Facebook.
What advice would you give to a fellow aspiring film-maker?
I’m not really an advice-giver. But what I can is suggest and share my goal with others.
We are at the dawn of something great. Local talents are slowly getting recognise and the appreciation for filmmaking is increasing, thanks to a notable few who’s pushing the filmmaking industry up.
Let’s huddle and grow this industry together not just because it is our passion, but because we want to inspire others in taking the leap with us in making a career in this industry a reality.
Let’s not just create for the sake of creating, but let’s create for the sake of improving by making collaborations, upgrading our standards and assisting one another. Let’s not restrict ourselves to what we already know, but let’s push the creative boundaries to the limitless possibilities.
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