Awang Semaun comes alive in local film production

National 2 minutes, 26 seconds


A GROUP of youths produced a feature film on the life of Brunei warrior Awang Semaun, which premiered at The Empire Hotel & Country Club cinema last night.

The historically inspired movie, Awang Semaun: Rise of the Warrior, was directed by Azmi Matassan of Supasta Production. The entire cast and crew were youths who volunteered to take part in the film.

The movie tells the story of Awang Semaun, who was often described by Brunei legend as a strong brave warrior who contributed to Brunei’s existence.

In the film, Awang Semaun was depicted as the younger brother of Awang Alak Betatar, who became the first Sultan of Brunei.

When the first Sultan found Poli (Brunei’s old name), Awang Semaun was Brunei’s mightiest protector, shielding the people from pirates and colonisers.

The 30-year-old film director said he was inspired to make a movie out of Awang Semaun because he wanted to show that Brunei too has its own “legendary warriors”.

“First things first, I am a movie lover but more than that I want to make a movie that Bruneians can be proud of. We Bruneians have our own warriors,” Azmi said.

“I’m sorry to say, but some of us sadly do not know about our history yet they know about warriors from other countries because there are movies on it, so now this is our turn to tell the story of Awang Semaun.”

Azmi said one of the challenges they faced was a shortage of actors.

“This is an experimental film supported by volunteerism, so Alhamdulillah I was thankful that the actors made the initiative to join even when they know they weren’t getting paid.”

He hoped the film can inspire more Bruneian talents to produce similar films and create healthy competition.

In an interview with The Brunei Times before the premiere, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman said she was pleased with the producers’ efforts.

“I have not watched the movie but what I know is the effort of the producers – they are not paid and they are producing this out of passion inspired by Brunei’s history,” she said.

Alhamdulillah I am happy as a recent Universiti Brunei Darussalam research found that 73 per cent of 2,000 youths felt that youths’ knowledge on Brunei Malay culture was low – so coming up with Awang Semaun is in a way, a step towards increasing their knowledge,” said the deputy minister.

She was also pleased at how the cast came from different backgrounds such as the army, and their commitment to act in their own free time without pay.

“I am very happy with our youths who took the initiative to have the courage to do something like this. I think this is something good, so the big message to the youths is if they can do it then why can’t you do it?” she said.

The Brunei Times