Arts & Culture

Brunei’s Aznniel Yunus on Nostrils Production and the Film Industry

All things film, Nostrils Production’s got it.

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Together with SeaShorts Festival, B-Side will feature one filmmaker per country in South East Asia to shed some light on the creatives and industry. First up, Brunei’s Aznniel Yunus!

Aznniel Yunus | Aznniel first realised a potential career in filmmaking when a video he had recorded at school received praise from his peers. He then co-founded Nostrils Production, a company specialising in music videos, commercials and short films. In 2015, Masa was invited to screen at various film festivals in Malaysia, Thailand and Japan. Masa was screened as part of S-Express Brunei during the SeaShorts Festival 2019 in Malacca, Malaysia.

Since he has worked in the industry for a while now, googling his name will bring up multiple results that range from music videos, short films to wedding videos. As long as it involves storytelling and a camera, chances are, he will be there to do it.

B-Side takes a quick minute to ask the filmmaker some questions about his journey and his short film Masa.

Share with us the moment you decided to embark on a filmmaking career.

It was in 2009 when I created a video about friendship for a school project. All my friends and teachers were moved by the video. That was the moment I realised the power of a film in evoking emotions. I then started to contribute more in terms of videography to the school until my graduation. At the same time, I tried earning some money from making wedding videos to fund my own short films.

Why the name Nostrils Production for your production company?

I get that question a lot. It really was just to entertain whoever sees the name and to make it easier to remember. We always try to have the production montage well-designed and animated in a serious way, a complete opposite from the name.

We have a nice balance of humour and seriousness, which shows in some of our short films and skits.

Was it challenging setting up a production company in Brunei, and what is the local film industry like?

It was pretty challenging when we first started out around 2011 because films weren’t exactly appreciated among young people. We were always subjected to comparisons with Hollywood, which didn’t make any sense. But this changed when more production companies sprouted up in Brunei and were capable of competing with imported movies. The local film industry is improving, but slowly.

Who are the Brunei filmmakers we should look out for to better understand Bruneian films and the culture surrounding them?

Hanifi Juffri, Adam Groves, Siti Kamaluddin, Harliff Hj Mohammad.

These are some of the filmmakers who have changed the Bruneian film industry.

Lastly, tell us what inspired Masa and what you’d like your audience to take away from this film.

Masa is inspired by the superhero genre and my interpretation of it. At the time, I wished that I had superpowers, but I also considered how those abilities would benefit me in life, or likely make me suffer.

I was telling a story not just about the character but also to provoke the audience to imagine how they would fare in the same situation, and to remind them to appreciate what they have and who they are.

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