Source: Published by BY MAE YEN YAP from Mashable SE Asia.
There are plenty of things to be sad about in Malaysia: The never-ending Movement Control Order extensions and Ramadan bazaars being cancelled in several states around the nation being some of those reasons.
But Malaysians are staying strong. And the streak of representation in the art industry continues from best-selling authors pushing the nation onto the global literary map to now, an animated film that is making waves as the first ever short-film entirely in Kadazan.
Based on the short fantasy comic created by Kwan Thung Seng (also known as Aks Kwan) and Robertson Sondoh Jr., the film is based on local folklore in Sabah and aims to stir interest within toward Borneo’s culture and heritage.
In the film’s submission to the International Peace and Film Festival, it’s described to look like “a fantasy tale of super power warriors battling mystical creatures. But what’s hidden beneath, is about us humans being selfish and ignorant to the catastrophic damage we have done to the world for our own sake.”
And indeed, the film’s plot twist certainly delivers that message. I won’t give you any spoilers but as someone who watched it without reading up on it beforehand, it was definitely not what I expected to happen.
Legend of Ancient Borneo was produced by All-For-One Productions and Director Geoffrey Sinn hints that a TV series based on the comic may be in the works in an interview with The Star.
The film’s language is entirely in Kadazan as not only a way to pay tribute to Sabah’s indigenous tribes’ heritage and culture, but also to push local animation talents to the forefront.
“Through this film, we’re hoping to uplift Sabah’s animation industry, and provide more exposure to Sabahan folklore stories,” he said in an interview with the Borneo Post.
Artist Kwan has also shared previews of the original comic on his Facebook page in celebration of the film’s release.
In all honestly, the film may not be the most action-packed or visually-breath taking film currently on the market.
But watching it definitely gave me a sense of pride to be Malaysian. And if anything, it’ll definitely make you proud of the hardworking artists in Malaysia.
If you’re looking for more art to follow, why not check out this list of webcomics that feature artists from Malaysia, Indonesia, and more!