NOTHING will stop young Bruneians from realising their ambitions. The CANDAS Cooperative Campus is a newly registered company set up by students passionate about the arts whether it be in the performance or written forms.
CANDAS is short for the Creative Academy of the Narrative and Dramatic Arts and Science.
Set up in January this year, CANDAS is an initiative spearheaded Syukri R Jumin, the chairman and CEO of CANDAS together with other students from the Universiti of Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
CANDAS has big dreams to become an academy of the arts one day. Registering CANDAS and opening a CANDAS office in Berakas is a big and brave step towards making their big dream come true. The word 'candas' also exerts a very Bruneian flavour as candas is a tool to eat the local food 'ambuyat', a traditional sago dish.
"It will start small, I believe in starting small," said twenty-six year old Syukri who is also an arts and creative technology student at the local university and owner of CANDAS.
CANDAS's first flagship event will be in August where the student owned company will be organising and hosting a film festival.
"CANDAS's inaugural event will be a film festival in August. We have already received submissions of interest from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. It will be our flagship event," said Syukri.
In preparations towards the film festival, CANDAS is establishing contact with regional talents such as Singapore's Student Academy Award Winner, Tan Pin Pin and the public relations officer to Malaysian celebrity Datuk Michelle Yeoh in hopes that they can be among the panel of judges during the festival. CANDAS also plans to include veteran local actors and aspiring film makers to be part of the panel, among them is Abdul Zainidi.
CANDAS believes Abdul Zainidi is the right local candidate to be part of the panel of judges for the film festival in August.
"We are very proud of Abdul Zainidi for being a Bruneian able to make it all the way to this year's Cannes Film Festival," said Syukri.
Abdul Zainidi is a commendable 29 year old Bruneian who showcased his first short film called 'Bread Dream' at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
CANDAS is currently self-funded and are looking at sponsorship and income opportunities, especially to bear costs of the film festival.
"To collect income for the festival we are charging US$79 ($101) for each submission entry from countries outside of Brunei. We will charge local submissions too but at a much cheaper price. Fee waivers can be offered for aspiring scriptwriters facing financial difficulties and also discounted prices will be on offer to students," said Syukri.
As the flagship event, CANDAS aims to project a good presence that could help establish its name and role as an advocate and platform to push the local arts scene to international waters.
Faizul Ibrahim, the chief strategy officer and vice-president for corporate development for CANDAS is in charge of gathering projects for CANDAS.
"Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and the Creative Industry Research Cluster (CIRC) is one of our biggest backers. To start off, CANDAS's key idea at the moment is to collaborate with other parties to initiate projects while senior advisers to CANDAS include senior lecturers from UBD," said Faizul who is also a Sociology and Anthropology major at UBD.
The CIRC is a group formed by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports while it is managed and chaired by UBD.
Faizul forecasts several projects to emerge after the film festival in August which includes a human rights event to collect relief funds and a writers week.
CANDAS is currently occupied with the creation of its first company project called 'Act One'. 'Act One' is a 40 to 45 minute documentary on the local creative scene.
"The documentary will consist of interviews with veterans, pioneers and young talented individuals in Brunei. Basically, it will consist of anyone who has a say about the local arts scene. This documentary aims to uncover the hidden talents and presence of the arts in Brunei ," said Syukri.
The people interviewed in the documentary clearly indicates that the presence of the arts in Brunei as not a new thing.
"The range of people in the documentary shows the arts in Brunei has been around since way back," said Dk Hazimah Pg Sabri, a Sociology and Anthropology final year student and the CANDAS president.
'Act One' will be screened at CANDAS's inaugural event. To give CANDAS more exposure, CANDAS is also submitting applications to other independent film festivals around the world.
CANDAS believes the recent wave of interest by the government to develop the creative industry can further facilitate and support the industry's growth in the future.
"Now there is even drama modules offered at the local university. In the past eventhough there was talent and interest, there were no opportunities to venture into until now," said Dk Hazimah.
CANDAS's mission is to provide a platform for aspiring local filmmakers and writers to reach out and expose their work to the broadest possible audience through events organised by CANDAS. The CANDAS Cooperative Campus is located at Unit 24B, Second Floor, Serusop Complex, Berakas BB2313, Brunei Darussalam.
The Brunei Times
Saturday, June 23, 2012
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