` Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) `

Cinematheque hosts Q&A with Bruneian filmmaker Harlif Haji Mohamad

What’s So Special About Rina? (original title: Ada Apa Dengan Rina?) is Brunei’s first commercial feature film. It is the first film to be shot in the Brunei Malay language, the first to be created with an all-Bruneian cast and crew, and is only the second Bruneian film production, made almost fifty years after the country’s first feature film, Gema Dari Menara (English translation: Echoes from the Minaret) in 1968. In 2014, Brunei made a third film, Yasmine; an action movie made by Brunei’s first female film director, spelling hope for the country’s cinema.



In Rina, successful career man Hakim is put under the pressure of still being single at thirty years old. His housemate Faisal then introduces him to a theory that his potential mate would go by the name Rina. Surprisingly, a new marketing manager enters the company: a smart, beautiful woman named Rina. Hijinks ensue as Hakim pursues her, and as their relationship deepens, his friends and family close in to urge him further into proposing to her.


A labor of love for Regalblue Production, a local Bruneian company, Rina’s budget was raised all on the company’s own, with local talent sought only from the country to staff the film. When it was released in 2013, overwhelming public support kept theaters full even days after it screened, with audiences in full enjoyment of the film’s offbeat humor and animated antics, as well as the nationalist pride it instilled as a Bruneian production. The film has since made the rounds in many festivals, being rewarded in the 2013 ASEAN International Film Festival & Awards (AIFFA) with a nomination for Best Comedy and a win for a Special Jury Award.


The directors of What’s So Special About Rina?, Harlif Haji Mohamad and Fariz Alzan Ghani, were already veterans in Brunei’s media industry upon production of the film. Ghani is Rina’s screenwriter, having been in the industry since 1990. He continues to write for television, as well as directing, producing, and making music for Malaysian and Bruneian productions. His co-director Mohamad is the owner and co-founder of Regalblue Production which produced the film, which continues to create local television series, a field Mohamad has been leading in since 2002. An editor and composer as well, Mohamad continues to recruit and train local talent with his company, enriching Brunei’s industry even further.


Harlif Haji Mohamad will be present at the screening of What’s So Special About Rina? on March 18, 2016 (Friday) at 7:15 pm. The Q&A session with the director will be held afterwards. Films screened during the ASEAN Film Awareness month are free-of-charge.


Film Development Council of the Philippines