Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has praised the production of the film Huminodun which he said was an important step in ensuring the preservation of Sabah’s unique cultural heritage.

“We have never before seen a Kadazan language film on the big screen.

“This film is a step forward in sharing with the audiences one of Sabah’s unique identities — its diverse indigenous languages,” he said at the launch of the movie yesterday.

His speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who thanked Musa for his support. He said having the state government behind this project meant the world to the producers and they could not have accomplished it without his help.

Producer Jo Luping also thanked Musa for his support of the film which took the company almost two years to make.

The state government had contributed a RM120,000 grant for the movie costing RM300,000.

Other contributors included Pairin and his family association and Sabah MCA vice-chairman Francis Goh, through his Kinsabina Group of companies.

Jo’s father and one of the movie’s executive producers, Herman Luping, also expressed his appreciation for the support the film has received.

“The preservation of the culture of the Kadazandusun and other indigenous people of Sabah has been my passion for a very long time.

“We have worked very hard to bring you this film and I hope that you enjoy it.

“On behalf of Siung Films, I want to thank a lot of people for helping us. Musa has helped us immeasurably since the first day we went to see him.

“Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun and other associated bodies have likewise been supportive and helpful.

“Our Huguan Siou, Pairin Kitingan, has given us advice and help whenever we have asked and Francis wonderfully stepped in at the end to help us get the project over the finish line.”

Luping thanked Jo and director Aaron Cowan for working hard on the film together with a talented cast and crew.

“Bringing this first Kadazan film to the big screen is like watching a childhood dream come true,” he said.

The film is an attempt by filmmakers in Siung Films to bring to the big screen the Kadazandusun legend of the goddess Huminodun, who sacrificed her life to save her people.

Musa said there was a danger that cultural identities would be lost as indigenous languages continued to be snubbed by the present generation.

He said the death of a language would also result in the death of the culture and if no efforts were made to preserve, protect and expand the use of indigenous languages, society runs the risk of losing generations of knowledge and identity.

“I applaud the efforts of the film-makers in producing a film in Sabah that has provided many of our own creative talents an opportunity to shine.

“The state government has identified the creative industry as an important area of development. Seeing the work of so many Sabahans brought to life through this film complements our aspirations.

“The effect of the creative industry on development is something that policymakers around the world have been waking up to, with countries such as South Korea and New Zealand making it the cornerstone of their economic growth.”

He was confident that with the wealth of talent that Sabah has, the film would be the start of many more films to come in the coming years — each one giving the world more insight into life in Sabah as well as giving voice to the people.

“Soon, the country and the world will be able to appreciate Sabah’s creative talents.”

Musa also praised the filmmakers at Siung Films who genuinely wanted to ensure that a true depiction of Sabah’s heritage was displayed in the film.

This was done through collaboration with the state tourism, culture and environment ministry, Sabah Tourism Board, the Sabah Cultural Board, the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA), KDCA Women’s Council, the Kadazandusun Language Foundation (KLF) and other organisations.

The launch of the film also saw funds being raised to support the development of indigenous languages and to provide scholarships to indigenous students for their university education.

According to the organiser, one of the goals is to create an app that would aid in the learning of Kadazan and other indigenous languages.

The funds raised will be distributed through KDCA Women’s Council and the KLF.-FMT

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