KOTA KINABALU: The story of Huminodun, the daughter of the gods who sacrificed herself to save mankind, has been passed down through the generations among the Kadazan.
When her parents, the gods Kinoingan and Sumundu, punish people for their wickedness, she must find a way to save the world, no matter the cost.
The story, long immortalised in the ‘rinait’ (prayers) of the traditional priests and priestesses, has finally found its way to the big screen with the opening of the Huminodun film, set to premiere this weekend.
Associate director and producer Jo Luping said the 45-minute film, which cost RM300,000, took two years to make as there was much research and post-production work.
The entire movie, however, was shot over the duration of one week while the last scene, which showed the first Kaamatan, was shot last February during the harvest season.
The film was directed by Aaron Cowan who has over 20 years’ experience working in Hollywood productions such as The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Man of Steel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the Narnia movies.
Jo, a Kadazan , brought to the project her experience working on the Lord of the Rings, several New Zealand television productions and an award winning Middle Eastern documentary.
“This movie was 99% done by Sabahans, including the post production. I am very thankful for the commitment shown by the crew. Some of them were very enthusiastic, they actually suffered burnout in the end.
“But it is all for a good cause. I am thankful for the huge contribution from the state government which showed their faith in developing Sabah’s cultural heritage, its creative industries and to showcase Sabah’s truly remarkable scenery,” she said.
The Kadazandusun Huguan Siou or paramount leader Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who was one of the movie’s four executive producers, praised the production team for their dedication and commitment.
“Seeing the language and culture of our people on the big screen is something that, I believe, can bring good for the indigenous people of Sabah.
“And knowing that the film makers have pulled in people from all over Sabah to help them makes the pleasure of seeing it completed even greater. I am excited to see the finished product,” he said in a message to the production team.
Other than Pairin, who personally contributed some funding from his family and gave the crew advice on Kadazan culture, the film also received funding through a grant from the state government through the state ministry of tourism, culture and environment. Businessman-turned-politician Francis Goh also contributed through the Kinsabina Group.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun was appointed executive producer to ensure that state funds were properly used.
The other executive producer is Jo’s father and former state attorney-general Herman Luping who provided advice on the story, script, culture and language of the film.
Proceeds from the film will be used to fund scholarships for indigenous university students to help them further develop and strengthen the indigenous culture and languages of Sabah.