By Eleni K, Carrybeans
What would you sacrifice to save the world?
This question burned in our hearts and minds at the world premiere of Huminodun, a Kadazan film depicting the life and sacrifice of the legendary heroine, Ponompuan.
Held at IMAGO Kota Kinabalu on Sunday (3 December), the premiere brought together the Kadazan community, politicians and 1,000 lucky people invited for the screening. As a Sabahan, it was a proud moment for me. My mother is Kadazan and so being at the premiere of a local production was a great experience.
The atmosphere was lively and the air buzzed with excitement in an event graced by Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Enviromment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, a host of other VIPs.
A story of bravery and sacrifice
Huminodun tells the story of the brave and courageous Ponompuan, daughter of celestial beings Kinoingan and Sumundu. When their son Ponompulan rebelled against his father and corrupted the hearts of man, Kinoingan cast him out of the heavens and turned his wrath upon the earth. He sent seven plagues, the last being a severe drought.
The drought threatened to wipe mankind off the face of the earth, but Ponompuan begged her father to have mercy and forgive the people. In act of selflessness, Ponompuan gave herself up as a sacrifice so that mankind would be saved.
She became known as Huminodun, and today it is believed that her soul dwells in the paddy.
Huminodun is a landmark film for the Kadazan people, celebrating culture and preserving heritage
A Siung Films Production, husband and wife duo Aaron Cowan and Jo Luping directed and produced the film respectively. Both come with valuable experience in the global film industry. Luping shared that the cast and crew were 99% Sabahan, which is something very important to them.
Director Aaron Cowan and Producer Jo Luping at the world premiere on Sunday (3 Dec 2017)
“Basically, there were two objectives for Huminodun. First, we wanted the language to be in Kadazan to raise awareness about the Kadazandusun culture and heritage. Two, we wanted to develop the Sabahan film industry; we really wanted to work on that platform,” Luping told Carrybeans.
The film also brought beautiful landscapes and scenery of Sabah to the fore.
Alexandra Alexander, 21, played Huminodun. Bright and bubbly, this young lady was Kota Marudu’s unduk ngadau last year and expressed her excitement at being part of this milestone film, saying she felt very connected to the character.
Photo Credit: Siung Films
“I definitely learned a lot, especially language-wise. Actually, I could not understand a single word of Kadazan and now I can understand and speak it.
I now see the connection between unduk ngadau and Huminodun; working on this film helped me understand who she is, she’s the reason we celebrate Kaamatan ,” said Alexander.
It’s about preserving the Kadazan language and culture of Sabah’s indigenous people
Finally, the cast and crew also set up the Wall of Hope. It is a fundraiser to develop a digital app where users can learn the Kadazan language and fund scholarships. These initiatives focus on preserving Sabah’s indigenous people’s heritage.
“This [film] is a huge accomplishment for the Kadazan people. I hope the younger generation will realise how beautiful our language is, and not think that it is useless learning it,” said Boni Mosios, who played Kinoingan in the film.
It’s a proud moment for Sabahans, and we look forward to seeing it in local cinemas! Stay tuned for more updates as soon as we know it.
Huminodun Executive Producers: Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (Deputy Chief Minister, Sabah), Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah), Tan Sri Dr Herman Luping, Datuk Francis Goh; Associate Producers: Zandi Joanna Datuk Kitingan (Chairperson, KDCA Women’s Council), Rita Lasimbang (CEO, Kadazandusun Language Foundation), Boni Mosios, Jenifer Lasimbang; Gold Sponsors: Pipeline Production and Friends, Vinoun Films, Asian Tourism International College, Kupi Kupi FM, Citra Sari
Featured Image Credit: Siung Films