Interview with Harlif Hj Mohamad

Harlif_AADR_Director (during the public release of the Brunei local film ADA APA DENGAN RINA 23-02-2013.)
Harlif Hj. Mohamad

Owner/Founder of RegalBlue Productions
Class of 1992

Tell us about your accomplishments to date.
When my wife and I started Regalblue Production in May 2002, we invested all of our savings in this business and at that time we had only one camera. To date the company has won four RTB awards for “Best Drama TV Series” and in 2013 we produced our first feature film entitled, “Ada Apa Dengan Rina” (What’s so special about Rina?). This film was self-funded and was the first to have used only local artists; and Bruneian dialect. At that time, there were people who had doubts about what we were endeavouring to achieve, but I firmly believed in this project and was determined to see it produced. Our team effort was rewarded at the ASEAN International Film Festival & Awards (AIFFA) in 2013, when the film received international acknowledgement for the use of dialect by winning the “Special Jury Award” and was also nominated for “Best Comedy” and “Official Selection”. Our film has also represented Brunei in 12 international film festivals around the word. We also started the first private recording studio in 2009; and was the only company selected by the University of Malaysia Sarawak, to provide an annual 12 week industrial placement for Cinematography students. We now also train students from IBTE MTSSR Campus and Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Our mission is to keep on raising the bar in this industry. We want to continue recruiting and training local talent who have a keen interest in the field of audio visual production. And I am proud to say that we currently have 12 staff members, many of whom have been with us for many years. I believe that our family centred environment has helped us to grow from strength to strength. We believe that it is important for our employees to be happy in order to be creative. Therefore we care about our staff and respect everyone’s skills, time, talent and hard work.

How did your training and experience at IBTE help to shape who you are today?
From as far back as I could remember I was always interested in taking things apart to see how they worked. I taught myself how to repair radios, televisions and VCD players and soon realised that I wanted to learn more about this line of work. I recognised that my strength was in practical skills and the course at IBTE enabled me to develop my practical skills as well as to improve my theoretical knowledge. I had many instructors who encouraged me and helped me along the way like Mr. Davindrum; Mr. Romzi and Mrs. Aisyah. While at IBTE I did an industrial attachment at the RTB Film Unit and learnt about videos and cameras; and also about lighting, directing and script writing. I believe that the IBTE course gave me a sound understanding of electronics and paved the way for me to continue expanding my knowledge in this field. In fact, later on I participated in an ASEAN COCI Workshop for film and media students and it was here that I met my wife, Nurain Abdullah who had a Degree in Mass Communications – and together, we’ve worked tirelessly to build our company’s reputation.

What advice would you like to share with this year’s graduating class?
First of all, make sure that you choose a career that you are passionate about, so that you do not have to work for your whole life. Choose a field that you are really interested in and be committed to working in that field. And remember that no job is ever easy, so you should never give up at the first hurdle, you need to persevere if you want to achieve success. I believe that everything is possible – with prayer and the right attitude.

This article was published in the IBTE Special Issue (Oct-Dec 2015) of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!