Malaysia’s art and film industry is seriously starting to grow in amazing ways. We even have a Netflix original series based in Melaka called Ghost Bride. It’s great to see the new opportunities that Malaysians are receiving as well as the recognition. In fact, the latest news is that Ibtisem Ben Nassib’s film is showing on HBO!
Ibtisem Ben Nassib who is based in Kuala Lumpur, is a firm believer in the power that storytelling holds. She takes inspiration from a variety of places such as personal experiences.
Furthermore, she is very familiar with the entertainment industry since she began at a young age. This includes commercials, television series, films, and even photography. Since entering her first international film festival in 2012, she has won over a dozen awards.
When HBO’s Southeast Asian division announced their competition, she was immediately drawn to it. Prompted to share untold stories from her own neighbourhood, she set out for the perfect story to tell.
While on her search, her sister introduced her to Ali who lived in the neighbourhood. Ali is a Syrian refugee seeking protection and refuge from his war torn country. Her film sheds light on his struggles with living away from his family and friends. After all, he is alone in a country that’s not his home.
Moreover, in Malaysia refugees are not able to seek legitimate employment and receive a proper income. As a result, Ali is supporting himself by making juices for six days a week.
Moving on, Ibtisem and about 300 other filmmakers from Southeast Asia submitted their films to HBO. To her delight, Ali was chosen by HBO to be featured on HBO Go! You can now catch it on HBO Go to watch the heartbreaking story of Ali.