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Malaysian Zombie Film Sweeping International Awards Is World’s First To Feature…

today12 April 2021


At present, zombie movies are aplenty – ‘Pandemic’, ‘Zombieland’ ‘World War Z’, ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Train to Busan’ – and the list goes on. So how do you stand out in a crowd of the undead? Well, the Malaysian independent zombie film ‘Belaban Hidup: Infeksi Zombie’ (‘Fight for Life: Zombie Infection’) seems to have no problem doing just that! ‘Belaban Hidup’ is the first horror zombie flick in the world to feature and highlight Dayak actors, their village and culture.



After three years of script and character development as well as research, ‘Belaban Hidup’ went from being a short to a full-length film – a move that has proven to have been a good one! The film has since picked up awards for ‘Best Horror’ at Singapore’s World Film Carnival on March 18 as well as double awards for ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Horror’ at Saint Petersburg’s International Symbolic Art Film Festival on March 27. It has also the film been nominated for ‘Best Feature Film’ at the Los Angeles Marina Del Rey Film Festival (LAMDRFF).


Directed by Malaysian-Chinese director Ray Lee and his Iban wife, producer Misha Minut Panggau, the film follows a mysterious organisation that moves from Madagascar to Borneo to set up its new, hidden laboratory. Here, they offer free “medical treatments” to locals. However, the “treatments” merely act as a cover for the biological experimentations that they are performing. Luckily, a group of captive teenage orphans manages to escape. Unluckily, they also unleash the resulting zombie infection as they flee to the jungle to seek the help of the natives.


‘Belaban Hidup’ the first of its kind to be produced or directed by a native Dayak (while Lee has family roots in Sawarak, Minut was born in the Sarawakian town of Limbang).



Minut played an active role in the movie – producing, co-directing, c0-writing the script and acting in it. She also stars alongside a cast of Malaysian, native Iban (with this being the first acting gig for many of them!) and international actors such as Pekin Ibrahim, Altimet, Pablo Amirul, Anna Melissa, Cassidy Panggau and Indonesian singer, Tegar as well as Slovakian-born actress, Katrina Gray. For Minut, the film is a step towards a more active role in the making of and in terms of representation for Dayak people in films.


“I always hope this is the kind of work that I do that will spur more interest among Dayak youths who want to get involved in the film industry. This way, we are also promoting and showcasing the many beautiful places in Malaysia, which can attract tourists from all over the world to visit.” 


The film is expected to be screened in Malaysia by the end of the year.



Written by: Marissa Anne

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