Neurodiversity and Inclusivity at the Heart of RHB’s Chinese New Year Story via FCB Shout

The film is based on the life experiences of autistic rights activist and filmmaker Beatrice Leong.

RHB Bank has released its Chinese New Year film, ‘Acceptance’. Conceived and created by FCB SHOUT, the film is a dramatic retelling of the life story of Beatrice Leong, an autistic rights activist, and filmmaker who only found out she is autistic when she was in her 30s.

In the first three decades of her life, Beatrice struggled to cope with being different, constantly feeling unwanted and unaccepted by the world that simply couldn’t understand her. But after learning about her diagnosis, her life dramatically turned around. She has taken great strides as an autism activist, becoming a beacon of hope for people who are autistic – especially women – in Malaysia.

Her new purpose led to the foundation of her NGO called Autism Inclusiveness Direct Action Group, which champions representation for the autistic community in media spaces and policy-making.


 

Directed and narrated by Beatrice herself and shot entirely from a first person’s POV, the film helps the viewer see the world through the eyes of Beatrice and better understand how an autistic person sees and processes the things around them.

Beatrice Leong (centre) with the team from RHB, FCB SHOUT, and D Moving Pictures

Abdul Sani Abdul Murad, Group Chief Marketing Officer of RHB Banking Group, said, “At RHB, we are committed to making progress happen for everyone, and our various Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (‘DEI’) initiatives are testament to this.

RHB #Empower, a programme that pools resources to bring inclusivity and diversity in hiring to the forefront by creating opportunities for the neurodiverse community, and the annual Art with Heart, where we promote local artists, including those who are from the neurodivergent community, are both purposefully designed to help spread greater awareness about neurodiversity, empower neurodivergent talents so that they can showcase their talents and advocate for a more diverse and inclusive society. This heartfelt and personal film by Beatrice Leong reaffirms our commitment to continue supporting the neurodiverse community and serves as a timely reminder during this festive period to embrace and celebrate one’s true self.”


 

Interestingly, the film wasn’t the first collaboration between Beatrice and RHB. “Through my NGO, I often consult organisations that are looking to include neurodivergent individuals in their workforce, and that was actually how I first crossed paths with RHB. So to be invited to tell my story for RHB was truly an amazing opportunity; it’s almost like we’ve come full circle!” said Beatrice Leong.

Commenting on the spot, she added, “I also need to give a lot of credit to Luth, the little boy in the film who is an autistic himself. Also, a big shout-out to Firas and William, the two autistic teen boys who were so enthusiastic as extras and who graciously helped me in creating some of the drawings that were featured in the film. I hope this film further proves that autistic people have a place in the world of media and arts.”

Beatrice directing the young talents involved in the shoot.

Meanwhile, Tjer, FCB SHOUT’s Head of Creative, added, “It was really exciting to produce a film that was shot from a first person’s POV, but we did it not just because we wanted to do something different; there’s actually a deeper meaning behind the technique. As someone who only found out that she is autistic in her 30s, Beatrice spent much of her life hiding and running away from the world.

“It was really exciting to produce a film that was shot from a first person’s POV, but we did it not just because we wanted to do something different; there’s actually a deeper meaning behind the technique.”

That inspired us to tell her story without actually showing who she really is, right until the very end. Doing so also allows us to let the viewers experience what being an autistic person is like in an immersive manner, so that they can have a better understanding of this condition and begin to embrace and celebrate the differences in people.”

On set with the cast, crew and the director.

‘Acceptance’ was released on 29 January 2024 and is running across all RHB Bank’s social and digital channels in conjunction with the Chinese New Year festive celebration, which starts on 10 February 2024. To date, the film has received tremendously positive reviews on social media along with over 4,700 likes to date, said FCB SHOUT.


Credits

Title: ACCEPTANCE

 RHB Bank 

Group Chief Marketing Officer: Abdul Sani

Head, Group Brand Comms: Tunku Hazli Tunku Tolha

Manager, Group Brand Comms: Anwar Amin

 

FCB SHOUT

Co-owner & Chief Executive Officer: Shaun Tay

Co-owner & Chief Creative Officer: Ong Shi Ping

General Manager: Syahriza Badron

Head of Creative: Wang Ie Tjer

Creative Directors: James Voon, Jonathan Chan
Chinese Copywriter: Felice Puah

Senior Producer: Amin Taib

Senior Brand Director: Timothy Teh

Brand Manager: Sita Subbiah

Project Executive: Ng Ju El

Director: Breatrice Leong

 Production House: D Moving Pictures

Consultant: Dick Chua

Producer: Jocny Lai

Director of Photography: Patrick Chua

Art Director: Anthony

 Music, Sound Design & Composer: GT Records

Executive Producer: Ram Nabil Chia

Producer: Anand Shashidharan

Sound Engineer: Brian Wong

Post Houses

Flux28 Studio (Offline)

Offline Editor: Talha & Shanjeev Reddy

Asia Pacific Videolab (Onine)

Producer: Foo Shuk Ling

Online Artist: Aznir Rahman

Colorist: Kah Seng

 

Images via FCB SHOUT

 

 

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