You know it is well worth the wait when you see
three of Singapore’s prolific filmmakers come
together for this interview. You see, this interview
almost did not happen due to prior commitments,
clash of schedules, and well, apologetically, the
writer’s own procrastination. But when you
hear the three local talents enthusiastically talk
about their latest works and personal visions, you
are glad that the interview materialized after almost
a month of planning.
this weekend morning, movieXclusive.com got Han
Yew Kwang, Kan Lume and Sun Koh to meet at a coffee
joint to chat about their films which will be
part of the Singapore Panorama at the 21st Singapore
International Film Festival (SIFF).
was meant as a project submitted for Media Development
Authority’s (MDA) trial High Definition
(HD) channel became 18 Grams of Love, a feature
film that 33-year-old Han submitted for the film
was meant as part of a trilogy, but because of
resources shortage, everything came together in
this film,” says Han earnestly. Shot in
11 days, the film’s story centers on two
couples, and is an ironic and bittersweet take
on modern relationships in a postmodern world.
story is something I hold close to heart,”
adds the lanky filmmaker.
also remembers the intensive shoot which a professional
crew worked entirely in an environment-controlled
warehouse. He had told them that they had no budget
to pay them overtime, but they could choose to
go off if the shoot over-ran.
they felt embarrassed after I told them this,
that’s why all of them were willing to work
overtime for this film,” Han says with a
third feature film Dream from the Third World
was almost unmade. The 33-year-old had to make
a choice whether to continue making the film after
an established actress pulled out of the project
last October. He recalls: “I almost had
a complete crew complete with a production designer
and all, but I had to let all of them go. So the
decision was to give up or continue with whatever
little resources I had left.”
with a two-man team, Kan pushed on and made the
film about a man who tries to make a porn movie,
and goes in search for answers before discovering
it in an unexpected place.
asked whether he is satisfied with the end product,
he humbly says: “”It’s just
different knowing it could have been so much more.”
in an interesting film movement, 31-year-old Koh
made Lucky 7 with six other local filmmakers like
Boo Junfeng, Brian Gothong Tan and Tania Sng.
Each of them attempts a 10-odd-minute segment
of a feature film continued by the next filmmaker
who knows only what took place in the last minute
of the previous segment.
bespectacled writer-director says proudly: “We
just wanted to get everyone together and create
an experiment which will push the Singapore cinematic
admits that it was initially difficult for so
many filmmakers to work together on one project,
and keeping everyone on the same vision was difficult
because it was easy to lose track of the objectives
of the movement. Thankfully, each one of them
had an honest voice and was ready for such collaboration.
only thing we had to prevent was not to break
so many things to minimize our losses,”
she chuckles good-naturedly.
three filmmakers were also asked about what they
think the Singapore film industry will be like
10 years down the road.
the SIFF as one of the influences which made him
the filmmaker he is today, Han hopes that the
widening gap between commercial and art films
will find a middle ground in the near future.
states: “Look at films like Shall We Dance,
Amelie and Thank You for Smoking. They are high
budgeted independent films. They have their own
signature styles and also have audience support.”
who reveals to the rest present at the interview
that one of the reasons why he took up a filmmaking
degree was to marry his wife, has a more daring
vision of the future: “The world has its
eyes on Southeast Asian films now. There is this
beauty in poverty which is appealing to many people,
but it may become passé to be a filmmaker
in 10 years’ time.
will destroy the art, and although there will
be more jobs and unions, Singapore will be leveraging
on co-productions to showcase the multi-racialism
of the country.”
who has worked in the local television industry
for a number of years, sums up the discussion
by noting: “Film reflects a society’s
culture and maturity. It is immortalized in sight
is very important to stay honest and not be delusional
by focusing on the wrong things. We must make
films with heart.” -
By John Li