UNCONVENTIONAL NC16 LOVE STORY WITH HAN YEW KWANG
first thing which screenwriter director Han Yew Kwang
did when he received the letter from Media Development
Authority (MDA)’s Board of Film Censors (BFC)
was to take a photograph with it.
see, the 35 year old filmmaker was actually elated that
his latest work When Hainan Meets Teochew received a
NC16 (Mature Theme and Some Sexual References) rating
from the BFC.
there is some breakthrough after having two ‘safe’
films,” laughs Han during a phone interview with
moviexclusive.com. His previous feature films Unarmed
Combat (2006) and 18 grams of Love (2008) were rated
PG by the BFC.
latest film puts a Hainanese manly woman and a Teochew
womanly man in the spotlight, having them getting involved
in a love hate relationship after a brassiere goes missing.
says earnestly: “I want to tell an unconventional
romantic story where the leads are not your usual pretty
faces. This is life, where things are real. It’s
also a tale of self acceptance.”
began in September last year, but things weren’t
as smooth sailing as planned because of the massive
scheduling involved. As this was a collaborative project
between friends, Han and his producer Lau Chee Nien
wanted to accommodate the cast and crew’s schedules.
Shooting eventually ended in March this year.
were times when Han and Lau wanted to give up, but the
motivation to make a film which they could truly call
their own pushed them forward. It was also regarded
as a good platform to hone their filmmaking skills.
The director producer duo had set up 18g Pictures last
year to create original content with a distinctive sense
as When Hainan Meets Teochew is a passion project between
like minded comrades, the directing process turned out
to be a breeze for Han.
was totally stress-free, and everyone was at ease with
each other,” recalls Han fondly.
the two inexperienced leads also did not pose a challenge
to him. Lee Chau Min and Tan Hong Chye have worked with
Han as a production manager and stylist respectively
for many years, and he knew exactly what to do not to
give them pressure on set.
explains: “I’ve known Chau Min for 12 years,
and Hong Chye for six years, so the rapport is already
there. I would like to thank them for willing to go
the extra mile to make this film happen.”
this third feature film, how does the humble homegrown
director rate himself?
waiting for you guys to tell me,” he chuckled
good naturedly. Audiences can expect two upcoming works
from Han – a telemovie titled Love in a Cab in
December, and a theatrical feature film Perfect Rivals
due in cinemas mid January.
also reveals that he feels that he is at a crossroad
juncture where he has to decide which direction to take
as a filmmaker.
part of me would like to explore commercial movies,
but there’s also something in me which wants to
make films I feel that audiences will like.
When Hainan Meets Teochew, it is also an experiment
to see how audiences would react to my style of comedy,”
studied to be an architect ended up as a TV scriptwriter
in 1998. His dream project is a romantic comedy like
Richard Curtis’ Love Actually (2003), where separate
stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many
of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress.
states: “I’d like to try different kinds
of comedy as I grow as a filmmaker.”
first garnered attention in 2001 when his short film
The Call Home won Best Short Film at the Singapore International
Film Festival. With 12 years of experience behind him,
what advice does he have for young budding filmmakers?
what you want when you are young. That’s the best
time of your life. If you go on deliberating on how
to make the perfect film, it will probably never happen.
project you embark on is a unique learning experience,”
says the amiable filmmaker.
When Hainan Meets Teochew opens 3 December at The Arts
House and Sinema. Tickets are available at http://www.bytes.sg/
Our Review of WHEN HAINAN MEETS TEOCHEW here