As Singapore celebrates its landmark 50th year of independence in 2015, Cathay Organisation; whose legacy and heritage are weaved into the storied history of Singapore, will also be celebrating its 80th anniversary in July 2015.
To commemorate this important milestone, Cathay Asia Films, a subsidiary of Cathay Organisation, will be producing the feature film Our Sister Mambo, a romantic comedy inspired by iconic Cathay classic films Our Sister Hedy (四千金, 1957) and The Greatest Civil War on Earth (南北和, 1961).
Our Sister Mambo will be Cathay’s first big-screen production in 15 years and Cathay Organisation intends to donate all profits if any from the film, after the recoupment of production costs, to charity. Our Sister Mambo will be helmed by director Ho Wi Ding, screenwriter Michael Chiang and producer Choo Meileen.
Multi-talented and multi-racial cast
The film will star Singaporean favourites Moses Lim and Michelle Chong as a father-daughter pair. Moses Lim, actor, comedian, entertainer and food connoisseur whose last movie appearance is 2007’s Just Follow Law, will be making his big-screen comeback as the patriarch of the Wong family and long-time employee at Cathay Organisation.
Popular host, actress and director Michelle Chong will portray the titular role of Mambo, the sassy third sister in the quartet of Wong daughters. This will be Chong’s first big-screen appearance since appearing in her directorial debut, Already Famous in 2011.
Actress and comedienne Siti Khalijah Zainal will also be part of the cast. She has performed predominantly on the stage in productions such as Army Daze and Broadway Beng, and recently revealed that she will be joining the new season of MediaCorp Channel 5’s The Noose. Our Sister Mambo will be Siti’s first motion picture role.
Jazz vocalist Rani Singam, one of the most sought-after and accomplished contemporary jazz vocalists in Singapore today, will also be making her film debut as an actress in Our Sister Mambo. Other cast members include actors Muhammad Mahfuz Mazlan, Nelson Chia and Shankara Ebi, and actresses Audrey Luo and Judee Tan ? all of whom are gracing the big screen for the first time.
A Cathay classic in the making
Our Sister Mambo will be Cathay’s first production since That One No Enough in 2000. This feature is a tribute to the Cathay film classics that have entertained generations of audiences; including The Wild Wild Rose (野玫瑰之恋, 1960), Mambo Girl (曼波女郎, 1957), Our Sister Hedy (四千金, 1957), Satay (1958), The Greatest Civil War on Earth (南北和, 1961), Sun, Moon and Star (星星、月亮、太阳, 1961), Dang Anom (1962), and the Pontianak series (1957 ? 1964).
Drawing inspiration from one of Cathay’s most iconic classic films Our Sister Hedy ? a 1957 production about a middle-class family with four unmarried daughters; Our Sister Mambo will be a modern-day Singaporean take on this romantic comedy. The plot will revolve around the Wong household where the father acts as the glue that holds everyone together while Mambo, the protagonist, tries to get her three sisters hitched.
Our Sister Mambo will also include elements from another well-loved Cathay classic The Greatest Civil War on Earth. The film tells the story of the cross-cultural interactions between two neighbouring families ? one from the northern part of China and another from the south. Similar plot points will be showcased in the depiction of Singapore’s multi-racial society in Our Sister Mambo. The film will be presented in English with a smattering of Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay and Tamil.
Award-winning director and acclaimed playwright take charge
The film will be directed by Ho Wi Ding, a Malaysian film director currently based in Taipei. He is the winner of the Best New Director Award at the prestigious Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival for his light-hearted comedy Pinoy Sunday in 2008.
Ho shared his thoughts on directing Our Sister Mambo, “It is a once-in-a-lifetime honour to direct Our Sister Mambo for Cathay’s 80th anniversary. It gives me pride to be associated with this prestigious movie heritage. As a Malaysian who grew up in a small town with a handful of cinema theatres in the heydays, the cinemas nurtured most of my growing up memories ? and Cathay was definitely one of them.”
Michael Chiang, one of Singapore’s most popular playwrights who has created a succession of sell-out shows such as Beauty World, Mixed Signals and Private Parts, will be on board as screenwriter for Our Sister Mambo. This is the second time that Chiang has worked with Cathay and Ms Choo Meileen on a feature film. The first collaboration was Army Daze: The Movie (1996), the first local English language film to collect more than $1 million at the box office.
Chiang shared his joy on working on this film, “I am very thrilled to be working with Cathay and Meileen again. It’s been nearly two decades since we did Army Daze together! While this new film is meant to be an affectionate tribute to two of Cathay’s most beloved classics, the challenge for me will be to find a way to reinvent the story and make it more relevant to today’s audiences. Hopefully, this new version will retain the soul of the old but contain the spirit of the new!”
Our Sister Mambo will be produced by Choo Meileen, Executive Director of Cathay Organisation. Ms Choo shared her thoughts on the commemorative film, “Cathay Organisation has come a long way since it was first established in 1935. I’m proud to produce Our Sister Mambo to celebrate our 80th anniversary in 2015 and look forward to a quality film for all audiences to enjoy when it screens in July 2015. I’m also excited to share that as a gesture of goodwill to the Singapore society who have grown up with Cathay over the years, we will donate all profits made from the film, after recoupment of production costs, to charities adopted by Cathay Organisation.
Our Sister Mambo will be released in theatres in July 2015, to celebrate Cathay Organisation’s 80th anniversary milestone.