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  • A Land Imagined

    Singapore, France, Netherlands | 95 minutes | English, Mandarin | English subtitles | Format – DCP

    • Winner of Golden Leopard, Locarno Film Festival 2018

    “Writer/director YEO Siew Hua and cinematographer Hideho URATA swiftly establish a film noir-style ambience as detective Lok (Peter YU) drives through a neon-lit Singapore like a latter-day Philip Marlowe or J J Gittes. City lights twinkle through the haze of tumbling rain and vast industrial landscapes are silhouetted against blood red skies. The score is jazzy, the mood is fatalistic and there is the sense that the case of one individual will reveal bittersweet truths about the state of the nation.” – Screen

    “The mutability of territory is embedded in the very title of Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined, winner of the festival’s top prize, the Golden Leopard, which was awarded by an international competition jury led by Jia Zhangke. The film takes on the issues of land reclamation and migrant labor in Singapore via an oneiric blend of detective genre convolutions and male melodrama intimacies. Cinematographer Hideho Urata lends the film’s night scenes the lurid neon-noir aesthetics of Miami Vice, and editor (and great filmmaker in his own right) Daniel Hui delicately maintains the film’s balance between its serpentine plotline and understated political commentary.” – Artforum

    SYNOPSIS

    Set in industrial Singapore, police investigator Lok must find missing migrant worker Wang. Wang suffers a worksite accident and is anxious about repatriation. Unable to sleep, Wang starts frequenting a dreamy cybercafé in the dead of the night. Hoping to look for some form of human connection in this foreign land he feels alienated from, Wang forms a virtual friendship with a mysterious gamer that takes a sinister turn. When Wang suddenly disappears, Lok digs deep into the trail leading to a land reclamation site, in order to uncover the truth beneath all that sand.

    DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

    Singapore has garnered itself a reputation as a modern economic miracle, turning itself from a fishing village to a thriving modern economy over the short period of only a few decades.

    Such a feat is possible due to its ability to systematically engineer a land designed through land reclamation and endless construction projects. By perpetually reshaping itself, it negates natural geographical formations, rendering them into perfectly straight and angular shorelines – a land as though imagined up by some geometrical mind.

    Even the people on this imaginary land are at the same time equally imagined. As a country of immigrants, its demography is wholly dependent on migration policies and economic considerations. New migrants are brought into the fold to reinvigorate the imagination of this economic miracle – a success story that is built upon the backs of low wage migrant labourers from the region who are hired to build a nation they can never become a part of.

    The Cost of Imaginations – These indentured workers live in the outskirts of the restless city; existing in the blind spot of larger society; their exploitation remains unseen. They are the invisible and imaginary – they are the sleepless, the dreamless. With no recourse for grievances, the migrant workers live in precarity. The constant fear of repatriation, with debt incurred from training and agency fees even before they start to work and earn, continue to entrap them in their wretched situation. What should happen if they go missing? Who would look for them? Would anyone even care to know? The film is premised on these questions by an unwilling police investigator, looking for a missing worker whose migrant working-class reality is so far removed from his own that it seems a far cry to reconcile. Yet that is exactly what he must do to find the missing worker and solve the case.

    Transformation through Social Imaginaries – In developing this film, I too found it difficult to write about a group of people whose lives are so inextricably interwoven with mine, but yet so different from my own. It took me three years to research this topic from both the political and the human level – the migrant workers I interviewed, the company that employs them, the NGOs and activists who represent them and the government who must ultimately protect them. But I found that approaching the topic from the outside was just not enough. I wanted to know their dreams and their fears, their joys and their jokes; I needed to know what keeps them up at night. So I spent my days with them over a long period of time and started to see them in a new light, not just as a function of society but every bit as human. I found myself transformed like the character of the police investigator in my film and hope to share this new light, through the projection of cinema, with my audience.

    DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY

    YEO Siew Hua studied philosophy at the National University of Singapore and is a member of the 13 Little Pictures film collective. He wrote and directed the experimental film, IN THE HOUSE OF STRAW (2009). He participated in the 2015 edition of Talents Tokyo and pitched at Autumn Meeting 2016, where he won the Grand Prix for his second fiction feature, A LAND IMAGINED (2018). The film also took part in the Asia Pacific Screen Lab 2017 and is a recipient of the Hubert Bals Fund and the Aide aux Cinema du Monde.

    CAST

    Lok – Peter YU
    Wang – LIU Xiaoyi
    Mindy – Luna KWOK
    Jason – Jack TAN
    Ajit – Ishtiaque ZICO
    George – Kelvin HO
    Foreman – Lee George LOW
    Ming – Ming Andie CHEN

    CREW

    Director/Writer: Yeo Siew Hua
    Producer:Fran Borgia
    Co-Producers:Gary Goh, Jean-Laurent Csinidis, Denis Vaslin
    Executive Producers: Melvin Ang, Ng Say Yong
    Associate Producer: Dan Koh
    Director of Photography: Hideho Urata
    Production Designer: James Page
    Costume Designer: Meredith Lee
    Editor: Daniel Hui
    Sound Designer: Damien Guillaume
    Sound Mixer: Gilles Benardeau
    Music Composer: Teo Wei Yong

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    Country of production: Singapore, France, The Netherlands
    Production companies: Akanga Film Asia, mm2 Entertainment, Films de Force Majeure, Volya Films
    In Association with: 13 Little Pictures
    Supported by: Singapore Film Commission, L? Aide Aux Cinemas du Monde, Centre National du Cinema et de L? Image Animee, Ministere de L? Europe et des Affaires Etrangeres, Institut Francais, Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands Film Fund, Torino Film Lab Audience Design Award
    With the support from Asia Pacific Screen Lab (Australia), Autumn Meeting (Vietnam), Talents Tokyo (Japan)
    Running length: 95 minutes / Colour
    Year of release: 2018
    Language: English, Mandarin
    Subtitles: English
    Screening format: DCP
    Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
    Sound: 5.1, Stereo

    PRESS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION / SALES CONTACT

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  • Fundamentally Happy

    Singapore | 73 min | English & Malay | English Subtitles | HD

    • Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2015 (Competing for the NETPAC award)
    • Hanoi International Film Festival 2016 (Competition)
    • SalaMindanaw Asian Film Festival 2015 (Asian Competition)
    • Thessaloniki LGBT Film Festival 2016 (Honorable Mention by Audience)
    • Jogja NETPAC Film Festival 2015
    • Lima Independent Film Festival 2016
    • World Film Festival Bangkok 2016
    • Luang Prabang Film Festival 2016
    • Southeast Asian Film Festival 2015, Singapore Art Museum
    • National University of Singapore Arts Festival 2016
    • Wee Kim Wee Centre, Singapore Management University
    • LaSalle College of the Arts Singapore
    • The Projector, Singapore

    “Without intrusiveness, 03-FLATS observes lives of individuals in their intimacy. By way of subtle contrasts – propaganda v.s. reality, the occupied/space v.s. the unoccupied/being – the film triggers a strong sense of loneliness which inevitably leads to the questioning of urbanization. The film does not only show negative side of urbanization, but also the individuals’ attempt to adapt themselves into urbanisation.” -Jury of the 5th Salaya International Documentary Film Festival 2015: Chinlin Hsieh, Waraluck Hiransrettawat, Apinan Thammasena

    “The film has made an important contribution with its enlightened academic framework to the discourse and understanding of domesticity for the majority living in Singapore’s public housing.” – Professor of Architecture William Lim

    “… the film seems to be about singlehood, ageing, public housing and the female experience. But slowly, mesmerisingly, a more complex and interesting picture emerges.” – John Lui, Straits Times LIFE!

    Synopsis

    Twenty years ago, Habiba and Eric were neighbours. When Eric revisits her home to find her still living there with her husband, what seems like a friendly reunion turns into the gradual revelation of a painful secret from the past. An unflinching look at the consequences of abuse, Fundamentally Happy explores, without judgment or condemnation, critical issues such as trust, memory, relationships and consent. This is a film adaptation of Fundamentally Happy, a 2006 award-wininng play by Haresh Sharma and Alvin Tan.

    Director’s Statement

    Without theatre, there’s no cinema. So much of what we know of cinema today – performance, storytelling through space, light and sound design, has its roots in the many kinds of theatre that precede cinema and are still innovating today. Just like the chamber films of Ingmar Bergman, we imagine a cinema that embraces the theatricality and that distills the essence of an original text. That this is also cinema – that is the possibility that we are after, as we adapt a play that already has a very strong and clear vision: two persons trapped in a house of their memories, two persons having a conversation after not seeing each other for 20 years, their recollections the mirror image of the other’s – images of the same thing but from laterally opposite perspectives.

    We kept the dialogue verbatim. Haresh has the rare gift of capturing the way Singaporeans speak. His use of rhythm, grammar, syntax, and speech pattern to distinguish the two characters is integral to the work. It enabled us to imagine a film that is not just heard but listened to.

    We are interested to make a film about the portraits of Eric and Habiba. Faces are mysterious and truthful at the same time. When you look at someone long enough, you can see their stories. We seldom put both characters in the same frame – you see a person and hear the other offscreen. You do not know if they are talking to each other or to themselves. Did Eric really confess to Habiba? Did Habiba really hurl those unkind accusations at Eric? We created these offscreen spaces to hold their years of anger, betrayal, fears, and longing. To make it a little kinder, gentler for Eric and Habiba.

    Shooting in a real two-storey terrace house, we wanted to bring the audience around the house of their memories and in particular, we used the perspective of the staircase to create the gaze of Uncle Ismail who haunted the two characters (low angle); and the gaze at Uncle Ismail whom both characters longed for (high angle). So it was a haunting and a longing from the perspective of the staircase. With that, we situated the main action around the staircase.

    In making this film, we hope to examine the complex issue of abuse with the grace of love.

    Director’s Biography

    Tan Bee Thiam and Lei Yuan Bin have worked together on various projects produced under 13 Little Pictures, an independent film collective whose films have garnered critical acclaim. Fundamentally Happy is the first film they co-directed together. Tan is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents, Rotterdam Lab and European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs. Lei was conferred the Young Artist Award in 2012 by the National Arts Council, Singapore’s highest award for young arts practitioner.

    Technical Specifications

    Country of production: Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong
    Running length: 73 minutes
    Year of production: 2015
    Rating: NC16 (Singapore), Banned (Malaysia)
    Language: English, Malay
    Subtitles: English
    Original Format: Digital
    Screening Format: DCP
    Aspect Ratio: 1:1.85
    Sound: Stereo, 5,1

    Cast

    Habiba Hj Salim Adibah Noor
    Eric Sim Joshua Lim

    Crew

    Production: 13 Little Pictures

    Co-Production: White Light

    Directed by Tan Bee Thiam, Lei Yuan Bin
    Written by Haresh Sharma, Alvin Tan
    Executive Producer Tan Bee Thiam
    Producers Tan Bee Thiam, Lei Yuan Bin
    Co-Producers Ken Hui, Lee Chatametikool
    Associate Producers Dan Lim, Glen Goei
    Production Manager Colin Huang
    Production Assistants Fiona Lai Siow Mei
    Charles Looi Chun Hoe
    Chew Keng Hao
    Director of Photography Christopher Doyle
    First Camera Assistant Shyan Tan
    Second Camera Assistants Jonathan Goh
    Lau Hong Hu
    Lee Feng Nian
    Louise Evangeline Ng
    Gaffers Chia Meng Chee
    Colin Peh
    Jon Keng
    Jaryl Lim
    Khairul Amin
    Grip Daryl Ong
    Derrick Loo
    Dazfirul Haniff
    Jason Ye
    Johan Sue
    Production Designers Lei Yuan Bin, Vivien Koh
    Art Assistants Natalie Khoo
    Teo Qi Yu
    Colin Huang
    Khor Serene
    Chew Keng Hao
    Tan Jingliang
    Make Up Jeffrey Linus Lee
    Costume Irene Lee
    Production Sound Mixer Jenn Hui
    Boom Operator Susanne Soon
    Edited by Tan Bee Thiam, Lei Yuan Bin
    Data Wrangler Liao Jiekai
    Post Production White Light
    Lee Chatametikool
    Max Tersch
    Gigs Siripun
    Colorist Chaitawat Trisarnsri
    Sound Designer Maiken Hansen
    Foley Artist Lim Ting Li
    Foley Recordist Filipe Paszkiewicz
    Music Composer Teo Wei Yong
    Set Photographer Ivan Tan
    Making of Video Natalie Khoo, Teo Qi Yu
    Special Thanks The Necessary Stage
    Parabole
    The Kow Family
    Aaron Ng
    Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit
    Chua En Lai
    Chris Fujiwara
    Daniel Hui
    Eugene Phua
    Jenny Ong
    Johnny Ng
    John Badalu
    Khor Serene
    Liew Seng Tat
    Lim Jia Jia
    Loo Zihan
    Michael Wang
    Michael J. Werner
    Norman Wang
    Paolo Bertolin
    Philip Cheah
    Tam Tsui Yan
    Teo Swee Leng
    Thomas Chia

    Press and International Distribution / Sales Contact

    13littlepictures@gmail.com



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  • Snakeskin

    Singapore | 105 minutes | English | Format – 16mm film

    • Torino Film Festival, Italy 2014 (awarded TFFDoc Special Jury Award)
    • Yamagata International Film Festival, Japan 2015 (awarded New Asian Currents Award of Excellence)
    • RIDM, Montreal International Documentary Film Festival, Canada 2015 (awarded Special Jury Mention)
    • FICUNAM, Mexico 2015 (in competition)
    • Doclisboa International Film Festival, Portugal 2014 (in competition)
    • Festival de Cine Lima Independiente, Peru 2015 (in competition)
    • Salamindanaw International Film Festival, the Philippines 2015 (in competition)
    • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea, 2016
    • Harvard Film Archive, USA 2015
    • Art of the Real, Film Society of Lincoln Center New York, USA 2015
    • FIDMarseille, Marseille Festival of Documentary Film, France 2015
    • Olhar de Cinema, Curitiba International Film Festival, Brazil 2015
    • Singapore Unbound, Griffith Film School, Australia 2015
    • Southeast Asian Film Festival, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore 2015
    • World Film Festival of Bangkok, Thailand 2016
    • Taipei Film Festival, Taiwan 2017
    • Porto/Post/Doc, Portugal 2014
    • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea 2016
    • Festival Film Dokumentur, Indonesia 2016
    • Ullens Contemporary Center for the Arts, China 2017

    “Another successful experiment in hybridization was Snakeskin, which had its world premiere at Doclisboa, following director Daniel Hui’s winning of the Revelation Prize for Eclipses at last year’s festival. Documentary is crossed with science fiction as the sole survivor of an apocalyptic cult in the year 2066 meditates, via voice-over, on interviews and footage filmed in 2014 in his native Singapore. In its unraveling narrative, this unusual, thoughtful evocation of time travel probes one of history’s most complex sites of colonialist intrigue.” – Travis Jeppesen, Art Forum

    “Watching Lav Diaz’s epic five hour From What Is Before (2014) is like binging on a slow-cinema version of a soap opera box set, as Diaz theatrically restages his native Philippines’ 1972 revolution. Daniel Hui’s Snakeskin (2014) similarly acts to revise the history of the director’s homeland, Singapore, ambitiously rejoicing in the medium of film as a Chris Marker-esque agent of time travel and mythmaking, complete with a reincarnated cat.” – Justin Jaeckle at Art Review

    “The necessity of finding a new way to comprehend and narrate our predicament lies at the stylistic core of Snakeskin. Daniel Hui’s ambitious but unpretentious film accepts the complexity of Singapore’s past and its multiple strains of subjectivity. One of the many schizophrenic creations of imperialism, the Southeast Asian island is here rendered through a sort of science-fiction cartography that traces this history as reflected in the landscape. In a similar but less dogmatic vein as Masao Adachi’s “landscape theory,” with echoes of the Black Audio Film Collective, the film gives voice to the stories left unheard behind the walls that are built around history so that it can be learnt as a monolithic and unequivocal body of knowledge. The personal recollections of ethnic minorities, film impresarios, and the ghosts of the city coalesce into a polymorphic narrative intimately lensed but told in a choral voice.” – Giovanni Vimercati, Film Comment on Snakeskin

    SYNOPSIS

    A striking vérité snapshot of present-day Singapore that doubles as a semi-mystical cinematic incantation conjuring ghosts from the country’s history, Daniel Hui’s Snakeskin ingeniously compresses past, present and future. In 2066, the lone survivor of a cult projects footage shot by his divine leader, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Stamford Raffles, the British statesman who founded Singapore. Both living and dead subjects candidly reminisce about love, race, revolution and the Malay film industry as muted images from 2014 of the city-state’s streets and harbors—key locations of the cult’s future founding—flash by. – Film Society of Lincoln Center

    DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

    The 1950s is a fascinating era in Singapore’s history. It was a time when Singapore had the most vibrant film industry in the region. It was also a time of great political upheaval. Watching the cinema of this era, I have always found many parallels between its ideals and the ideals of activists and politicians at that time. Both wanted a racially-integrated society that is independent and egalitarian.

    Unfortunately, a lot of this history has been either forgotten, erased, or rewritten. This film is dedicated to the people who have fallen through the gaps of history. Their ghosts remain with us, in our dreams, in our hallucinations, in our unconscious. In the deep of the night, when the ring of money has died down, we can still hear their voices warning us of the future to come.

    DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY

    Daniel Hui is a filmmaker and writer. A graduate of the film program in California Institute of the Arts, he is one of the founding members of 13 Little Pictures, an independent film collective whose films have garnered critical acclaim all around the world. His first documentary feature Eclipses (2011) won Best Début Feature at the Doclisboa International Film Festival. His second documentary feature Snakeskin (2014) won the Special Jury Award TFFDoc (Torino Film Festival), Award of Excellence (Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival) and Special Mention (RIDM Montreal International Documentary Film Festival). His third documentary feature project A Short Film About the Dead won the Akademie Schloss Solitude Award at FIDlab (Marseille International Film Festival) and was selected for the Berlinale Documentary Station 2017.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    Directed by Daniel Hui
    Country of production: Singapore
    Production Company: 13 Little Pictures
    Format: 16mm
    Genre: Drama
    Estimated Running Time: 105 min

    PRESS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION / SALES CONTACT

    13littlepictures@gmail.com

    Trailer: YouTube



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  • 03-Flats

    Singapore | 90 min | English, Mandarin & Malay | English Subtitles | HD

    • Best ASEAN Documentary Prize, Salaya International Film Festival 2015
    • Wide Angle Documentary competition, Busan International Film Festival 2014
    • Venice Architecture Biennale 2016
    • Seoul International Architecture Film Festival 2014
    • Singapore International Film Festival 2014
    • Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London
    • Cinematheque Française

    “Without intrusiveness, 03-FLATS observes lives of individuals in their intimacy. By way of subtle contrasts – propaganda v.s. reality, the occupied/space v.s. the unoccupied/being – the film triggers a strong sense of loneliness which inevitably leads to the questioning of urbanization. The film does not only show negative side of urbanization, but also the individuals’ attempt to adapt themselves into urbanisation.” -Jury of the 5th Salaya International Documentary Film Festival 2015: Chinlin Hsieh, Waraluck Hiransrettawat, Apinan Thammasena

    “The film has made an important contribution with its enlightened academic framework to the discourse and understanding of domesticity for the majority living in Singapore’s public housing.” – Professor of Architecture William Lim

    “… the film seems to be about singlehood, ageing, public housing and the female experience. But slowly, mesmerisingly, a more complex and interesting picture emerges.” – John Lui, Straits Times LIFE!

    Synopsis

    Housing, heartland, home. Amidst the backdrop of Singapore’s celebrated and politicized public housing intended for families, 03-Flats follows the domestic existence of three single women who are striving for independence at different stages of their lives. It juxtaposes the nationalistic ambitions of a state-driven housing program against the occupants’ struggles to preserve personal routines, traditions and aspirations. 03-Flats embodies prosaic domesticity wherein existence becomes spontaneous and life ironically escapes formulation. 03-FLATS is a key filmic output of a research initiative led by Dr Lilian Chee (Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore). Chee conceptualised the project and made the film in collaboration with award-winning Singaporean filmmaker Lei Yuan Bin (13 Little Pictures) to probe how domesticity—a critical component wherein home is produced—may be viscerally represented and experientially encountered.

    Director’s Statement

    In 03-Flats, I used an observational approach to create an experience of being with three women inside their flats. Filmed over 9 months, the footage was then compressed into a sequence that encapsulates the essence of their everyday life. At the same time, I wanted to expand the small moments we experience with them. Using long takes and a static camera that is removed yet intimate, the film allows us to experience different kinds of time with them. Having shot this film completely alone, I adopted a very personal filmmaking approach, one that is built upon the friendship and trust that exist between the three women and me.

    Director’s Biography

    Lei Yuan Bin (born 1977) is a founding member of the film collective 13 Little Pictures. He was conferred the Young Artist Award in 2012 by the National Arts Council, Singapore?s highest award for young arts practitioners. His directorial debut, WHITE DAYS, has been praised by film scholar, Professor Gilbert Yeoh to be “one of the rare films in Singapore cinema that invites the viewer to rethink the aesthetics of cinema.” 03-FLATS, his sophomore feature was a collaboration with the National University of Singapore’s Architecture department. It was selected for documentary competition at the Busan International Film Festival and won the Best ASEAN Documentary prize at the Salaya International Documentary Film Festival. Film critic John Lui hailed the film as “an absorbing, almost hypnotically arresting treatise”. Lei?s next project, Tuition won Busan?s Asian Cinema Fund and was selected one of thirty projects selected for the Asian Project Market. Lei?s works have been presented to international audiences in Berlin, Rome, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and more. In Singapore, EQ Music and Media distributes his films; internationally, Alexander Street Press distributes them. In addition, Lei was the director of photography for Anthony Chen?s HAZE (Berlinale), Liao Jiekai?s RED DRAGONFLIES (Jury Prize, Jeonju) and art director for Boo Junfeng?s SANDCASTLE (Cannes Critics? Week). He was mentored by film maestro Hou Hsiao- hsien at the Asian Film Academy (Busan) and worked on Tsai Ming Liang’s Visage. Lei is a Sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore.

    Technical Specifications

    03-FLATS: Housing, heartland, home. Three women and Singapore’s public housing
    A National University of Singapore & 13 Little Pictures Production
    Country of production: Singapore
    Running length: 90 minutes
    Year of production: 2014
    Language: English, Mandarin, Malay
    Subtitles: English
    Original Format: HD
    Screening Format: DCP
    Aspect Ratio: 1:1.85
    Sound: Stereo

    Crew

    Direction/Cinematography/Editing/Sound: Lei Yuan Bin
    Original Concept: Dr Lilian Chee
    Executive Producer: Dr Lilian Chee
    Producers: Tan Bee Thiam & Lei Yuan Bin
    Principal Investigator for Research Project: Dr Lilian Chee
    Colourist: Chaitawat Trisarnsri
    Sound Designer: Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr
    Title Design: Oh Wen Xin
    Research Assistants: Serene Ng Xiao Qian, Felicia Lin Yanle, Phoaw Yen Shan, Kenneth Koh Qibao, Lee Ling Wei,  Jan Lim Hui Min, Lin Derong
    Special Thanks: Sim Boon Ngoh, Amy Tashiana, Tang Ling Nah, Peter Sim & Joan Sim, The families & friends of Tang Ling Nah & Amy Tashiana, Ailian Chee, Jessica Yeo, Tan Hui Cheng, Fu Yu Ming, Wong Yunn Chii, Wong Chong Thai Bobby, Ahmad Mashadi, Willie Koh, Heng Chye Kiang, Lee Chatametikool

    Archival footage provided by Ministry of Culture, Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

    Supported by 13 Little Pictures, Department of Architecture (School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore), Media Development Authority Singapore, Ministry of Education Singapore, FARM

    In association with White Light

    Press and International Distribution / Sales Contact

    13littlepictures@gmail.com



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  • The Obs: A Singapore Story

    Singapore | 98 minutes | English, Indonesian | English subtitles | Format – DCP

    • Official Selection, 25th Singapore International Film Festival 2014
    • Official Selection, 14th Cinedays Festival of European Film (Macedonia) 2015
    • Official Selection, 10th Festival of Music Documentaries DORF (Croatia) 2016

     

    “[A] tale of an alternative Singapore, expressed through the eyes, words and instruments of these incendiary—and at times inscrutable—musicians. It’s a parable of the city, one in which the fury of the common folk bubbles without boiling over.” —Time Out Singapore

    “Must-watch…The story of Singapore’s hardest working and longest-surviving indie band, The Observatory, is told through archival footage and interviews in this contemplative documentary by filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua on what it means to think like an outsider in a society that favours the mainstream.” —The Business Times

    “[An] insightful peak into the band’s development over the years, how it weathered changes in creative direction, to evolve and to produce arguably the local scene’s most inventive music. Not just for the fans, it’s a story about the Singapore experience. Through archival footage and interviews, this is the closest one can get to The Observatory.” —Bandwagon

    Synopsis

    Hailed as Singapore’s most important independent band, The Observatory and their brooding, brilliant and confounding music are explored in this quietly contemplative music documentary. Tracing the footsteps of the group’s core members, THE OBS: A SINGAPORE STORY looks back at the country’s early nation-building period, when native music faced a clampdown by the government, which accused it of ‘western decadence’, to understand the creative process of one of Singapore’s longest-surviving outfits. From Bali to Bergen, THE OBS highlights the constant struggle between artistic vision and pragmatic realities; an unwavering commitment to evolution versus a society that unforgivingly favours the mainstream. More than a music film, THE OBS is a tale of uncompromising passion, of culture and of belonging, and the costs—and invaluable rewards—of being creative.

    Director’s Statement

    In 2011, I was approached to make a short video on Singapore music legend, Leslie Low, the vocalist and guitarist for The Observatory. I was surprised by how popular the video became, especially when the general impression is that there is a lack of quality local musicians and people are not interested in home-grown music. But if we only probe a little deeper, we would discover that Singapore music has thrived—in fits and spurts—since the 1960s and that in recent years, there has been an explosion of young bands. Movements in the arts and music aren’t formed out of pure momentum, however, they have to be documented. For instance, the second golden era of local music in the early 1990s fizzled out with the physical death of the influential BigO zine. In late 2011, I was sitting at my desk clearing up space on my hard drive and moved the Leslie footage into the trash. I remember a moment of hesitation before I emptied the trash and the familiar sound of paper crushing was heard. It is at times like this, when something is finally lost, that one suddenly feels the emptiness. I realised it wasn’t only some piece of my own memory that got emptied out, but a bigger piece of collective heritage that had just disappeared. At this, I phoned my producers and said, “We need to do a documentary on The Observatory.”

    Director’s Biography

    Yeo Siew Hua is a winner of the Kodak Singapore Prize for Cinematography and the Cathay Organisation Gold Medal. IN THE HOUSE OF STRAW, which he wrote and directed, is his debut feature film that premiered in competition at the Bangkok International Film Festival 2009 and was presented at the 34th Sao Paulo International Film Festival 2010, where it was lauded by critics as a significant film of the Singapore New Wave.

    Cast

    Leslie Low Vivian Wang Dharma Victor Low Evan Tan X’Ho Bani Haykal Mark Dolmont Debbie Ding David Toop

    Crew

    Director/Writer/Editor: Yeo Siew Hua
    Producers:Adeline Setiawan, Dan Koh, Yeo Siew Hua
    Music: The Observatory
    Audio Post: Justin Seah
    Camera: Aaron Ng, Adeline Setiawan, Andrew Sobrielo, Anisah Aidid, Cain Chui, Dan Koh, Elizabeth Lim, Eric Lee, Looi Wan Ping, Nigel Hogan, Patrick Ong, Samantha Sng, Tian Low, Wu Jun Han, Yang Vicki, Yeo Siew Hua
    Sound: Hussin Ismail, Jenn Hui, Yong Rong Zhao, Patrick Chan, See Tong Wai
    Photography: Philipp Aldrup Photography, Koh Nguang How, David Ee, Hoong Wei Long
    Associate Producers: JD Chua, Tian Low
    Consultants: Leon Cheo, Patrick Ong

    Technical Specifications

    Country of production: Singapore
    Production company: 13 Little Pictures
    Running length: 98 minutes / Colour
    Year of release: 2015
    Language: English & Indonesian
    Subtitles: English
    Screening format: DCP
    Aspect ratio: 16:9
    Sound: Stereo

    PRESS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION / SALES CONTACT

    Dan Koh | Producer
    obsdocu@gmail.com

    Film website    Trailer



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  • Ge Ye Fan (Father & Daughter)

    Ge Ye Fan

    Director: Gladys Ng
    Producer: Liao Jiekai
    Project Status: Development / Pre-production

    SYNOPSIS

    Ge Ye Fan (english title: Father & Daughter), is a heartwarming family story told through the eyes of an elderly father and his prodigal daughter, Ying. A fresh graduate from university, Ying is insecure about her future; drifting about odd jobs, feeling guilty towards her elderly father and unsure about her own sexuality, Ying navigates through the post-modern metropolis trying to find her own footing in life. The only familiar event that gives her any comfort is the family dinner every weekend. Set in the Singapore heartlands of today, the film aims at capturing the tenderness of familial ties between father and daughter through the making of a simple home-cooked meal.



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  • Kopi Julia (Julia’s Coffee)

    Malaysia, Singapore | 7 min | Silent, B&W | Malay Intertitles, English Subtitles | HD

    • Sharjah Biennial 2013, curated by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
    SYNOPSIS

    Ikram brings home his classmates to feed Julia, his blood-sucking stepmum. When Julia starts flirting with a classmate Ikram has been secretly admiring, he flies into a rage of jealousy. An adaptation from a short story by Faizal Sulaiman, Kopi Julia is a film tribute to the Malay horror films made in the 50s in Singapore.

    Cast
    Julia……………… Amy Tashiana
    Ikram …………… Raimi Liandy Safari
    Rashad …………. Muhammad Ridhwan bin Rahmat

    Also starring Adeline Setiawan, Ong Szu Jie, Vicki Yang and Miu Miu

    Crew
    Executive Producer Amir Muhammad
    Directed and produced by Tan Bee Thiam
    Adapted from “Kopi Julia” by Faizal Sulaiman, a short story in Kopi (published by Buku Fixi)
    Photography by Looi Wan Ping
    Edited by Liao Jiekai
    Music by Benjamin Lim Yi
    Assistant Direction: Vicki Yang
    Makeup: Colin Moy
    Casting: Wesley Leon Aroozoo
    with thanks to Stephane Lasserre, Max Lim and Sherman Ong

    DIRECTOR’S BIO

    Tan Bee Thiam is a filmmaker with the 13 Little Pictures film collective and the editor of Cinemas of Asia, the Journal of the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema.






  • Yellow Flowers

    Directed by Glen Goei
    Produced by Tan Bee Thiam
    Written by Haresh Sharma
    Country of production: Singapore
    Production Company: 13 Little Pictures
    Estimated Running Time: 90 min

    Introduction

    A story of the inter-connected lives of a group of multi-racial Singaporeans as they struggle to find hope and redemption.

    Director Statement

    YELLOW FLOWERS is a companion piece to my previous film THE BLUE MANSION, which was about the elite who run and rule Singapore without any compassion and humanity. YELLOW FLOWERS represents the flip side of the same coin. It shows how the underclass, the forgotten, the left-behinds live and struggle to make sense of their existence as a result of ‘the system’ imposed by the ruling elite. If THE BLUE MANSION begs the question “where is the love?”, the characters in YELLOW FLOWERS find that unconditional love is their only salvation.

    Director Biography

    Glen Goei (born 1962) is one of Singapore’s leading film and theatre directors. Goei’s film, FOREVER FEVER (1998), was the first Singapore film to be presented at Sundance and to achieve a worldwide commercial release. The film was distributed in America and the United Kingdom by Miramax, which then signed him on an exclusive three-picture deal. His second film, THE BLUE MANSION (2009), featured a cast comprising the cream of Singapore and Malaysia’s acting talent and an international production team. It premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival and won the Best Film and Best Director Awards at the SPH Singapore Entertainment Awards. Glen’s work in theatre started with his Olivier Award nominated performance in the title role of M. BUTTERFLY opposite Anthony Hopkins in London’s West End. As Associate Artistic Director of W!ld Rice, he won the Production of the Year for his daring restaging of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST at the Straits Times Life! Theatre Award 2010. He also directed the hugely popular EMILY, and THE HISTORY OF SINGAPORE. He was the Creative Director of the National Day Parade (2003-2006). He graduated from Cambridge with a Masters of Art in History.



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  • Eclipses

    Singapore | 103 minutes | English, Teochew, Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali | English | Format – 16mm film

    • DocLisboa International Film Festival, Portugal 2013 [awarded Pixel Bunker Award for International New Talent]
    • World Film Festival Bangkok, Thailand 2013
    • Reggio Emilia Asian Film Festival, Italy 2012
    • Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore 2011

    “Never before has cinema spoken to me in ways as such, and the experience from having two characters speak straight to you is both liberating and intimate.” – Ivan Tan, Sindie

    “Eclipses [is] extraordinary, because what [it presents] is not only the information, but the souls of the persons.” – Jit Prokeaw

    Synopsis

    A woman begins to come to terms with society after having withdrawn into her own world to mourn her late husband. The film splinters away to document the characters surrounding her – people from different classes, including the director’s own family. An investigation of the landscapes in which we live, work, and play, this is Singapore seen through the prisms of family, class and race.

    Director’s Statement

    Eclipses was conceived at the juncture of the personal and the political, the individual and the collective, the particular and the universal. It will attempt to navigate the uncertain territory between Heidegger and Marx, taking as its starting point an amalgamation of Europa ’51 and The Man With A Movie Camera. It is a film about absence (hence, the title) – the absence of the husband that ignites the story, the absence of the world that the woman denies, and later the absence of the woman itself as she is subsumed into the world. It will be a sociological document that describes society at every level of production; at the same time, it will be an emotional document about the different stages of grieving, about realizing one’s place in the world around us.

    Director’s Biography

    Daniel Hui is a filmmaker and writer. A graduate of the film program in California Institute of the Arts, his films have been screened at film festivals in Rotterdam, Hawaii, Manila, Seoul, Bangkok, and Vladivostok. His writings have been published in prominent cinema journals, including the Cinematheque Quarterly of the National Museum Singapore. He is the contributing editor to the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) online journal, Cinemas of Asia. He is also one of the founding members of 13 Little Pictures, an independent film collective whose films have garnered critical acclaim all around the world. He recently won the Pixel Bunker Award for International New Talent at the Doclisboa International Film Festival for his début feature film Eclipses.

    Technical Specifications

    Directed by Daniel Hui

    Country of production: Singapore

    Production Company: 13 Little Pictures

    Format: 16mm

    Genre: Drama

    Estimated Running Time: 103 min

    PRESS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION / SALES CONTACT

    13littlepictures@gmail.com

    Trailer: YouTube



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  • I Have Loved

    Cambodia | 74 minutes | English | English Subtitles | HDCam

    • Asian Feature Film Competition, 24th Singapore International Film Festival
    • Main Competition, 10th Asian Film Festival, Reggio Emilia
    • Asian New Talent Awards, 15th Shanghai International Film Festival
    • In Competition, Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2012
    • Frame X Frame Film Series, Presented by The Arts House & Supported by Singapore Film Commission
    • Feature Film Section, 3rd Cambodia International Film Festival
    • Asian Contemporary Section, 11th World Film Festival of Bangkok

    SYNOPSIS

    What does it mean to declare or even whisper: I have loved?

    In Siem Reap, a young woman, haunted by loss, mourning, melancholia and the imperfections of memory, dances with two men–one of whom she is married to, while the other is engaged to be married.

    DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

    Marie goes to Cambodia in search of a romantic honeymoon but is confronted with the ambiguities of life and struggles with emotions and impulses beyond her understanding. “I Have Loved” is an intimate exploration of human consciousness, time and ways of remembering. After the death of her husband, Marie is haunted by an eclipsed memory—she cannot remember a key traumatic event as it happened. Trapped in a Freudian cycle of mourning and repetition, she returns to Siem Reap to remember—so that she may forget. But she fails to achieve her desired catharsis. When she meets Amarin, who is drawn to her grief due to his own buried sorrow, light shines into her cloistered soul but guilt, fear and their vast differences makes them remain both soul mates and strangers. The landscape and architecture of Siem Reap and the Angkor temples are also characters in this film that explores contradiction on different levels.

    The town of Siem Reap, compact and yet filled with contradictory building styles and transient tourists, is a metaphor for the frazzled yet searching and hopeful minds of the characters. The splendor and illusion of the grand and cold Hotel de la Paix as a modern temple for privileged pilgrims gestures towards Resnais’ “Last Year in Marienbad” and also the Angkor temples. The time- weathered temples form the emotional core of the film and visually allude to the ancient human soul—battered yet magnificent before the dust of modernity. The visual style of the film will be poetic and allusive, as if experiencing someone else’s dream. Beauty on the screen is meant to reveal the ephemerality of beauty and the fear of emptiness beneath. References include the paintings of Degas, Richter and also Louis Le Brocquy. This film is also intended as a love note to Cambodia. While the trauma of its recent past needs to be remembered, showcasing the glory of its ancient history and landscape is also an affirmation of its future. Like Marie learns, Cambodia, especially with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, confronts a painful history rather than try to forget what is impossible to forget. However, the film avoids any explicit reference to politics. The world, in fact, is almost solipsistic as Marie’s epic emotional voyage colors the mood of the film.

    DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY

    Elizabeth Wijaya is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Cornell University under the Cornell Research Scholarship and the HASTAC Scholarship. Her co-directorial debut feature film, I Have Loved, has competed in international festivals in Singapore, Reggio Emilia and Shanghai. She has presented papers at international academic conferences, such as Writing in a Post-Derridean Era, JD09, Derrida Today 2, Derrida Today 3, and where ghosts live. Her paper “To Learn to Live with Spectral Justice: Derrida – Levinas”, was published in Derrida Today Vol.5, Issue 2, (Nov 2012).

    Lai Weijie graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Philosophy at the National University of Singapore before receiving an M.F.A. in Film Production from NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia on the Media Development Authority of Singapore’s Media Education Scheme scholarship. His co-directorial debut, I Have Loved, was in competition at the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2012. He also co-produced Homecoming that made more than S$3 million in Singapore and Malaysia. Recent producing credits include That Girl in Pinafore and No Regrets!, one of the 25 projects in the Co-FPC at the Shanghai Film Market.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    HD 25fps, 16:9 PAL, Stereo

    Directed by Elizabeth Wijaya & Lai Weijie

    Written by Elizabeth Wijaya & Lai Weijie

    Produced by Tan Bee Thiam

    Country of production: Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Production Company: 13 Little Pictures, E&W Films

    Format: HD

    Genre: Drama

    Running Time: 75 min

    CAST

    Glen Goei as Harold

    Amarin Cholvibul as Amarin

    Eryn Tett as Marie

    Laetitia Gangotena as Brunette

    CREW

    Cinematography by Eugene Koh

    Edited by Azharr Rudin

    Line Producer Sherman Lai

    Unit Production Manager Luch Ratha

    Assistant Director Sangchul Lee, Gayle Hariff

    Assistant Camera Jerry Leu

    Gaffer Matte Chi

    Grip Kenny Gee, Basil Mironer

    Makeup & Hair Styling Elaine Décor

    Wardrobe & Art Direction Gayle Hariff, Laetitia Gangotena

    Boom Operator Swee Wee Keong

    Sound Recordist Tan Shijie

    Onset Photography Laetitia Gangotena, Basil Mironer, Kenny Gee

    Translator You Sokunpanha

    Driver Tyheang Pheakdey, Lak Broas

    Colourist Charles Lim

    Sound Design Edwin Wijaya, Leonard Fong

    Composer Danny Imson

    PRESS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION / SALES CONTACT

    13littlepictures@gmail.com

    http://vimeo.com/23915001



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