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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!


    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


    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

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