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  • Flooding In The Time Of Drought


    Malaysia, Singapore | 2009 | 184 min | Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Tagalog, Mandarin, German Japanese, Korean, Thai, Malay, Hokkien | English subtitles | HDV

    • Asian Digital Competition, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2009 (World Premiere)
    • International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010 (European Premiere)
    • Competition, Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival 2009

    Also titled Banjir Kemarau

    “Decades from now, these movies are going to serve as some of the most authentic cinematic documents of how we actually lived in Singapore in the early 21st century. I’m impressed.” – Ng Yi-Sheng (Poet, playwright and winner of the Singapore Literature Prize 2008.)

    Flooding In The Time Of Drought chases us into a dead-end suspense that is the dreamed up nightmare of Singapore.” – Adele Tan, ARTicle


    What if Singapore’s water supply suddenly runs dry?

    This docu-narrative fusion depicts the lives of foreign immigrants as they face an impending water crisis. Amidst this drought, a cast of non-professional actors grapple with their foibles, fantasies, and broken romances.

    Touching on issues as diverse as ethnic discrimination, ritual beliefs, World War II, and racial tensions in post-’97 riots Indonesia, the film explores how ingrained problems are transported along with migrant communities.

    “A full-length feature with many documentary elements follows eight immigrant couples in Singapore who play scenes from their lives, often shot in their small dwellings. These immigrants are the basis of Singapore’s success, but get the hardest knocks when things go wrong. A film with an unusual length and an unusual form. It’s twice as long as a normal feature and made in two parts. It’s not a documentary, but has many elements of one. The film follows eight couples of immigrants in today’s Singapore. In this way, a lot is made clear about the political and social situation of Singapore, of which the flourishing economy is largely dependent on guest workers. Instead of interviewing the immigrants, the film maker has them play scenes from their own lives. A fiction film, but much more realistic than usual. Another fictional element in the film is the introduction of a water crisis in Singapore. It’s the immigrants who have most problems with this. For a large part, the film is set in the small dwellings where the various immigrant couples live. And also in other regards, the film maker works down to the square centimetre.” – Gertjan Zulhoif, Rotterdam

    Director’s Biography

    Sherman Ong is director of BETOK (HAF 2010, Hubert Bals Fund award), MEMORIES OF A BURNING TREE (Rotterdam), FLOODING IN THE TIME OF DROUGHT (Centre Pompidou Paris), HASHI (Best Script, Singapore Film Awards) and TICKETS (Venice Biennale). Winner of the 2010 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award, his practice centred on the human condition and our relationships with others within the larger milieu.

    Technical Specifications

    Country of production: Singapore, Malaysia

    Running length: 184 minutes (in two parts) / COLOR

    Year of production: 2009

    Language: Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Tagalog, Mandarin, German, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Malay, Hokkien

    Subtitles: English

    Original Format: HD

    Screening Format: HDCAM or Digibeta PAL

    Aspect Ratio: 1:1.85

    Sound: Stereo

    Website: http://floodinginthetimeofdrought.blogspot.com


    Director/Writer: Sherman Ong

    Producer: Sunny Yong

    Co-producer: Tan Bee Thiam

    Cinematographer: Sharon Loh

    Sound: Kent Chan

    Editor: Ming An

    Assistant Director: Swee Wee Keong

    Art Director: Chin Kean Kok, Looi Wan Ping

    Post-production Sound: Takuya Katsu

    Online Editor: Fabian Tan

    Camera Assistant: Looi Wan Ping

    Set Photographer/Color Supervisor: Han Tan

    Music: Indra Perkasa, Arief Yudhanto

    Singing: Zheng Mentian

    Colorist: Max Chia

    Publicity Designer: Catherine Chia


    DROUGHT – Agnes Christina, Nathan Boenjamin, Richel T Hidalgo, Consulta Gian Carlo, Teresa Cua, Gayatri Devi Mishra, Sanjay Gautam, Giovanni Lombardo, Sofia Lombardo

    FLOOD – Xiao Jing, Pacheun Maleipan, Zheng Mengtian, Sean Lee, Shawn Kiyotaka Fukuzaki, Shin Hye Jung, Kim Yeon Jung, Rattanan Channoi, Wazini Masmintrachaiyanara

    Previous Screenings


    International Film Festival Rotterdam (European Premiere)

    Centre Pompidou Cinématheque, Paris

    Barcelona Asian Film Festival

    National University of Singapore Arts Festival


    Hong Kong International Film Festival (In Competition: Asian Digital Competition)

    Cinema Digital Seoul, Korea (In Competition: International Competition)

    World Film Festival Bangkok, Thailand

    Cinemanila International Film Festival, Philippines

    Osian’s Cinefan, New Delhi, India

    Q! Film Festival Jakarta, Indonesia

    Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius, Lithuania

    South Australia Contemporary Art Centre, Australia

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