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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Filmmakers indeed!

Chanel wanted to go to this place yesterday. There was some final screening of the 4th Asian Film Symposium. So, I happily went. And what a laugh riot it was.

Seems these guys (who are great by the way) called for 'emerging' filmmakers from Malaysia to come down and make films on Singapore-Malaysia. Being dimly aware of the fact that the region shares enormous common history, I went prepared for some insights into the Singaporean-Malaysian minds, the commonalities, the cultural similarities etc.

Even the blurb on the official website sounded promising enough:

"The idea for this project first came about during one of those late night bus trips to Malaysia. It grew from the desire to understand a country and neighbour that is so close and familiar to us, but we seemingly know so little about. How are our dreams and desires different? What are the things that we notice about the other but we can never see ourselves?

The premise of this project is simple - three Singaporean filmmakers travel to Malaysia and three Malaysian filmmakers come to Singapore, each of them will make a short film about the other country. There are no restrictions on the genre, theme or subject of the film. The only constraint is that the each film should be kept to 5 minutes.

All the filmmakers worked independently with a small crew, and often just by themselves with no elaborate set-ups or bulky equipment. Each film was conceived, shot and edited within a period of around three to four weeks.

So here are the final results of this project and experiment - six short films by six talented young filmmakers from Singapore and Malaysia. Each of these films is a unique and personal journey in crossing boundaries and an exploration about seeing each other through another's eyes. "

Interesting right? What we got however was infantile attempts at storytelling, by pseudos pretending to be filmmakers. That is unfair. Not all of them were that bad. Aaron Chung's 'Shoot the Malaysian' for instance made the audience laugh at least. In some sort of a roundabout, beating-around-the-bush way, one could call it a satire. Even 'Goodbye Firefly' by Victric Thng (don't ask me how one pronounces that!) had some insightful moments.

But I never found anything good about all the other works. Some were just too esoteric "Do I ever linger there" by SooKoon Ang and others plain left-hanging "Job Interview" by Khoo Eng Yow. Towards the end, Chanel and I were so pissed off, that we exited halfway through the meet-the-filmmakers session.

All the while I kept thinking that pamulla anna should have been here. He would have cribbed and cribbed and cribbed and finally, exhausted, would have taken his bullet, gotten me to sit behing with camera and tripod, and driven all the way to KL just to prove a point.

It would have been fun for sure. I must do something about getting myself a camera!


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