Anthony Chen Singapore Filmmakers

Shaping Local Cinema’s Future

One of them just won Singapore’s first Cannes Festival award, another took home an award at the recent Shanghai International Film Festival, and a third is making waves with his latest film, That Girl In Pinafore, which is out in theatres right now.

Clearly, these local filmmakers are the new wave of directors set to shape the future of local cinema. Who are they, and what should the direction of local cinema be? BT Lifestyle finds out what they think:

Anthony Chen Singapore Filmmakers

Anthony Chen, Ilo Ilo (Camera d’Or prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival 2013):

“I’d like to think that a new chapter has started in Singapore. There has been a lot of attention on our country ever since we won the award. In every interview with foreign press, I’m asked: ‘What else is there in Singapore, what is Singapore cinema like, what is it about?’ I think there’re a lot of curious people, such as audiences and critics around the world with their eye on Singapore, so the way I see it, the next three to five years will be very exciting, as there will be a lot of fresh new, talented voices emerging.”

“But one of our key problems is that we’ve been trying too hard, and we haven’t actually developed organically. We try to imitate what other countries have done, like oh, Koreans have done this genre so let’s try it, or let’s do an action film like what they’re doing in Hong Kong, but every time we try, we fail, because what you have is just a bad counterfeit copy.”

Read Anthony Chen’s profile on the Business Times website.

Wong Chen Hsi Singapore filmmakers

Wong Chen-Hsi, Innocents (Won Best Director at the Shanghai International Film Festival 2013):

“Making a film is also about knowing when you’re ready to do it. In the States, most directors make their first films only when they’re in their 30s, so it’s interesting to see there are so many young directors in Singapore making their first feature so young. It’s really about finding the right time – for some people it’s appropriate when they’re younger, and some when they’re older.”

“It goes back to the intention of making the film. A lot of times it’s just about getting to the finish line to sell tickets and I caution against that. People can smell it and they can see it. We don’t spend enough time working on content development, or put enough money or resources into the development. We are always so quick to rush into things.”

Read Wong Chen-Hsi’s profile on the Business Times website.

Chai Yee Wei Singapore filmmakers

Chai Yee Wei, That Girl In Pinafore, Blood Ties, Twisted:

“I think we are still searching for what a Singapore film is. Korean, Japanese, Hong Kong and, now, even Taiwanese films have their distinctive look. But for us, it’s difficult to pinpoint what a Singapore film is… We’re still evolving to find out how our films can be accepted on an international level and identifiable as a Singapore film.”

Read Chai Yee Wei’s profile on the Business Times website.

[These are excerpts from an article first published in the Business Times on August 2, 2013. Read the full story here.]

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