Traditions, Parents and Secret Societies
Sinema Showoff! is a collection of short films based on different themes that happen at the end of every month. The theme for May was The Fortune Cookie Collection, where a selection of 5 short films that reflect the history, character, hopes and distinct identity of the Chinese community in Singapore. It is hosted by Sinema Old School and curated by Singapore Polytechnic.
All the directors were present for a Q&A session that was moderated by TV director and filmmaker Abbas Akbar, and was pleasantly greeted by a theatre packed with enthusiastic audiences.
What was even better was that the theatre of 145 people was an even mix of people from different races and cultures. This group of filipinos even climbed the ‘stairs of doom’ up to Sinema Old School to catch The Fortune Cookie Collection.
The 5 films shown were:
Tenth of May
Ruyi Wong | English & Chinese Dialect (Cantonese) | 14mins | PG
Meng Juan, a divorced mother imposes a traditional Chinese wedding to the dismay of her daughter who wishes for a modern ceremony. Their conflict on the wedding day results in the revelation of a dark secret and the intense situation is complicated by the arrival of the father of the bride.
Official Selection, Singapore Short Film Awards 2011
Director’s Bio – Ruyi Wong
Ruyi Wong graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) in Digital Filmmaking.
Ruyi is currently an artist in residence (new media) at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with the support of Singapore Nature Society.
David Lee | Mandarin | 14mins | PG
A young man has to care for his father who has lost a leg in an accident. Having to give up his social life the young man vents his anger on his father.
However, through a series of unnatural circumstances, the son is put into his father’s shoes and goes through his father’s amputation, the trauma and, finally, the depression, where he experiences firsthand the feeling of being trapped in a room, unable to get out no matter what.
Awards & Festivals
Nominee, Asian Short Film Competition – Pusan International Film Festival 2010, South Korea Official Selection – International Family Film Festival 2011, USA Official Selection – Grenoble International Short Film Festival 2011, France
Director’s Bio – David Lee
David Lee holds a Diploma in Visual Communication from NAFA and recently graduated with a BFA in Digital Filmmaking from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Art, Design & Media.
David is currently working as Research Assistant (Media) at Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University doing documentries and video productions.
Kat Goh | Mandarin | 12 mins | PG
A traditional Chinese household is sending their only child to study overseas for the first time. The mother is doting, but annonyingly naggy towards the daughter and the “PC addicted” husband to get all things right before going to the airport.
Amongst the chaos, the lady’s father, an avid swimming fan, brings with him a sense of calmness that forms the climax of the story.
Awards & Festivals
Best Film, Singapore International Film Festival 2009 Best Director, Singapore International Film Festival 2009 Special Mention – Jury Award, Vladivostok International Film Festival “Pacific Meridian” Official Selection, The Worldwide Short Film Festival 2010, USA Official Selection, Toronto Singapore Film Festival 2010, Canada
Director’s Bio – Kat Goh
Kat Goh is a full-time Producer & Director with Boku Films, working on both local and regional productions.
She holds a Electrical and Electronic degree from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). And most recently she was a member of the Pre-Selection Committee for Singapore Short Film Awards 2011.
The Reunion Dinner
(A short excerpt from The Reunion Dinner)
Anthony Chen | Mandarin | 16 mins | G
The evolution of the traditional Reunion Dinner (held on the eve of Chinese New Year where family members come together) is seen through the perspective of a closely-knit family against the backdrop of Singapore’s progress from 60s to the present.
Commissioned Specially for River Hongbao 2011.
Director’s Bio – Anthony Chen
Anthony Chen is a receipient of the highly acclaimed National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award (2009).
His sophomore short, AH MA (GRANDMA), was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Short Film at the 60th Cannes Film Festival (2007), and secured a Special Mention, the first time a Singaporean was awarded in Cannes. HAZE, his third short film, was nominated for the Golden Bear for Short Film at Berlin (2008). In between all his short films have travelled to numerous films festivals.
Anthony recently completed his Masters at National Film & Television School, London with a scholarship from Media Development Authority (MDA). He also holds a Diploma in Film & Media Studies from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Anthony is married and hopes to pursue a career in the UK while developing projects in Asia.
Kelvin Sng | Mandarin | 32 mins | M18
The year is 1974. The police are focused on the extermination of secret societies.
Impressed by ethics and philosophy of the gang, Hao Nan secretly hopes to join it in order to use its influence to avenge his father’s death. However, Hei Ge is reluctant to accept Hao Nan as yet, at least not until he can first prove himself worthy of the gang.
As Hao Nan gets closer to Red Luck Gang, the young man soon discovers that beneath the façade lies brutal violence and betrayal that are contrary to the glorious and dignified image of THE GANG.
Director’s Bio – Kelvin Sng
Kelvin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He trained as a teacher with the National Institute of Education (NIE) and taught for three (3) years. After leaving the teaching profession he went on to do an Advanced Diploma in Film Production (Directing) from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a scholarship from Media Development Authority (MDA).
Besides filmmaking, Kelvin also has keen interest in writing poetry. His works are featured in several poetry websites and he has collaborated with Little Bali, Gone Fishing Café and The Substation to organize poetry readings which invited both published and unpublished writers to read their works together.
Kelvin is married with two young boys, aged five and two.
Traditions, parents, and secret societies. These were not only the themes that the films were based on, but each director has also been inspired by them in their own lives.
“It is up to you to interpret what you see, I made this film as an expression of what I am experiencing in my own life” explained David Lee, director of Living It.
“I wanted to express the father-son relationship in the film. The father-son relationship is often very secret, not like the mother-son relationship where expressing love to each other like hugs, are very normal.” Anthony Chen described his movie The Reunion Dinner.
The films have truly expressed different parts of the Chinese culture and very real cultural issues faced everyday.