Oak3 Films makes history at Busan Asian Short Film Festival
A Singapore film has made it into the limelight again, this time, in the Busan Asian Short Film Festival held in Korea. Oak3 Films’ short documentary, The Trouble With Waiting, clinched the Dong-Back Grand Award for Best Asian Short Film for 2008. This is also the first time a film in the Documentary and Extreme Short category has won that award in its 28-year history.
The judges decision was unanimous that The Trouble With Waiting was deserving of the prize. The film is based on the 1975 Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia which killed two million people. It unfolds the story of a Cambodian man who, after waiting for 30 years for a closure, makes a long journey across the country in search of his father’s killer and answers to his sufferings.
“As I find out more about what happened in this country, I hope audiences may get to know a bit more about Cambodia beyond that fact that it’s the home of the famous Angkor Wat. I was also very drawn to the story of a very conflicted man, Soy – who was looking for his father’s killer, but at the same time, that killer also saved his life,” director Jason Lai said.
Jason Lai accepted the award at the Kyung Sung University Concert Hall on May 25, 2008. The documentary is co-production between Oak3 Films, Asia Witness Production and Fact+Film Gmbh (Germany) with the participation of the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). It was also supported by the Singapore Film Commission.
Producer of The Trouble with Waiting, Eunice Lau, first came to know the story of Cambodia’s tragic past when she interviewed the senior Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, also known as ‘Brother Number 2’, in 2003.
“I could feel this immense weight of the history pulling the country back as it struggles to catch up with the rest of world. But as long as they do not find answers to why and what happened, they cannot move on,” said Eunice, who is also Executive Producer of Asia Witness Production. She added that the documentary is made for Cambodia and by “focusing on their religion Buddhism” they hope “it will give them a perspective that will help in the healing process”.
Oak3 Films was founded in 1996 in Singapore by Suat Yen Lim, Zaihirat Banu and Jason Lai. They have an established reputation for high quality work in the region. They have produced documentaries such as The Gods Must Be Hungry which broke new ground in 2003 when it was rated the programme with the highest viewership in 10 years for Discovery Asia, as well as, Fun Taiwan, a 13-episode Travel and Adventure programme.
Other co-productions that Oak3 Films were involved with are The Missing Star which was spearheaded by award winning Italian director Gianni Amelio and Girl in the Park starring Sigourney Weaver and Kate Bosworth.