Jack Neo takes Gilbert Chan under his wing
Singaporean director Jack Neo has hand-picked upcoming filmmaker Gilbert Chan to nurture in a Singapore-Malaysian production entitled Republic of Happiness. The film is a joint collaboration between Neo Studios and Malaysia’s Media Prima, and has a budget of RM2 million (S$841k).
The film is slated to be released during the Chinese New Year festive season in 2009, with Chan directing the romantic comedy while Neo functions as an executive producer, alongside Brando Lee from Malaysia-based MM Studio. Neo announced his decision to invest in Chan’s new project as he was impressed by the latter’s directorial debut, S11.
“He was one of three directors under Singapore’s Media Development Authority’s directors’ plan (which supports new filmmakers with script development grants and expert guidance from industry professionals). I could see his potential as a commercial film director,” said Neo. “That’s why we took one and a half years to work out the script. He wrote it English and we translated it into Chinese and added to it where we saw fit. So, the jokes and entertainment value will all be there.”
Describing the film as a chronicle of the relationships between couples of three generations, Chan explains, “It’s essentially a comedy about finding love, whether it’s lost love or first love. It’s sort of alternative views towards love. One is a couple in their forties who’ve been married for many years, another is a couple in their thirties, and then there are the teenagers on the verge of discovering love.”
The cast for the film will include both actors and actresses from Malaysia and Singapore, starring Henry Thia (Money No Enough 1&2), Yeo Yan Yan (881), prominent malaysian media personalities like Jack Lim, Cheryl Lee, and May Jun Tan.
The cast and the crew will be filming in the Klang Valley throughout the month and will most likely wrap up the shoot by early November.