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Tony Kern: “Don’t just depend on the distributors.”

3 November 2010

Tony Kern: “Don’t just depend on the distributors.”

“Was the shadows real? Did you encounter any ghosts at Haunted Changi?” These were the question posed to the casts of Haunted Changi.

Audiences were treated to an enhanced digital version of Haunted Changi at Sinema along with a Question and Answer (Q&A) session with the casts on 30 October.

“90% of what we have shot is real,” said Tony Kern, director of Haunted Changi. The faux-cumentary follows a group of local filmmakers exploring the famously haunted Old Changi Hospital.

The group of filmmakers includes Andrew Lau (director), Sheena Chung (producer/host), Audi Khalis (cameraman) and Farid Azlam (soundman). Prior to its screening at major cinemas, there was a series of viral marketing which blurs reality and myth of the filming. It consists of the casts’ Facebook documenting an account of their filmmaking journey and a blog which tracks their production.

“Someone killed (flagged) Sheena’s Facebook, and now it’s gone,” said Chung, whose real name is Sheena Chan. Andrew Lau, whose real name is Andrew Lua, added that due to his schedule, his Facebook page was in fact maintained by Kern. “If you have been messaging Andrew Lau, actually that was Tony replying you.”

“It used to be that an independent film need to go to film festivals (because) you don’t have money for marketing. Now you could put it on Facebook for free; You just have to drive it,” said Kern.

He explained that the purpose of doing Haunted Changi was to test the Singapore filmmaking scene for his upcoming film Third Eye Opening. “Don’t depend on distributors, because they are not going to do anything for you. They are not going to make it popular, at least not here (Singapore).”

“The cinemas were opened. They obviously believed enough to put it (Haunted Changi movie) out there. It’s the distributors – the ones dealing with the cinemas and the liaison between the filmaker and cinema.”

Farid Assalam, who acted as Farid Azlam, added “He (Kern) said that you guys just have to think more about it. It’s something more interactive – It’s a new concept and genre.” He emphasised that this movie is a process that has bonded the local community on a common topic.

Kern shared that every distributor he approached turned him down because they believed that Singaporeans will not watch an English speaking movie made in Singapore.

“They (distributors) still have doubts: You guys have 50,000 fans, but are they going to watch it?”

“I might just be shooting myself in the foot, and it’s not just me, it’s also the rest of the local filmmakers. I could be doing real damage here. Is it going to help the industry, or is it going to hurt it? Thankfully, numbers proved that twice the number of fans actually went to watch the movie,” he said.

As part of Sinema’s 3rd anniversary celebration in November and December, now you can catch Haunted Changi (Enhanced Digital Footage) for as low as $2! While stock lasts, so hurry now to book your tickets!

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