Take a Bow, Moving Images2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
In February this year, the film community awakened to the news that The Substation’s Moving Images programme would have its Swan song at February’s First Takes. Reacting with a mix of desperation, shock, nostalgia and curiosity, active members of the independent film circle turned up at the final First Takes to soak in the final moments of Moving Images and to find out why this was happening. For many people, Moving Images or even The Substation, as a space, was the starting point of their filmmaking careers and a dozen important friendships.
In the early 2000s, The Substation started to earn its reputation as a haven for emerging works. If they were snubbed by the established film festivals or commercial screening platforms, many independent filmmakers knew that their works may stand a chance with Moving Images. Never mind the creaky seats or the seeping through of sound from the bar “˜Timbre’. The film community that slowly emerged from this regular affair at The Substation treated it like home. It can almost be said that many names in the Singapore film community’s hall of fame had their roots, or for some, their first films screened at The Substation.
However, while many hold Moving Images in a special place in their hearts, attendance numbers did not reflect the same affection. One look around today reveals a more varied film landscape. Filmmakers today can hope for sharing they works between the two extremes of the glitzy Marina Bay Sands Theatre and the grungy underground Substation Guiness Theatre. Inevitably, the lure of huddling together at The Substation, every first Monday of the month (for First Takes) or other screenings has been diluted.
Artist-curator Alan Oei took over The Substation as the Artistic director in 2015 and brought to the Substation some new impetus for change. To say the least, it has its eyes on a slightly different audience, a wider, less ‘grungy’ audience. In his own words, Alan relates that beyond being a place artists care about, he hopes it can be a place the general public cares about as well, and this would guide his efforts to bring change to The Substation. Moving Images was unfortunately on the ‘weeding’ list and remains so even after the Townhall discussion between Alan and arts practitioners, at The Substation on 31 March 2016.
Image Credit: SINdie