100 SECONDS ON THE RED SOFA: Trespass
Trespass: Stories from Singapore’s Thieves Market is what it says on the tin – a documentary that captures the well-known Sungei Road Thieves Market in its final heydays, complete with charismatic sellers and their antique trinkets.
Trespass clinched Best Documentary and Best Sound Design at the 2019 National Youth Film Awards under the Open Youth Category.
The one-man team behind OKJ Works, OKJ terms himself a “documentary storyteller” who sought to provide another perspective of the Thieves Market through the film medium. With Trespass being the fifth documentary he has worked on, OKJ’s efforts as a director, producer, and editor, have received recognition at the 2019 National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) when Trespass was awarded Best Documentary.
His venture into Trespass and its documentation of the Thieves Market came about as a personal journey to push his limits and assert himself as a documentary storyteller. And the Sungei Road Thieves Market arose timely as his subject matter for a compelling tale.
Having worked with OKJ in previous projects, Cheng Lijie is the freelance sound designer who came on board during the post-production process. Accredited as the “comedic genius” behind the playful music of Trespass and its win for Best Sound Design at NYFA 2019, Lijie too found a personal attachment and history associated with the Thieves Market which compelled him to join the project.
Since the documentary deals with an aspect of Singapore heritage that can only now be regarded as ‘history’, OKJ hopes for Trespass to leave a legacy for the younger generation, in the National Archives alongside another documentary that had similarly seen the tearing down of the same market in 1982. Sharing about the motivations behind the title, OKJ said, “By putting ‘trespass’ as the name of the film, it is a one-word invitation for future generations to come back into the space.”
Reflecting on their favourite stories that they have encountered while working on Trespass, OKJ talked about meeting with a man who had brought his son along to the Thieves Market. In that same year, the man had seen his residential area Rochor Centre close down, his secondary school merged with another, and now, the Thieves Market was disappearing too. “In one year, his entire childhood was wiped off the Singapore map,” OKJ said. “It was that particular sharing that compelled me to put the stories of patrons inside Trespass.”
OKJ expressed a personal intriguement by stories with limited access, whether by time or by authority, which he saw as a unique aspect that the documentary genre can bring to the audience. For Lijie, the projects he has worked on have all shown a common interest in reflecting humanity in a specific situation or context, and especially important to him is working with people who are deeply passionate about the stories they tell.
Ultimately, OKJ hopes for Trespass to be a testament to anyone interested in attempting this medium and genre. With both OKJ and Lijie not having technical film background, Lijie equally wishes to show an example that anyone with a story to tell should not be limited by technical qualifications.
Keep an eye out for Trespass that’s in the talks for local distribution. Meanwhile, catch OKJ and Lijie’s collaboration on a short documentary, Galactic Paint, available on OKJ Works.
About 100 Seconds On The Red Sofa
100 Seconds On The Red Sofa shines the spotlight on movers and shakers in the Singapore film and media scene, with each episode featuring people that are making waves and contributing to the industry’s growth and enrichment.
The Red Sofa has come a long way and has a rich history, dating all the way back to Sinema Old School in 2007. It’s seen a generation of young local filmmakers come into their own; now we’re dusting it off for another round.