Who's Shooting What? 2011: Melinda Tan

Key crew: Melinda Tan & Ho Jia Jian (Directors/Producers)
Title: Paper Boxes

Description: What happens when memories are packed up in boxes? A short film about friendship, memories and growing up. Starring Foo Fang Rong, Victoria Chen and Kelly Lim.

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Tony Kern

Here's what Tony Kern(Director of HAUNTED CHANGI) has in mind for 2011
Director: Tony Kern
Name of project: Third Eye Open

A collection of horrific tales unfold when a detective opens his third eye in order to solve a case involving the occult in Singapore.

Each tale stands on it's own and has it's own twist ending, but they will also be connected to the main "wrap around" story. When I'm further along, I can reveal a description of each of the 6 stories in the movie. The stories are unique to Singapore culture, but the movie would have international appeal. Some strong influences on the stories and script were the 1960's Japanese horror movie KWAIDAN, and especially Rod Serling's TWILIGHT ZONE & NIGHT GALLERY series, along with many old horror stories and comics from the past in general. I hope to make the film very stylized, but it will NOT be in line with the current crop of horror/comedy that is very popular here -- just stylized horror.

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Chai Yee Wei

Director:Chai Yee Wei
Name Of Project:
Twisted (撞鬼)

This is the second full feature by Chai after his well received Blood Ties, and production for the Mandarin movie will wrap in mid-December.

The movie revolves around a soft-drugs dealer who banged up a young girl, a pair of con men who wants to turn over a new leaf, and 4 cabin crews whose lives were turned upside down over a fateful night of drugs and booze. This is a story of individuals whose fates intertwine and paths clash due to a series of twisted events. A funny and twisted tale of fate and coincidence is shaped based on the cause and effect of their actions.

Who's Shooting What? 2011 : Sanif Olek

Director: Sanif Olek

Project: Voluptas (Latin for "pleasure" or "satisfaction"), indie feature film.

Voluptas is part of my new LOST film trilogy. Currently in-production.

"What you don't need, you don't want them"

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Ting Szu Kiong

Few days ago, I had a chit chat with Sanif Olek. He told me how he went on shooting with his own pocket money. After talking to him, an idea came to me. That is to shoot a low budget documentary of how some filmmakers went on shooting without financial support from organizations be it SFC or what. It's not so much of criticizing any organizations. Of course, if the documentary can give ideas to organizations or government to better their systems after watching it, that would be great. It would be more about these filmmaker's perseverance like what Sanif Olek has demonstrated. Struggling filmmakers are encouraged to come to me. I like to interview them.

Here's my next work...

1) Title: Let's Shoot It Anyway

2) Description: A documentary about the perseverance of struggling filmmakers

(I don't know what other descriptions to add as I don't know how it will turn out. It's a documentary. But if you feel appropriate, you can help add in about how the idea came about.)

3) Tagline: Making films costs money. But they do it without money.

For More Information about Ting Szu Kiong... http://www.alivenotdead.com/szukiong

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Kelvin Sng

Filmmaker Kelvin Sng shares with us what he have in mind for his work in the making in 2011!

Name of project: "Fairytales 童话"

Brief description of project:

For centuries, fairytales have been written and told to children to help them gain an innocent and fantasized understanding of the world they live in, while shielding them from the cruelty and harm of the real world.

In this age of technology, however, kids no longer need to search very hard to learn what the world is about. Information is poured to them via electronic devices that permeate every aspect of their lives, in school, at home, even in the streets. The veil that used to hide the world behind a shade of mystery is gone, and fairytales are no longer called upon to induct the kids to their world.

Inspired by the recent teenage gang-related slashing incidents, "Fairytales" is a film that aims to present what the kids of today are facing, in a manner that is as real as it can get, through the kids' own spontaneous view and voice.

When parents are out at work, busily pursuing what their career and materialistic desire demand of them, what exactly are our kids seeing, learning and doing? Are they doing what we think they are doing? Do we really know? Do we really care?

Have parents created a fairytale for themselves believing that their kids are inside?

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Jacen Tan

Director:Jacen Tan
Project: KWA GIU (Watch Football)
Short film, documentary

After 4 years, Kwa Giu will finally be released! Kwa Giu is a tribute to Singapore’s National Stadium, filmed during its last ever full-house match on 31 Jan 2007. Screening details To be available at www.hosaywood.com

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTBetegFycs
For More information about JACEN TAN :http://hosaywood.com/

Kalye Kolektib: Retelling Brown Homilies


The recent move of the President to make December 30 a working day for the first time in history did not only draw criticism from the general Filipino working class but also from a multitude of faithful who not only salute the martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal but revere him more than just our national hero in his a messianic destiny in Mt. Banahaw.

When Pope John Paul II first came to Manila in 1981, he even declared in one of his speeches that “we should all rejoice that the Philippines is being compared as the new Jerusalem where the new world peace of the world would emanate. It is also here where the mystical kingdom of God would eventually arise.”

Such is the mysticism of Mt. Banahaw and ongoing at the Nineveh Artspace in Sta. Cruz, Laguna is Jeru-Jerusalem, the second group exhibit by the Las Pinas-based art group Kalye Kolektib, appropriately tackling this theme. Nineveh could have been a more perfect venue considering the holy mountain was nearby.
I am Rex-al by Robert Besana

Tierra Santa or Vulcan de Agua

Emanating from the Kalye’s regular discussions, the show’s title Jeru meaning new, the exhibition is more than a Mt. Banahaw 101 as it alluded to what many prophesized that our country, with Mt. Banahaw at its center, as the new Jerusalem. Now a 2,188-meter national park, it will be the sacred place where the final judgment of man will come after the so-called Armageddon eventually happens.

Already an extinct volcano whose last eruption was in 1721, many devotees consider Mt Banahaw more than a storehouse of psychic energy but home to at least 17 religious churches that even has Christian names such as Ciudad Mystica de Dios and even celebrate an elaborate Catholic mass and own up a version of our national anthem as a prayer. But it is the mountain’s more than a hundred stations that center on a pilgrimage from the base of the mountain to the crater of the peak. Each pwesto may be any natural rock formation: boulders, waterfalls, pools of water, caves. It is believed that after death, the soul journeys up the mountain following the pilgrimage path. All pwestos are Biblical allusions, Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Santo Kalbaryo, Kweba ng Dyos Ama, and Balon ni Jakob.

It is Kalye’s view that our natives were not hard to convert to this folk Catholicism as they were already parallelisms in our early religion. “When the colonizers came, in fact, the Santo Nino that was shown by Magellan during the first mass in Limasawa may have similar features to that of the likha that was already being worshipped and prayed for by the natives. Understanding the ways of the ancestors will help our self definition as a people,” Kalye member Besana points out.

Early Catholic priests and nuns warned that going to Mt. Banahaw does not have the blessing of the Catholic Church. Even to this day, Filipinos are prohibited to visit faith healers because they said to be of the devil. Despite this word of caution, Filipino folk followed their faith than what was instructed in the pulpit.

In the book Soul Book, by Fernando Zialcita and Gilda Cordero Fernando, mentions “even non-Christians, priding themselves on their scientific and empirical backgrounds, may have criticized colonialism for destroying our indigenous belief systems, yet they look down on the way of the folk/ordinary, “not-so-educated” Filipinos as superstitious.” Devotees in Mt. Banahaw believed “it better to make the pilgrimage now, as a rehearsal than after death when the soul might lose its way. Significantly enough, the crater is the final destination. For our ancestors, craters and caves are entrances to the spiritual underworld.”

Suplinahan by Alfredo Esquillo Jr.

Brushstrokes of Faith

In Suplinahan, Alfred Esquillo essays that that one primarily communes with Mt. Banahaw to be cleansed by its waters. Also called Vulcan de Agua, Mt. Banahaw boasts of its many springs and waterfalls, the highest of which is in a 52-meter waterfall at the crater itself. For Esquillo, the splash of water both whips as it purify you. As one repents for his past sins, the body is relieved from the water’s current making you at peace with God. An allusion of a dove emanating from the splash doubles from this image to a higher meaning of equanimity. Notice how Esquillo’s work blends to that of Kalye’s overall aesthetic scheme of works.

The purifying dove again reappears in Espirtu Parakleto by Dennis Atienza. Story goes that when Jesus died, most of His apostles gathered for the last time. Looking at each other, they were as confused as to the redemption of their faith as well as the future of their direction as a group. Jesus took this opportunity to validate His claim as Lord to them that He sent the Holy Spirit in a form of a dove to cheer them up and unified them. For Atienza, this work was also his other way to show that our God is not boastful, not far, nor huge. He assumes a form that we all could identify with.

Espiritu Parakleto by Dennis Atienza

Contrary to what and how a person predominantly believes in, Talatandaan by Kirby Roxas literally outlines the human brain amidst the looming talisman eyes. As what one sees with his eyes you immediately is drawn liken to a computer that programs it for you for consumption and safekeeping. We may not be conscious but Roxas attests in this sort-of “creatively instructed manual” that any belief passes through one’s mind through our eyes more so if it is a big idea as religion. The credence is even Biblical -- as it is said believe and you will see. In Filipino folk symbolism, God is represented by an eye, inside the trinity shape of a triangle with one absolute message -- all things emanate as a rational, omnipresent thing.

For Archie Ruga, one should at first become vulnerable in emptying yourself as one enters the pwestos or altars in Mt. Banahaw. In his emphatic work Presentasyon shows his profile carved as the opening of a cave. Being the youngest in the group this work is a self portrait. Although already proven himself as a fine arts graduate, Ruga should be the most blessed having learned the most in the presence of established visual artists in Kalye as his mentors. This is the altar of his art, as it could be his own pwesto. He is wont to reap the most in this exercise as he has taken everything in stride. Ruga shows promise in his adaptive visual style.

Santong Boses (above) and Santong Byahe (last photo) by Kalye Kolektib

In his essay “Retablo of Credences” cultural anthropologist, Dr. Prospero Covar testifies, “millenarianism is a basic feature of Christianity. This has everything to do with Second Coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Man’s sinfulness delays His return. Thus another influence of our indigenous faith shows the choice of cultic figures such as our revolutionary heroes like Rizal having been deified and being worshipped; in the same manner as warriors eventually became gods in Greek mythology.”

Robert Besana’s I am Rex-al is a case in point as he focuses on this the central theme in Mt. Banahaw in upholding Rizal as the Christ, as some faithful even compare his life to Jesus, as our national hero as the new messiah. The name Jose Rizal literally means Jove Rex Al, God the King of All. For Besana, all religion, as in all culture, everything is assumed; all have their own place under the sun. Every people have the value acquired or validate their expression and for the 60 cults at the base of Mt. Banahaw, Rizal is their katuparan, or redemption of their fate.

Where the Streets Have No Name

Although this may only be their second formal exposure but for Kalye Kolektib members Alfredo Esquillo Jr, Robert Besana, Dennis Atienza, Alvin Cristobal, Kirby Roxas and Archie Ruga, the creative energy is just a continuation of their endless discussions in their constant pursuit in peeling off the many layers of our post colonial being. Especially for Esquillo, Besana, Atienza and Cristobal who have been close friends in their early teens in Las Pinas. It was primarily the influence of Esquillo that guided them in this endless search (even passion) in finding what comprises our pre-Christian and pre-Islamic composition that has been buried amidst this age of fast-paced globalization of our already smaller digitally interconnected world. The three all look up to “Esqui” as he was already winning art contests after another using the themes Kalye is well-versed with at present. Unlike other art groups that concerns themselves with personal stuff like love and the plurality of found objects, Kalye focuses itself with identity, faith, destiny, inquiry to myth-making.

“More than an art group, I see Kalye as a reunion. Having started out as friends” Esquillo contextualizes. He envisions “eventually we see the group as being community-based. Kalye because we all have diverse experiences in the streets however one direction or nagsasanga-sanga sa ibang endeavors.”

More than as a graphic device, Kalye incorporates contemporary prayers as texts. Adapting and even translating what were the belief forms used by the Spanish friars to subjugate our three hundred year-old blind conversion to religion. Kalye attempts to reclaim our main folk territories by turning around this influence of these religions to our own terms and even spiritual redemption. Kalye’s thesis is that our folk have retained much of our ancestor way of life. Their themes revolve around identity and spirituality, the response is visual which the group is strong.

Another powerful and unique artistic focus of Kalye is the shapes of their frames. For this show they have incorporated the glorieta where the heaven assumes the dome-like curve as the earth is represented by the solid base below. Integrating this into their artistic cause is Kalye’s use of the estampitas that viewers can bring home with them. Instead of the usual exhibit catalogues, they freely distribute these “art pieces” for everyone to take home. This eliminates the divide between the artist-audience as viewers are given estampitas to own . Kalye is testimony that as we do not have a word for art because our indigenous expressions are reflective and every thing we do is interconnected and there is no distinction between art and life, the way folks do.

Sta. Lucia by Alvin Cristobal

"Kaya nga Kalye to differentiate from being lofty and high brow. Mas malapit kami sa tao,” adds Roxas who may not be from neighborhood but was invited to join in.

Compared to other art groups everything is collaborative, however theirs is more inward, what they call kalooban, as oppose to outwards which is common to young contemporary artists these days. On their own they have already carved a niche in the current art scene having won major art competitions most specially Esquillo who is more like a big brother to the group. He opens his studio (informally called Esquinita) and serves as their home base. Within the group, all is democratic and open to criticism and to the functions of new media of expression. Their process is simple but as Cristobal mentions, they are all excited because you wouldn’t know what will come out until all pieces come together.

Esquillo puts it best when he says that they may use the formal spaces in a gallery but they see themselves more public in perspective as individually they have their own artistic preferences but collectively they want viewers to be visually aware that this is our culture and beliefs and it is something we can learn from or even lived for.

For Kalye Kolektib, what is Pilipino is his personhood or his pagkatao. As Mt. Banahaw keeps away those who are not yet ready for its secrets, unless you know who you are or what your faith has become of you. Through their art, Kalye is paving the road to those who want to see the light.

Jeru-Jerusalem is part of Nineveh Art Space 7th anniversary exhibition.

Who's Shooting What? 2011 : Ray Pang

Director: Ray Pang
Project: BREAK, a short film

Howard (William Emmons) is a successful lawyer who breaks away from reality after discovery of his wife’s affair. He struggles to move on and gets himself into sex, drugs and violence. As the story unfolds, it is clear that there is only one way out for him.


BREAK - Official Teaser from Ray Pang on Vimeo.

For more information: http://raypang.blogspot.com/

China Titanium, the company formerly known as Jade Tech

Juliet once exclaimed--dramatically, you know how it is with such a character--: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Jade Technologies Holdings apparently disagree. Titanium for sure does not smell as sweet as 'Jade', I guess. The company is proposing to change its name to China Titanium. It's last traded at 1.5 cents. Titanium has never been so appealingly...cheap.

Not vested. Ever.

Catalist-listed Jade Technologies Holdings has proposed changing its name to China Titanium.

In a stock exchange filing, the firm's board of directors said the name change is "to reflect the new focus on the company's new business activities."

The former chip maker has turned to distributing titanium dioxide in China and has divested its loss-making businesses, including a coalmine in Indonesia last year.

Last November, it reported its first full-year profit of RMB12.4 million for 2010 after nine years of losses.

The proposed name change has received approval from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the proposed name has been reserved by the company until February 18 next year, the company said.

The proposal will be subject to shareholder approval via a special resolution at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be convened.

The company said it will release further information on the proposal and the notice to the EGM in due course.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Jade Tech proposes name change".

Aaron Kok Chun Cheong: a trainee teacher, a blogger, and a sex offender

A 23-year-old Aaron Kok Chun Cheong is all the above. He had sex with two girls aged 15 & 12 (according to Straits Times) or 13 (according to Channel News Asia). No, it's not a threesome, mind you. The wrong doings were done in separate occasions.

Oh yes, he is a blogger too. His blog http://mesmerising-sorrows.blogspot.com/ (titled ominously, "Lost & Yet to be Found") is now restricted, but the cache page is still available here, thanks to Google.

So what if he's a blogger? I'm sure some of us are asking that. It's an irrelevant fact, one will rightly point out. Agreed. My point is "Trust no one, even if he or she owns a supposedly innocent blog". Take Aaron's blog as an example. One of his 'wishes' mentioned in his blog is cutely innocent: "To be friends with someone once more". Right. Whoever could have guessed?!

And what if he is a trainee teacher? It's not the first case "a member of the teaching profession has been convicted of sexual offences, after all". (Channel News Asia is kinda merciless in that statement. Heh. But I concur.)

The point is we hardly can't tell who is good or bad based on one's profession. Screw streotyping! Judge a book by its cover & you may end up burn the book after reading. Hmm...doesn't really make sense, but I just happen to remember this movie, "Burn After Reading". Never mind me.

A MAN who had sex with two underage girls a few years ago was sentenced to 15 months' jail on Tuesday.

But Aaron Kok Chun Cheong, 23, will only start his sentence on Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011, as he wanted to spend the New Year with his family.

Kok, now a trainee at National Institute of Education (NIE), was in national service at the time of the offences in 2007 and 2008.

The court heard that he got to know the two girls through an Internet chatline in 2006.

He had sex with a 15-year-old student at a toilet for the handicapped in West Mall shopping centre on April 20, 2008, a day after his return from NS training in Taiwan.

Earlier in September 2007, he had invited the other girl, then 12, to his flat where he had sex with her in his bedroom.

The offences came to light when the younger girl was found to be pregnant and was warded in hospital in July 2008. The girl, who terminated the pregnancy, had told the police that she had engaged in sex with several male persons.

Kok was not the biological father of the foetus.

Three other charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.

Defence counsel Amolat Singh said Kok - who had a good record in polytechnic and during his national service - would have to pay liquidated damages amounting to $50,000 to $60,000 to the NIE for breaching his training contract.

From Straits Times, "Man jailed for sex with 2 underage girls, 15 & 12".

Another member of the teaching profession has been convicted of sexual offences.

Aaron Kok Chun Cheong, 23, who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two counts of sex with two underage girls, will be sacked as a trainee teacher, his lawyer, Amolat Singh, told a District Court.

Kok committed the offences between September 2007 and April 2008 when he was a full-time national serviceman.

Kok met the first girl through an Internet chat-line in late 2006.

A year later, he invited the girl, 13, to his flat and the pair then became intimate with each other. They then had sex and did not contact each other after that.

The girl was then warded at National University Hospital on July 15, 2008 after she complained of stomach pain and vomiting. She was pregnant.

She told the police she had had sex with several men.

She had an abortion on July 31, 2008, and tests revealed that Kok was not the biological father of the foetus.

A month earlier, another girl, 15, reported to the police that she had consensual sex with Kok on three occasions between April 20 and May 31 2008.

The first offence was committed in a handicapped persons toilet at West Mall shopping centre.

Pleading for leniency, Kok said he was a first-time offender and did not set out to target his victims.

Mr Amolat said: "They initiated and actively sought to have sexual relations with him."

Kok was jailed 15 months for carnal connection. He could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.

Mr Amolat added that for breaching his contract with the National Institute of Education, Kok would also need to pay about S$60,000 as liquidated damages.

Last week, former MOE scholar, Jonathan Wong, was expelled from the University of York in the United Kingdom after pleading guilty to 17 charges of possessing child pornography videos.

The York Crown Court sentenced Wong to a six-month imprisonment sentence suspended for two years - which means he will not be jailed if he does not break the law during that period.

The court also ordered Wong to be placed under eight months' supervision and to be listed on the sex offender registry for seven years. He is disqualified from working with children.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Trainee teacher convicted of sexual offences".

Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Yes, the title of the movie, "Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" does ring a bell, doesn't it? There was this highly-recommended-to-watch 2006 anime titled, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time". Oh, and the main heroine for this live action is the very same Riisa Naka who was the voice actress of the main protagonist of the 2006 animated film.

Check out the trailer here, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time trailer 2010 (時をかける少女)".

The critics have only praises for this movie. Take this one for example:
What’s relatively surprising about this film—and the franchise in general—is just how consistently creative it remains considering its abundant reinterpretations.

For a franchise that has had numerous interpretations of its plot throughout the course of nearly 30 years, Toki wo Kakeru Shojo is still able to offer yet another unique take on the time traveling heroine.

While the device of time travel has always been a main component within telling the story, the films have steadily remained focused upon the personal dilemmas of its characters, never allowing the use of time travel to take over the course of its story.

This is even more visible within this film, mainly because the element of time travel is only performed twice throughout and doesn’t remain a huge aspect of the film like some of its predecessors.

At its core, the film focuses upon the notion of promise and how one can fulfill that promise despite the passing of time. This notion was explored in the original 1983 film, and it works exceptionally well here even more so given the rather vivid relationships shared amongst the characters.

While the familial bond was only a minor aspect of the 2006 animated film, here it’s utilized as the catalyst to promote the story and is viewed as major element in concluding the storyline from the 1983 film.

Partially quoted from Isugoi, "Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Review".

Online Game Fiesta RPG

Online Game Fiesta RPG. Free to play. Check out here.

There are 4 classes which a player can use to start with. Here are the screenshots & their description.

Promising, yes?

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Derrick Lui

Here's what Derrick's(Director of When Night Fa11s) gonna shoot in 2011!

Director:Derrick Lui
Name of project: Fade In

A woman is dressing up to go out,reflecting on her life, in the process.

Who's Shooting What? 2011: Ho Tzu Nyen

It's time...
To start to countdown to the new year...
WE present our WHO SHOOTING WHAT! in 2011 series!
First up, Ho Tzu Nyen

Director: Ho Tzu Nyen
Project: Endless Day, feature film

A Japanese soldier and a Malay girl try to build a life for themselves in the heart of a tropical paradise, as the world outside gradually collapses on them. A poetic film about the fragility of love in a brutal world.

LUNCHBOX 7 - Sun Koh

Sunday 21 Nov, 2 pm
Yangtze Cinema, Pearl Centre

Sun readily agreed to meeting me at Yangtze Cinema for this LUNCHBOX conversation, which was no surprise to me given her sense of adventure. So amidst a dozen uncles, mouldy walls and even some glitter from the neon rays of the KTV liunge next door, we settled ourselves down like the uncles did.

Apparently, the neon-lit KTV lounge nearby houses some church activity on a Sunday afternoon, here are some attendees chatting before the session

Jeremy (J): So you've been a bit in and out of town in the last few months, we didn't really see you around, what have you been up to?
Sun (S): I have been developing my feature. It's called A Million Monkeys. It's a murder mystery set in the city of Kuala Lumpur. So I have been there to look-see, look-see la.
J: You will be shooting there right?
S: I think it is inevitable because the city is also a character so it will be difficult not to shoot there.
J: Will you be working with Malaysian crew?
S: I think likely but I am in a very preliminary stage of the production. I would not say I have started pre-pro, perhaps I have casually started pre-pro. But most of the time was spent developing the story to know what is believable there and probable there. (pause) KL is a city of incredible happenings, so it's been interesting.
J: I know you probably would not want to share too much about the story but what do you hope to portray or what kind of issues do you hope to show?
S: Well.....The film basically deals with people living in a metropolis.... how distracted we are.... and how that distraction becomes ourselves and our real lives disappear...and we might die distracted. I guess you can set this in any city, really. So, when I brought KL into the picture as a character, basically you adapted the idea to this city. In many ways, being set in KL makes it more tragic. The landscape is a lot more varied than what we have here. So actually, it's better. So you will get a glimpse of sections of KL.

Sun under the neon lights of Yangtze Cinema

J: Here is a cliche question.... you recently won the Young Artist Award... how do you feel about winning it?
S: I feel good. I mean it is good to be recognised back home.
J: Do you know why they selected you?
S: Well, I don't know exactly why but I know Tan Pin Pin nominated me. (pause) I also know that someone on the panel was really passionate about my work. That might have helped..... and er.... I am the only female, again (laughs). So you know are hard.... hard to find female artists!
J: Do you think it is possibly also because many people see you as someone who pushes boundaries?
S: (laughs) Haha! ...Sorry to be so self-deprecating, but that might be it la. (pause) But at the same time, I am not sure if I am pushing too much boundaries. (pause) So, it is surprising that they picked if you are looking at this issue, cos there are always safer candidates right?
J: Do you think they also go for safe bets?
S: I really don't know. (pause) But then if you look at the past winners, Lee Wen won it with his yellow man work.... you know he paints himself right? (pause) Well, one the other hand, the artist who cut his hair, is it Joseph Ng.
J: Yes.
S: Yup, the guy who cut his pubic hair in public, he didn't win anything. So it is difficult to tell where the 'line' is. (pause) Of course, I am very far from wanting to cut my pubic hair in public! (laughs) I have no desire to do that but I do question the status quo quite a lot. But if Boo Junfeng can get it, I think it makes perfect sense. (pause) I mean, his films are 'worse', although they are more restrained.... but if you really take it apart, it says a lot more.
J: When you started filmmaking, you made a film that now stands apart from your subsequent films... so is the real Sun Koh more like your subsequent films?

Take a closer look, it's the real Sun Koh

S: Actually, I think it was pretty accurate. The first film was pretty much like that. I was pretty innocent (laughs), but you see, there is a big gap between the first film and the second indie film. I did a lot of television during that gap. I did a whole range of genres from romantic comedy to pop-idol road movie.
J: Which pop-idol movie did you do?
S: I did something called running with scissors. It stars Jen, the Malaysian pop idol host and Stella Ng who was a little starlet and we also has someone called Jones Ong, who is very up-and-coming in Taiwan now. Erm, I also did other genres like Eric Khoo's 7th month anthology - that was horror. Basically I just tried everything for the sake of practising my craft. I even had Kym Ng in it and I had to include standard lines like 这是报应! (This is retribution!) (laughs)
J: Yeah, they do have a few standard lines!
S: Yes, in TV drama.
J: Anyway, what changed along the way through the year?
S: Well, its all me really. Even in the horror one, i put in bits of my personal experience in it. And in the romantic comedy, there was lots of me again, the irreverence and all. (pause) One interesting piece I did was an S and M one. TV12 (Arts Central) actually didn't know it was S and M.
J: Maybe it was subtle?
S: It wasn't subtle. It was called 'Machine' and it was adapted from Tan Tarn How's play of the same name and it was about abuse in a relationship - physical, emotional and mental. We acted it out, you know, the woman was being slapped around and strangled and she came back for more. (pause) So it seemed to 'escape' them... or maybe it was ok, I don't know. In any case, I don't really think very much about censorship unless my producer says 'hey, what are you doooooing?'. I am a responsible person.
J: You really stepped up the 'pushing boundaries' bit with Lucky 7.
S: Actually Lucky 7 was more the work of my collaborators. The boundaries bit... well .... I did Bedroom Dancing and it was erotic and all but if you look at my segment in Lucky 7, it was very PG. So I would say the stepping out of the boundaries was the work of my collaborators.

Sun on the set of her recent project wearing a very different hat

J: Who are your favourite directors?

S: Luis Bunuel is my absolute favourite. Then in no order of preference... there's Claire Denis, Apichatpong Weeraseethakul, Han Yew Kwang (When Hainan Meets Teochew), David Lynch, Ann Hui, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Edward Yang, You Ji-Tae (he's the baddie in Old Boy. He made a short film called "Bike Boy" many years ago, which made a great impression), Fellini, Antonioni, Herzog, Fassbinder, (Mohsen and Samira) Makhmalbaf, Kiarostami, Sergei Parajanov, Tarkovsky, and... I think I forget a lot of directors but it's enough to give you an idea.

J: What are your favourite films of all time?

S: The films of Luis Bunuel, and those I mentioned above.

You've got a very calm and collected attitude, nothing seems to faze you, were there moments that really tested you?What was the most difficult moment for you in your journey in filmmaking?

The good thing is that i more or less forget about things after they happen, so i can't really recall specific moments that tested me. Filmmaking generally challenge me, and if it ceases to do so, I probably would just move on. The most difficult moment is always now, with whatever I'm doing, since I'm one who's not interested in repeating what I've done well before.

Calm and ready to take on life's surprises

J: If you are given S$10 million to spend on making a film, what would your film be like?

S: Can I cash that? I will use it for my future children's education! ok seriously, a science fiction, with floating spacecrafts and beautiful jungle scenes, and it'll be about life and death and everything in between and beyond. But then all this will remain fiction, till someone actually shows me the money.

J: Would you starve for the sake of art?

S: I'm non-violent, so no. Anyway the money that can buy you a meal can't pay for anything to make a film. So it'll be silly. If by starving you mean to give up the kind of lifestyle depicted in fashionable magazines... It never appealed to me anyway, so it means I won't miss anything. Those kinds of lifestyles in my opinion is a kind of prison, so it's better to steer clear of that.

On the high voltage set of 'Dirty Bitch'

J: A lot of new batches of filmmakers are coming out of school. Could there be too many filmmakers in the scene? And sometimes, many people also make pieces that they call films that are actually not films, more like videos or little expressions on video and it seems to crowd the scene. Do you think it will get overcrowded soon?
S: I think it's ok. I think those are valid forms of expression are well. Some of these people may or may not end up becoming filmmakers for life but I think it's perfectly ok for the layman to pick up a camera and shoot. I mean you are also using your phone to record this conversation and back then journalists only record conversations with those tape recorders.
J: Actually they still use those.
S: Oh yes, they still use that (pause) but you see it's just another form of expression, some do it professionally, some don't. Look, everybody writes blogs these days but how many people make a career out of it? I actually think it's good. Well, let's put the wannabes aside. There are people who genuinely want to document phases of their lives and aspects of society that we don't do. Even those people who document people going mad on the MRT (like the case of the woman spewing vulgarities); it's part of documentation. (pause) But perhaps on the issue of bread and butter, it does have an effect somewhat. I mean not just film, many things are overcrowded, just like the F & B business. And you can't say someone who opens a stall is not F & B. It is F & B.

Sun lending a different eye to the shot

J: But do you think there is enough space for the new graduates?
S: Probably not. Actually, I already see it happening. Many of them slide off into perhaps broadcast design, which is also part of the industry. I know many of them start off wanting to become directors.
J: I guess it also depends on what they are looking for right?
S: Yes. If you are a more auteur-like sort of person and love to tell stories, it will never be overcrowded. All the more you have to stand out with your vision. And competition is good and very healthy.
J: People say it's also the same everywhere else in the world - bigger ponds but more fishes.
S: Ya. It's true. (pause) Maybe 20 years ago, if you were a film director, there is this cloud of mysticism around you. They think you are special or something. Actually, we do rely a lot on the help from our collaborators to make the work.
J: I know what you are saying. When you tell people you are a filmmakers, they go wow ...
S: And then wait till they see what I really do for a living on a day to day basis!
We both laugh.

Riding the 'Dirty Bitch'

S: So there is no big deal. But I think the big deal might be if you could create work that resonates with people - that would be the big deal. (pause) And it would be the same big deal if you were a songwriter or if you created the iphone that records this interview. (pause) You know the richest man in Malaysia manufactures toilet paper?
J: Really?
S: He's the big deal! (pause) You will find your niche if you are really good at something. I mean maybe there are like 3 million other suppliers of toilet paper and they are probably not doing quite as well as him.
J: So other words, there is still hope.
S: You will always find your niche.

We proceeded to snap a few photos borrowing the very 'colourful' background but out came a tigeress of a KTV lounge owner who asked where we were from and wanted to chase us out for snapping pictures. Sun (below) was in middle of posing for my camera when the lady pounced on us and Sun, quick on her feet, fended off the lady's pressing questions in the picture.

Sun broke into the scene when her first short film won a Silver Hugo in 2002 at the Chicago International Film Festival, making her still the only Singaporean with that honour. Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese received the very same award for his debut short film. She then went on to direct TV documentaries, dramas and commercials. Her latest film "Dirty Bitch", she won Best Director as well as Best Film at the first Singapore Short Film Awards at the beginning on 2010.

Her first foray into feature films was with the Lucky Seven Project, which brought together 7 directors to direct an omnibus film. She is currently developing on a new feature film titled A Million Monkeys. Here is a link that gives a riveting description of the film's working synopsis.

'I wonder what's in store in the Year of the Rabbit?'

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