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My Short Films

Friday, August 29, 2014

Photos from a promo short film I was shooting

Two weeks ago, I got a sudden phone call from an old high schoolmate (primary school as well), asking me to help shoot a little promotional short film for an event his company is organizing in October.

I swiftly put together the production, the short film stars Joseph Germani and Sarah Lian and it's tentatively titled THE WAY OF THE FUTURE.

Here are the photos taken by the cast and crew during the shoot. (
Thankfully, we were also followed by a group of film students documenting our shoot, so there were even more photos from them as well. Film shoot these days are very different from before, it's not difficult anymore to look for production photos.)

From the first day, mostly in an apartment.

Second day, I was trying to capture the sunset again.

Of course, I also had plenty time for ice-cream.

Now I have one week to edit this.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"... And to all Malaysians, welcome home."

Today is national mourning day for the victims of the ill-fated MH17. Their remains have been brought back to Malaysia. The country is united in grief.

A friend of mine, Shuba, was on the plane, with her husband and her young daughter. Back in May, when we ended our last conversation on Facebook, we spoke about meeting up for coffee after her return from her Europe trip (and I from Tokyo).

I am now sitting at Starbucks, writing this while having coffee. Perhaps in a different better place, she too is having coffee.

My thoughts are with the friends and family of everyone on MH17. And MH370 as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rest in peace, Robin Williams

I woke up this morning at 8am and realized that my mother has forwarded the news of Robin Williams' death to my phone.

Suffering from severe depression, he had taken his own life.

As I headed off for a breakfast meeting, the shadow of this saddening news loomed over me like a grey cloud. And I couldn't help but try to remember...

Remembering the movies that I loved during my childhood to my teens, Robin Williams' presence had been palpable.

Perhaps the earliest film I saw him in was POPEYE, but at that time, I didn't know he was Robin Williams, I watched Popeye only because it was... Popeye.

But as I grew a little older, I began to remember him more in films, the voice of the Genie in ALADDIN, the grown-up Peter Pan in HOOK (which I loved back then), MRS. DOUBTFIRE (which I absolutely absolutely adored) and JUMANJI. These four films were films I had watched numerous times, on video tapes or laser discs, over and over again. Films that made me laugh and warmed my heart.

Reaching my teens, I became more captivated by a serious Robin Williams. GOOD WILL HUNTING, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, they made me realize that he was an absolutely awe-inspiring actor. Not just a funnyman, much more than that. He won his much-deserved Oscar for GOOD WILL HUNTING, which I had watched only once, but with scenes that I remember until today.

"You don't know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself."

At that time, I also revisited his earlier films like THE FISHER KING (possibly still my favourite Terry Gilliam film) and AWAKENINGS.

The darker side of Robin Williams was enthralling, especially in INSOMNIA (Robin Williams as a villain? Boggled my mind) and ONE HOUR PHOTO (never seen him creepier). So much that I almost hoped that he would take more roles like that. I thought he would have been awesome in a film noir, as a hard-boiled detective, the lines on his face, the sorrowful eyes, the tired smile. It would have worked.

I didn't care too much for the films he did in the past decade (though I kinda enjoyed the NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM films), I still found him a very welcoming presence in awards shows.

Last year when I knew that he was in a new TV sitcom called THE CRAZY ONES, I immediately checked it out. Sadly, I could only sustain my interest for 3 episodes (but then, I generally cannot really keep up with sitcoms) Yet I still assumed that he would be here forever, trying different roles, alternating between funny and serious films. I was willing to wait for a next virtuoso performance that he had always been capable of.

What made him unique was that as manic and funny as he was, there was always some sort of sadness in his performances that he could so easily switch too. It felt absolutely heartbreaking that this sadness had been genuine.

I have spent the day revisiting numerous videos of his that weren't related to his films.

Look at him command the stage on WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY.

Whose Line Is It Anyway w/ Robin Williams (FULL) - Mod DB

Or an interesting experience he had during the middle of a performance at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Goldfrapp's TALES OF US short films

Recently, I was asked to make a music video.

Although nothing's really confirmed, I had been watching quite a number of other music videos for inspiration.

Goldfrapp's series of five short films for her TALES OF US album had gotten my attention. The unique black and white aesthetics (well, except for Jo's, that's the only one in colour, but draped in shadows), the moody atmosphere, accompanied by Alison Goldfrapp's lush vocals, it's quite interesting. All five of the shorts were directed by Lisa Gunning. Aside from STRANGER, all the songs in the album were named after a woman, and each song is a narrative of this woman. I like the artistry.






Thursday, July 31, 2014

Remembering the greatness of Philip Seymour Hoffman

It's still quite saddening to remember that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died earlier this year in February.

Just two days before I resumed my RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS shoot. I was so busy with preproduction then, but I was so shocked by his death that I ended up sharing quite a number of articles about him on Facebook to join in the mourning. He was one of the greatest actors of our generation.

Shortly after that, I was so swept up with my own film shoot. Even so, perhaps inspired by the numerous clips from his filmography, particularly emotionally-charged scenes that featured his bravura performances, I ended up being more conscious about giving my actors more space to do what they could do, more space to explore hidden emotional depths.

Those who are great would often inspire you to reach for greatness as well.

In the last few days, news of Philip Seymour Hoffman had resurfaced, A WANTED MAN had just been released. The two HUNGER GAMES films are coming soon, and those were the last films he completed before his death.

I'm not sure how long these clips can remain on Youtube, but I'm posting them here. Scenes of Philip Seymour Hoffman that I'm very fond of. The works of a genius.

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