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Friday, March 02, 2012

EMPTY KINGDOM interviews me

The very awesome arts and culture website Empty Kingdom had just posted an interview they did with me.

In this interview, I discuss why I stick with short films, and mostly on my latest short LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER.

[LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER] A girl alone on a bridge

On sticking with short films and whether I would move to feature-length territory:

"It’s not really a conscious decision stick to short films. I initially started making short films because I like the medium, I can tell stories that can be told in a very short time. It’s also a way for me to experiment with all kinds of styles and techniques before I apply them on a feature-length film. However, I have also co-written, produced and edited a couple of feature films (Woo Ming Jin’s WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER, and THE TIGER FACTORY) to make sure that I don’t limit myself only to short films.

As a filmmaker, compared to a feature, short films are easier to put together, so while I spend the past two years developing my feature film script (took a year to write one, threw it away, ended up writing another), I had plenty of time making my short films. It’s also just a way for me to prevent myself from getting rusty, really.

It had always been my intention to go into feature length territory, but even if I do, I will still be making short films. It’s like alternating between writing a novel or a short story, I like both."

On influential factors / people that contributed to LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER.

But when I prepared for Last Fragments of Winter, I think the two biggest influences that I drew from were the works of Tarkovsky and Krzysztof Kieslowski, especially Double Life of Veronique from the latter. Because there was just something so mysterious and unexplainable about it, yet I found myself captivated by how it made me feel, which was similar to Mieko Kanai’s short story.

One person I met made the film what it is today. I was returning from a lengthy film festival trip in Europe early last year, as I was in a bus back from the airport. I saw, through the window, a young girl walking around at the streets with a huge camera that I’ve never seen before. The bus stopped nearby, I hopped off and ran to where the girl was, just to ask her about her camera. The camera turned out to be a Mamiya RB67, she was nice enough to bring me to a junk shop where she bought her wares, her name was Miho. Although I had just written a rough outline of the story before my trip, it was after my encounter with her that helped “solidify* things.

On whether the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 in Japan affected my direction of LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER because news soundbites of the event were heard in a scene.

"It did. Last Fragments of Winter was shot in both Japan and Malaysia. The snow sequences in Japan were shot just a few days before the earthquake, while the Malaysian sequences were shot a week after. I actually returned to Malaysia just two days before the tragedy.

What happened saddened me, but I also felt a lot of love and admiration for the people of Japan, who went through all these with so much dignity and spirit.

I felt that I had to capture this particular moment in my life with my film, therefore when I was shooting on location (at the streets of Kuala Lumpur), and there was a donation drive going on, I decided to have them in the background as well. It was my way to show solidarity with my friends in Japan, which had already became a second home to me. And when I was shooting at the corner shop, the news on TV was indeed about the events in Japan, so I didn’t make any move to switch off the TV either."

I spoke about a handful of other stuff too, gears I have fallen in love with, upcoming projects, what motivates me, etc etc."
Go check out the interview.