Short films from the VERY BAD FILM SCHOOL: James Lee Challenge


No, I'm not dissing a film school.

The Very Bad Film School is a one weekend film challenge started earlier this year by Tan Chui Mui with the strong belief that the only way to learn how to make films is... by making films. (which I don't disagree)

There are different challenges in each session initiated by different filmmakers, and usually ends with participants making a short film in a day. These sessions include David Lynch film marathons, listening to experimental music from the past decade, lectures etc.

Last weekend was James Lee's challenge, and it's a series of challenges that truly mirror his own philosophy as a filmmaker!


Challenge 1: Make a short film using only still photos, and layer it with music. Something like Chris Marker's LA JETEE

Challenge 2: Reedit a trailer for a feature film. (this is always fun, when I was first introduced to this meme back in the mid-2000s, I absolutely loved the one where THE SHINING was reedited into a romantic comedy trailer)

Challenge 3: Cut together a mashup video from three different films.

A couple of filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers participated.


Including my pal Mayjune, the lead actress of Ming Jin's SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES (also appeared in RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS as the same character). Mayjune is now experimenting with filmmaking too! (I take full credit for encouraging her to go to VERY BAD FILM SCHOOL to take the challenge :D ) Yay, go Mayjune!


Anyway, James has compiled a Youtube playlist of the videos made by the participants during the Challenge. I never had the chance to watch all of them (yet), since I'm busy with my own shoot now, but I think most were very creative, and I definitely want to share them here.

From Challenge 1:


From Challenge 2:
(CHING CHONG SUICIDE, which is a mashup of Monty Python's ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE and Johnnie To's BLIND DETECTIVE made me smile. Sidney Chan turning in a MIRACLE IN CELL NO.7 trailer in the form of an intense teaser, a non-musical and manlier WEST SIDE STORY trailer by Mayjune, and James Lee's mashup of Steve Mcqueen's SHAME and Spike Jonez's HER are fun to watch too.)


From Challenge 3:
(I thought Mayjune's mashup of BIRDMAN, BILLY ELLIOT and CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON was pretty cool. James did a mashup of Wong Kar Wai's IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and Alain Resnais' HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR called IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE 2.0... but why not HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR 2.0? Seeing footages from these two masters made my heart flutter a little)


Which ones did you like?