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Thursday, July 16, 2015

James Lee's LAST DAYS OF SCHOOL and other touching father-daughter commercials

A few days ago, James Lee shared a link to LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, a short film he did for Singapore's NTUC Income OrangeAid. Along with his 2013 short FAMILY PORTRAIT 全家福, this is possibly his most heartwarming (and most unabashedly tearjerking) work ever.

Starring newcomer Evon Chua and James Lee regular Mike Chuah, this short film tells the story of Siew Fang, who is finishing high school and has big dreams, but she also has bigger responsibilities towards her family.

Having gotten nearly 70 000 views to date (60 000 from yesterday itself!), his short has became viral.

Watch this if you haven't.

Recently, I have been seeing a lot of touching father-daughter short films and commercials online. Despite not being a dad myself, most of these works have left me a little misty-eyed.

Therefore I'm going to share a few that I've stumbled upon in the last few weeks.

The first one's been pretty ubiquitous, not only had it dominate my Facebook newsfeed, it's been airing on TV as well. LOVING EYES, a Japanese Toyota advertisement (for its Safety Sense feature) which came out last month, shows the numerous car journeys taken by together by a father and his daughter, from the time she was a baby to when she had a baby of her own. The ingenuity of this ad is that it was done in first-person perspective, first seeing the events from the father's POV, and then from the daughter's POV. It really gives you the feels.

Another Japanese ad from last year, which I only got to watch for the very first time last week, is from Tosando Music School. During a wedding, the emcee announces that the father of the bride has a message for her. He steps over to the piano, she's confused because he doesn't know how to play the piano! She's fearful that her dad's going to embarrass her in front of public, until we start hearing the first few notes of Canon in D, and a shared memory begins unveiling itself.

Yesterday, during a meeting, I was shown this charming Metlife Hong Kong ad called MY DAD'S STORY: DREAM FOR MY CHILD (Cantonese version is here). I don't want to spoil this. It's framed by a little girl's essay on her dad. Although it's for Metlife Hong Kong, I believe this ad was shot in Thailand with Thai actors, since I recognized the little girl from last year's MY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN Wacoal ad, now, THAT was a great mother-daughter ad!)

There are way more of these touching father-daughter ads out there, but these are the great ones that I had the pleasure to watch recently.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shooting a badminton documentary

Panorama shot of my film set

Over the past few weeks, I have alluded to a badminton documentary that I've been working on. For this documentary, we have traveled around the country, and even going to Singapore, interviewing many people, including Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah, wife of the former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir, numerous badminton heroes of different eras etc. Peggy Loh also described extensively in her blog about one of the interview shoots we did with her uncle, Roland Ng.

Yesterday, it was time for us to shoot the reenactments of a long-ago tournament covered extensively in my documentary.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Interviewing the inspiring Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah, wife of former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir

With Tun Dr Siti Hasmah after an interview

Last Monday, for the documentary that I am currently working on, I had the honour of interviewing Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah at her office. She had been a role model for Malaysian women (and men) for more than six decades, and played an important role on developing the modern sports of the country. She is also the wife of former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rest in peace, Fat Yau 肥耀, 一路好走


几天前知道他得了骨痛热症进了院。 没想到昨晚就走了。

Friday, June 12, 2015

Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro talk about genre

Today is a day that is tinged a little with grey.

The husband of a friend passed away early in the morning. I have never met him before. yet I cannot shake away the feeling of melancholy. Their child is very young. So was he.

At night, I received news of screen legend Sir Christopher Lee's passing. He was 93. He had spent more than half a century giving us iconic roles like Count Dracula, and Saruman.

A few weeks earlier, a friend dear to my heart lost her older sister too. When I was with her in Singapore, I struggled to find words to tell her. She looked strong, we laughed through the day, but I wished that was enough to help her momentarily forget her pain.

Recent events are constantly reminding me about the impermanence of life. I do not know what to do, except to just live the moment, I guess.

Just now I had the pleasure of reading a nice article on The New Statesman featuring two literary giants, Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro, talking about the complications of genres, politics of storytelling, and the like.

In an article filled with wonderful quotes, I'm going to highlight a few that I really liked.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Vague impressions of Marina Bay, Singapore

Up until my teens, Singapore was like a second home to me. Not only was I born there, due to my father's work, my family were visiting almost every other week, or at least once a month.

We used to live in the Mandarin Oriental, and from there, we could easily go to the Marina Square shopping mall, either for the food court, for the bookshops, for the video game shops, the cinemas and the like. My childhood memories of the place are quite vivid. My nostalgia is tinged with bittersweetness, not because I yearn for it again, but because I marvel at the child who was myself, who did not expect the many things that he would live through in the future.

Therefore, during these short days in Singapore, my father would usually drive from the Marina area to Orchard Road, to visit the places we liked, like the now-gone Borders bookshop, or HMV, or Ngee Ann city and its trustworthy Kinokuniya.

From the window of my hotel room, or within the car, I was very familiar with the skyline of Singapore. At that time, in my earliest recollection, the OUB Centre (now known as the One Raffles Place) and Westin Stamford Hotel (now known as Swissôtel The Stamford) were the tallest buildings, towering over the rest. A few years later, it was joined by the OUB Plaza. These three tall buildings dominated my consciousness for a very long time, and had remained the Singapore skyline of my mind.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

360° music videos

Quite an eye-opener!

An hour ago, I saw Lesly the cinematographer sharing Björk’s new music video on Facebook. It's for 'Stonemilker', from her latest album Vulnicura.

What blew my mind is the fact that it's in 360°!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Winning an award at the Cannes Short Film Corner...

Recently, a local filmmaker named Indrani Kopal had won an award from a student showcase that was part of the Cannes Short films Corner. Good for her, congrats!

But somehow, the media had been mistaking her award as an actual, official award from the Cannes Film Festival itself. We don't think we should lie to ourselves about these things (no, I'm not implying Indrani's doing that, she knows pretty well what the award is, but there are too many misleading articles since her win).

So... today, after reading one article to many that showed the writer's lack of research and knowledge on these film festival stuff, I decided to write this lengthy post in response to Edgar Ong's article (more like a poorly constructed rant piece, really), "M’sian wins at Cannes but potential winner at home is banned!"

I can't let this stand.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Two weeks ago, RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS was screened at the Green Film Festival in Seoul... which was in Seoul. Based on its official website, the Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS) "is the film festival to seek the co-existence between humans and the environment through cinema. Green matters have become one of our common issues, but we still want to meet more people and share the green messages together. We are still living in the age of reckless development, environmental destruction, climate change and poverty. The GFFIS dreams of the co-existence between humans and nature, the alternatives for the future, and the ways to put ideas into action through films. Until the day all these dreams come into reality, we will be here with you and do our works.".

Friday, May 22, 2015

Just some of my photos of Hong Kong (May 2015)

On my trip to Seoul for the Green Film Festival in Seoul last week, I stopped over in Hong Kong for three nights.

A photo posted by Edmund Yeo (@edmundyeo) on