Sunday, August 23, 2015
Saturday, August 22, 2015
I was shooting two music videos of a local Cantorock band Alienoid 異種 earlier this month. Both are in post-production. Music video shoots have a lot of their own pleasures, especially when you get to experiment with new things, new people, new filmmaking styles etc. I even got to test the Ronin-M Gimbal, too bad it worked only for the DSLRs. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which was my main camera, was too big for it.
The first music video I shot on the 1st and 2nd of August was more of a heartwarming family story thing, because the song is about the passing of time 時日如飛. It stars local actors Kenji Sawahii (whom I've worked with before in RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS, he played the father of Joey Leong's Mei Ann character), Chythia Tan, Veron Lin and 6-year old Estellis.
I worked with Estellis last year before.
She's now a bit older.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
While I'm writing this, S.S. Rajamouli's BAAHUBALI: THE BEGINNING is the 4th top-grossing Indian film of all-time. (It's written by Vijayendra Prasad, the director's father)
The first film in a two-part epic, and reportedly the most expensive Indian film ever made, I didn't know about it until the few days leading up to its worldwide release, and was surprised to find out that the film was showing in Malaysia too!
After I saw the film last Friday, I couldn't stop raving about it! And I'm proud to say that I managed to convince some other friends to catch it too :D
Friday, July 17, 2015
Aside from being a public holiday, Hari Raya is about seeking forgiveness from family and friends.
These beautiful values of familial love, friendship, forgiveness and compassion are reflected very much from the films of the late filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad.
Last week, for a documentary that Ming Jin's directing (I'm executive producing), we had the pleasure of interviewing Yasmin's parents, Pak Atan and Mak Inom, and sister, Orked. (yup, she's the namesake of the protagonist in the "Orked trilogy")
Thursday, July 16, 2015
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
Yesterday, it was time for us to shoot the reenactments of a long-ago tournament covered extensively in my documentary.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
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
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
Friday, June 12, 2015
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
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.
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