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Monday, September 29, 2008

DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY (KURUS) wins award at Bangkok International Film Festival

Miss Carol (Carmen Soo) tries to pick up books from the pond

Just got an email from Ming Jin early this morning (around 3am). Our film, DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY (known to Malaysian audiences as KURUS) had won the Special Jury Prize at the Bangkok International Film Festival's Golden Kinnaree Awards last night, under the South-East Asian Competition.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Burn after reading... Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN

Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

I got myself this book two years ago in Perth. Not through purchase, but by forcing Justin to swap his MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN with my THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN (by John Fowles). It was a fair trade. He didn't like magical realism, while I do, and he ended up enjoying the latter immensely anyway.

But this isn't exactly a book review, just a quick note on how I felt after finishing Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN yesterday afternoon. It didn't really take me that long to finish the book, really. I picked it up during my two weeks in Malaysia earlier this month, read through chunks of it on certain days in the LRT, then more as I flew back to Tokyo. Because the in-flight entertainment was down throughout half of my journey and I couldn't watch any films on the plane except THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, I spent most of the time reading instead.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mom force-feeds little girl (a scene from Love Suicides)

Kimmy forcefeeds Li Hui

Heya folks, as I've promised, I'm posting up the following scene to give everyone a sneak peek of my new short film LOVE SUICIDES.

Shout-out to the cast and crew of my film LOVE SUICIDES

Heya all, in case you don't know, I've gotten back to Tokyo last Friday night. Sorry for my lack of updates recently, been busy finishing up the editing of my new film, LOVE SUICIDES.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Film shoot at Kuala Selangor 3

The following photos are taken during the same day as my previous post, but this time, with Mei Fen's camera.

I'm going back to Tokyo tomorrow and will do the finishing touches for my new short film when I'm back there. However, I've already completed a rough cut of the film yesterday. Didn't really take such a long time, actually. I started yesterday 4ish in the morning, slept a little, then got most of it done by afternoon. And then worked on it a little more when Ming Jin, Han and the rest came over at night for some feedback.

Now I understand why most indie filmmakers here like doing minimalistic films with long quiet takes. My new film is like this, and it's just so much easier to edit compared to my previous ones like CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY and FLEETING IMAGES! There are some long lingering shots to help establish rhythm and atmosphere, but I seriously don't think it's as slow-paced as a Tsai Ming Liang film. Going for long takes and having minimal dialogue (Kimmy only has two lines in the film, the little girl Erica never talks) really doesn't mean that the film has to be slow, things do constantly happen onscreen (look at Wall-E).

P.S. Erica is a Malaysian Dakota Fanning.

Anyway, here are the photos:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Film shoot at Kuala Selangor 2

Went back to Kuala Selangor to finish up my new (but still untitled) short film yesterday. Kimmy's scenes were done on Saturday (photos here), so I only needed to do the little girl, Erica/ Li Hui's scenes.

The shoot was much more relaxing because we only had to leave in the afternoon. We were about to return to the Malay house, but went the wrong way and found some really beautiful paddy fields instead. We decided that the place is so beautiful that we have to shoot a scene there. I wanted to pull off a Terence Malick DAYS OF HEAVEN-type shots.

(note: All these photos are taken by Miharu with her cellphone)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Film shoot at Kuala Selangor

The shoot yesterday at Kuala Selangor for my new (yet untitled) short film was a success. Started out a few hours later than anticipated (... seriously need a production manager in the future), but managed to finish way ahead of schedule.

Shoot was really smooth, but towards the end, poor Li Hui, our 7-year-old main actress started crying. Film shoots can be quite boring and stressful for a child, even if working with a director who barely raises his voice like me. Will have to prepare a DS for her tomorrow, perhaps. Or comics.

All the photos were taken by Han.

Happy (Belated) Birthday to my little sister!

Yesterday (Sept 13) was my little sister's birthday, unfortunately, I had was shooting my new short film and was unable to celebrate with her.

So happy belated birthday, little sister.

Here is a photo of her being attacked by the Pedobunny at Puroland because, even though she's really 19 this year, she still looks underage.

(She doesn't look that different from 13 years ago)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Location scouting at Kuala Selangor

Ming Jin and I went location scouting yesterday at Kuala Selangor for my new short film (the untitled part 2 of my 'BAD MOMMA TRILOGY' that started with CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY).

It was my first time at Kuala Selangor, and I got to see some of the locations where THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA was shot. But I myself managed to find a couple of really interesting places for tomorrow's shoot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why I always have casting nightmares during productions

I've trying to find a child actress for my new short film during the past few days. In addition to that, I've also been recovering from a mild case of food poisoning (I've been visiting the toilet pretty frequently)

I've managed to find myself a child actress this morning, which was really an act of desperation. Before that, I've been gathering the contacts of professional child actresses, I tried to avoid those who were represented by agents because... I can't really afford them.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Dance of the Dragon 龙之舞 is... er, special

Fann Wong and Jang Hyuk in DANCE OF THE DRAGON

My dad suggested yesterday that I should try to go to the cinema and catch DANCE OF THE DRAGON, a film I've never heard of starring Fann Wong and Korean actor Jang Hyuk ('Volcano High' and 'Windstruck'). He said that he heard the film had won numerous awards at some film festival lately, which made me a little curious, so I tried to check its info on the newspapers, and on its tiny poster, it listed out the glorious awards it won at the inaugural WEST HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (WHIFF), including BEST FILM, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ACTOR (Jang Hyuk) and BEST ACTRESS (Fann Wong).

So I went online to find reviews about the film, and managed to stumble upon somewhat positive reviews of the film here and here, and was... convinced. I was also intrigued by its cast and crew (seemingly all white, including co-directors and writers John Radel and Max Mannix, the latter an Australian). A Singaporean film with an international cast and crew? Might be interesting.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The view from my plane

Finally reached Malaysia last night.

My plane was 10am, but if you follow my Twitter, you'll know that I decided to go to Narita Airport the night before and slept there. I didn't want to face the risk of missing an early train to the airport and miss the flight since the check-in time was supposed to be 7:30am.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

20th Century Boys 20世紀少年'

Poster of 20th Century Boys 20世紀少年

Aside from PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA, this film is THE Japanese film event of the year. The first installment of an ambitious, sprawling trilogy with a reported total budget of 6 billion yen (that's 60 million USD, posters claim that it's an all-time high) starring Japan's most popular actors and comedians (it's the most star-studded Japanese film I've seen since Mitani's THE MAGIC HOUR) and based on a 24-volume award-winning manga series by Naoki Urasawa (same guy who did MONSTER).