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Short films about the March 11th earthquake and tsunami @ Sapporo Film Fest 2012

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For my final night in Sapporo, I decided to attend the Sapporo Film Festival's "AFTER 3.11" Special Programme screening. And what a fine screening it was to end my wonderful Sapporo experience. This program is a compilation of short films related to the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami that happened in March 11th, 2011. I will recap them one by one, along with my thoughts.

Exploring Otaru 小樽市

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My Last Fragments of Winter screening at the Sapporo Film Fest on Sept 12th was actually attended by Yi Hua, a friend from primary and secondary school whom I haven't met for ten years. This had never happened before in all my few years as a filmmaker. She just happened to be in Sapporo. After that, when we were having ramen, she mentioned a place that intrigued me. The port town of Otaru, just northwest of Sapporo, known for its beautiful canal, the sublime seafood and music boxes (there's a famed music box museum). And then, hours later, when I attended the Hokkaido Selection program screening , and saw a short film set in the town (there was also a scene shot in the museum), I instantly decided to go there. So, I went yesterday.

Hokkaido Selection @ Sapporo Short Fest 2012

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The beauty of a film festival is the opportunity to attend screenings of films that I might not be able to catch anywhere else in the world. Over here in Sapporo Short Fest, I made sure I went to the " Hokkaido Selection " program screening, which featured short films that were either made by filmmakers from Hokkaido, or short films made in Hokkaido.

The 1st LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER screening @ Sapporo Film Fest 2012

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An interesting thing about the Sapporo Short Film Fest catalog is that it includes photos of composers too. The only film festival I know which does such a thing, which is cool, film composers deserve a lot of love. So you can see the photo of my long-term collaborator and high school pal Wong Woan Foong in the Last Fragments of Winter entry.

Arriving at the Sapporo Short Film Fest 2012 opening ceremony

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Yesterday morning, I made my way from Narita to Sapporo. My dad has joined the fun as well. My eloquent tweets pretty much covered most of the trip.

Off to Hokkaido, a place I often fantasize and romanticize

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While I am writing this, it is already 4am in the morning. At 11:30am, I will be flying off to Sapporo in Hokkaido for the Japanese premiere of LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER in Sapporo Short Fest .

This mysterious pile of CDs I have been going through...

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Been writing the past few nights. I cannot stand the silence, therefore I always need to be accompanied by music. I have a rather extensive playlist on my iPhone, but for the sake of not getting distracted, I usually chuck my phone aside whenever I go somewhere else for a writing session. Which means that I was left with the music that I have in my computer. Sadly, they are not as extensive. After a few nights of listening to just the Cocteau Twins, I needed some alternatives. Last night, I decided to go through the pile of CDs I have accumulated in the past four years since I came to Tokyo.

On Borges, Eco, Calvino, Marquez... and McDull

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I never forgave my secondary school for banning us from bringing novels to school. That is why I constantly speak about it. Back then, unable to accept such a rule, I occasionally brought a book to school for some reading pleasure. Alas, the school prefects deemed me, a guy who was just sitting at the corner, quietly reading a book, a threat to school safety, thus my books were sometimes confiscated. I had to write eloquent letters to the prefects just so I could get them back. That is why, in some of my angry rants over the years, I couldn't stop blaming the local education system for not emphasizing the importance of literature and culture to its students, that we lived merely to score well academically, that our education was more on learning how to deal with exams, instead of preparing us properly to contribute to society. That our country is full of highly-educated folks who don't give a crap about literature. Many years ago, back in Perth, Justin (who used to con

7 x 7. 49th day of my grandmother's passing. Remembering a dream.

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I returned to Tokyo last night, on the eve of Malaysia's Independence Day. 55 years ago, my nation's fathers fought for liberation and attained it, through unity and faith. 31st of August, 1957. I love my country. But I think, judging from the current political climate, there isn't much for me to celebrate. Aside from being Malaysia's 55th Independence Day, 31st of August, 2012 is also the 49th day of my grandmother's passing, or the 7 x 7. For Buddhist customs, 1x7 (the first week), 3x7 (the third week), 5x7 and finally, 7x7, are marked by a short praying ceremony. I was around for both the first week and the fifth week. On the 5th week (5x7), a ritual was held to put her plaque on the walls of a temple.

My homage to Chris Marker - FLEETING IMAGES (2008)

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The great filmmaker Chris Marker passed away two weeks ago at the age of 91.

1-minute extract of my short, LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER

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The folks at the Sapporo Short Film Fest have posted a 1-minute extract of my short film LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER on Youtube. The film is making its Japanese premiere at the festival next month, followed closely by screenings at the Nara International Film Festival a few days later. I'm pretty excited to have my film finally shown to the Japanese public.