I remember watching Stop Over at the 48 hour film competition in May. It was hilarious and definitely one of the films I rememebr. I am glad they are on to producing another one. This time under the Sinema Incubator programme. In fact, they even started a company after making 'Stop Over'.
Their company is Brenizer Fanthome Films and their website is http://www.brenizerfanthome.com/. It is nice when you hear nice-sounding surnames like these. We cant do the same. You get 'Huat Lee Films', or 'Ong Lim Films'. The name of their Incubator Film is CUBIK. It is a twenty-minute Action Suspense Film Noir that explores the often conflicting desires of living up to the expectations of family and following one’s own inner compass.
The film centers on Alex, a newly initiated member of her father’s criminal organization. After her first job to retrieve the prototype of a new weapon falls apart, Alex struggles to put all the pieces together to determine who in their organization is to blame. In a society built on secrets, Alex begins to wonder if she can even trust herself.
Jeremy(J): I saw your short film for 48 hours. It was one with very high production value with the flyer and the yacht and all. You seem to have topped that this time. Care to share what it's about?
Stefan (S) :- Jason and I are pathologically ambitious and believe in pushing ourselves to the limit - and then some - of our hopelessly scarce resources. We also believe very strongly in generosity of humankind - in other words we beg, beg, beg! In Stopover, in a period of about 20 hours we filmed at 9 locations including the Singapore Flyer, a Marina at Tuas and shop front at Changi Village. Cubik was less ambitious if you count in terms of production value burned through "per hour", but in 10 days of filming we shot at two beautiful Black and White bungalows, a huge warehouse in Sungei Kadut, a marina and yacht in Changi, a factory at Pandan Loop and at a very interesting house in Woking Road. We were fortunate to have the support of Eurosports Auto, Harley Davidson and Capt Warren Blake who loaned us a Lamborghini convertible, 2 Harley Road Kings, and $3million dollar Trimaran for the film respectively. So in a way we did top Stopover...! The expensive 'toys', of course were there only to enhance the story, not as gratuitious eye candy.
Cubik is about growing up, of coming to understand what it is you really want, and learning to be true to yourself. Alex is the only daughter of wealthy businessman - his business empire, though, goes beyond legitimate enterprise, and so she faces a life where the stakes of a wrong decision are very high - indeed could be life itself - as she learns when her first mission for the family goes badly wrong. Realising that someone is trying to destroy the family, she seeks to unravel the mystery before it is too late and in that process comes to understand what it really means to live the life she was born to. As she gets closer and closer to solving the mystery of the masked assassin, she realises that the larger puzzle she must solve is whether her path in life will necessarily follow that of her father's.
J: How long do you intend it to be?
S: The film is intended to be about 20 minutes long – but I think we are looking at a 22 – 24 minute film. We will keep it such that it fits within a half hour slot.
J: It would be interesting to know what kind of films you get inspired by
S: Wow – that's a biggie! Perhaps a quick list of films that blew me away would help – Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Matrix, Memento, Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, Sixth Sense, Trainspotting… There are many more. My absolute #1, though is the sublimely poetic, poignant and gripping 'The English Patient'.
I admire filmmaking that leaves you with a "Rosebud" moment (Citizen Kane) – a moment that wraps up the whole experience, the whole story, in one breathtaking moment of brilliance, power and poetry. I hope one day we can make films like that. Orson Welles was 25 when he made Citizen Kane – it completely beggars belief!
J: Could you share a bit about where you come from and what intrigues you in Singapore that you wouold like to put into your films?
S: I grew up in Bhutan and India and came to Singapore back in 2000 for work – in another industry – and have been here ever since. I have heard many people complain about Singapore, but frankly I think they doth protest too much. I absolutely love the place. There is a LOT to Singapore if you would only explore. I have been here 8 years, and I am still finding out places that I'd never seen before. When Jason and I were scouting locations we found places that could be the jungles of Borneo, the gritty underworld Triad hang outs of HK, the shipyards of Busan, the bungalows of Farnborough… basically pretty much anywhere. Singapore has lot more than glass and steel skyscrapers and HDB blocks, and so there are a lot of stories that can be told. It is also inherently cosmopolitan and full of intriguing contrasts – which is always good for film.
J: Any interesting things happened during the production?
S: Other than constant minor heart attacks and associated near death experiences?! Well lets see – there was the driving in the Lamborghini, riding the Harleys and sailing the Yacht. Nothing terribly horrible went wrong, luckily so all the interesting suff is actually on film.
J: Any feature film ideas in mind currently?
S: Absolutely! In fact we have a few. We are focusing on making CUBIK the best film we can make – we will be looking to distribute it and have it shown as widely as possible not only in festivals but in theatres. Perhaps we can link up with other short films and get ourselves a proper film slot in a theatre. But once we have done this, we will be looking to make our next film a feature. Now that's ambitious, but it is a distinct possibility, and that's what we are aiming for! We might possible expand CUBIK itself.
Written by Jeremy Sing