In Production - 'The Triumph' by Ting Szu Kiong

Szu Kiong is one of the most prolific new independent filmmakers in the scene. Looking at his recent production, he seems to have drifted away from his initial experimentations to something quite upscale. His recent production 'The Triump' was shot using the Red camera. And it features a coolie, a trishaw, some cheongsams, a teahouse and several pistols!
Jeremy (J): Could you tell me what your story is about?
Szu Kiong (S): A student works in a tea house as a signer frequented by gangsters. She has a secret hobby, that is to collect the luacky charms of the gangsters. Just want to add also that this film is in Mandarin and was entirely shot using "Red" camera. Principal photography was done on 31st October 2008 and 1st November 2008. We are currently in post-production.
J : So I see from the pics that it is a rather big production
S : Yeah, it's SFC supported with quite a big sum
J : Wow. Is it a short film grant? or a special grant?
S : It's a short film grant...
J : I seee

S : The title 'The Triumph' reflects her triumph over the gangsters whom she despises very much.
J : What kind of triumph is it?
S : Her happiness when she successfully gets her price from them... you have to watch to see what kind of triumph I actually mean.
J : What inspired you to write this story? By the way, I have actually seen your other shorts before....quite spiritual.
S : Yeah... my short films usually have Buddhas or other gods or fairies. but in this 3rd short film of mine it's not going to be like 'My Keys', having the Goddess of Mercy appearing... there'll be something that's related to Buddha too. I can't give away too much, ya. (pause) This story is written after I visited the last village in singapore and I thought to myself it's a great location for filming something. I love period drama. I like film noir with femme fatale. but i want my femme fatale to triumph over the gansgter world.
J : Where is it?
S : It's somewhere in Hougang and Seng Kang area. that place is extremely nostalgic. I stay in rural area in malaysia and so I am quite touched by the nostalgia there.
J : Ah bingo!!

J : Just side tracking a little. I am just curious. Why are you inspired by these religious elements and deities?
S : I am a buddhist. I enjoy films with deities when I was a child. and when I was a child I am exposed to things like mediums and talismans.
J : I can imagine...I used ot watch loads of HK tv drama serials about gods and deities.
S : I also love classical Hollywood films. so in terms of style, I guess I am influenced by classical style of hollywood
J : Did u really shoot 2 days? Seems very arduous.
S: Well, the preparation took 3 to 4 months... we placed much emphasis on the preparation of props, costumes.
J : It is very evident.... I take my hat off to u for the mammoth effort!
S : Haha....thanks... fyi, SFC just granted me my 4th short film. genre is of wuxia (swordfighting but with other kinds of weapons, not swords) It's called The Forest Spirits. And I will shoot in May this year.
J : Lastly, anything you feel you do differently from other directors? Or what do u think makes u unique?
S : I think my stories are quite unique. I dun think I can make a good arthouse filmmaker. so I just stick to using very unique stories but deliver them using classical style. Kelvin sng says my films feel "zen". and so I shall stick to this as my unique character.

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