STOP10: Over 100 mini-films to catch in May 2017

Lin Yu (above) is a 'Lucky Boy' who is consistently an inch away from any kind of luck. Grace, a young working mum tries to put up with her growing, demanding son. Eng How is struggling to keep his family’s bakery business afloat while being criticised by his aunt that his mooncakes are missing something. Meifeng visits the family of her ex-lover, who disappeared years ago, during Chinese New Year and stirs up both familiarity and tension.

This month we look at stories of the man on the street. No gods, no ghosts, no guns (well, some), no bloodshed, no cast of thousands. Just little tales that can make you say 'I've been there before.'

May is the month of micro films. And there is so much to watch this year from a broad cross-section of Singaporeans. The 48 Hour Film Project held towards the end of April, has consistently produced some of the best micro films made under 2 days. ciNE65, the 3-min short film competition, is back for the fourth season and more than 100 teams of Singaporeans gave their interpretation of what the famous phrase ‘Home.Truly’ from the NDP song ‘Home’ means to them. 5 filmmakers, many critically-acclaimed names like Kirsten Tan and Eva Tang, went back to their roots and reimagined lost connections and ties for Royston Tan's omnibus 667 for the inaugural Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Cultural Extravaganza. The only biggie among the micro-minis this month is also a story about an ordinary boy. He just happens to have extraordinary bad luck.



Finally to close the loop and bring everyone to a common place, there is food. The Singapore Heritage Festival Outdoor Screening presents a group of films about good food in Singapore, their peculiar histories, and most importantly, who’s going to continue cooking them in the future.

It’s a wide buffet spread. Pick your morsels carefully.

Time

Viddsee, available online 5 May onwards

This is Viddsee’s first original short film made. For close to 5 years, Viddsee has been championing independent short films in Asia but this is their first attempt at making one, or rather producing one as the director is Daniel Yam, who made hits like ‘The Gift’ and ‘Ripple’, which became the most viral films on Viddsee. Viddsee’s short film ‘Time’ is about Grace, a young working mother, who is frustrated about not being able to spend enough time with her young growing son, who has plenty of demands. Will this film turn from a ripple to a wave? Only Time will tell.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

Fish out of Water (and other entries from the 48 Hour Film Project)

YouTube

The 48 Hour Film Project is the oldest timed-filmmaking competition in the world. They started in 2001 and came to Singapore in 2008. Contestants have 48 hours to make a short film. What makes this fun to watch is that every team is given a character, a prop and a line which they must use and each team has a different genre from the rest! This year, they had to feature a used tea bag, the line ‘I am not who you think I am’ and a character which will raise eyebrows for good and bad reasons - social media influencer. Ideas abound for sure. The most unique social media influencer went to a cat. The team that took home the Best Film prize, Paperbag Boys, made a film about a detective who went undercover as a social media influencer to track down a drug peddler. Our personal favourite was an oddball film about two Singlish-speaking toy fishes who talk about being trapped in an aquarium and wanting to swim in a bigger pond. Giggles.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

Sofia

Viddsee, Singapore Film Channel

What’s worse than being in a bad situation? Being in a good situation that turns out to be a bad situation. Sofia is stuck in an unsavoury job as a sex worker and her boyfriend Haris wants to take her away from it. He introduces her to his family and hopes to bring her into a new life. Then life decides to be a b*%$£ and drops a bomb on Sofia over the family dinner with Haris. It’s quite cruel. Watch till the end.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.


Foster and more on ciNE65

ciNE65 YouTube Channel

ciNE65, one of the most of popular and enduring filmmaking competitions here in Singapore,  has attracted professionals and amateurs alike to take part over the years. Attractive prizes aside, perhaps the accessible theme makes it easy to draw broad interest and some very polished entries over the years. This year, participants were asked to interpret the theme ‘Home.Truly’ (honestly, not sure how that is different from its previous edition’s theme of ‘Believing.Home’ but we guess words do matter. We don’t deny combing through dozens of ciNE65 entries felt like listening to an SAF Day speech on repeat mode, but one entry that stood out for us was Foster. In this film, a Chinese boy who has just lost his biological parents is struggling to get used to his Indian foster mum, who has kindly taken him into her care. Like Rihanna said, we can find love in a hopeless place, the film reminds us that we can all find HOME in a hopeless place.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

Going Military. On ciNE65

ciNE65 YouTube Channel

Among the 100 over entries in ciNE65 this year, army flicks were an expected cliche. We rounded up 5 military-themed entries and fired missiles of judgement onto them. Just kidding. But it was a fun exercise comparing how different people relate to their own army experiences. They Are Coming is about NSFs fighting zombies in an apocalypse. With My Life is set in the future in 2045, with Singapore at war. There is also Generations about a young lady who wants to be an Air Force pilot.

Among the army entries, Ang Teng Kee stand out as the most impressive and currently has the most number of views among all the other ciNE65 entries, at over 2,500 views. The Team pulled all stops to get this film made. About a young National Serviceman overcoming his phobia of using the gun, it features a snippet of war with rubble, explosions and people with charcoaled faces in distress; extols values of courage and the whys of compulsory national service; and ends with a glorious drone shot pulling out of a HDB living room, into its kitchen and out of the window, revealing the HDB block in its full glory. That’s about everything in Ah Boys to Men packed into three minutes sans the jokes.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

Builders (Kattumaanar) and other shorts @SAM

6 May, Sat, Singapore Art Museum at 8Q, Moving Image Gallery, Level 2
Part of the ‘Imaginarium: To The Ends of the Earth’ contemporary art exhibition, daily screenings till 27 Aug 2017

This little short film about migrant workers achieves so much with so little. No exchange of words, just meaningful gazes and a microscopic look at a possibly familiar situation. An Indian migrant worker picks up a wallet with a stack of cash, owned by a Chinese migrant worker and contemplates about whether to return it to its owner. His own wife just called to ‘buffer up’ on finances. Eventually, he does the right thing (because doing the wrong thing might be the stuff of feature films?) and saves bilateral relations between India and China.

This is actually one film in a set of short films from the USA, Brazil, Russia and the Philippines, screened as part of a contemporary art exhibition called  ‘Imaginarium: To The Ends of the Earth’ at the Singapore Art Museum. The exhibition invites you to do a double take on the environment around you and observe and analyse how we relate to and adapt to our surroundings.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

The Missing Ingredient
13 May, Sat, 7pm, Outdoor space next to near Asian Civilisations Museum
For mooncake fans out there, there is such a thing as a savoury ‘salt and pepper mooncake’. It has got notes of tangerine and sesame and has a brittle crust that melts in your mouth. This is a Hainanese invention by local bakery Nam Tong Lee (located at Purvis Street). Having survived a few decades, the continuity of the business is in question with the passing of generations and the filmmaker’s (Wang Eng Eng) cousin, Wong Eng How, has been tasked with taking the helm of the business (with a hint of reluctance).The biggest challenge for Wong is recreating the family’s signature mooncake, hence the film’s title. What makes his job more burdensome is an overly-critical auntie. Watching her do a quality-inspection at their Batam production unit gives the film moments of reality-TV gold, and Eng How, the nerves.
Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

Wanton Mee
13 May, Sat, 7pm, Outdoor space next to near Asian Civilisations Museum
Eric Khoo reinvents the TV food programme genre by inserting a food critic character (played by veteran actor Koh Boon Pin), office politics and a talking ghost who likes to nag. Wanton Mee is a hybrid film that you can call edu-drama, info-tainment or perhaps a cine-zine? Focussed on uncovering stories behind hawkers and food operators, Wanton Mee explores heritage in the food business and inter-generational relationships. While the film gets highly graphic on its bubbling stews and soups, it gets equally saucy with its lightweight sideshow of old guard versus new guard in the food review department of the publication. The veteran food critic gets unnecessarily guarded and clipped in his exchanges with the overly-enthusiastic new girl on the team and this made for delicious viewing. One also wonder if there is a 12 Storeys reference in putting Koh Boon Pin in a little HDB chamber drama with his father. And what’s it with crying grown men in this film?! We counted a total of three crying grown men.
Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

Lucky Boy
Opens 18 May, Golden Village cinemas islandwide



We smell Forrest Gump in this one. Lucky Boy, mm2 Entertainment latest Singapore movie is about a really unlucky boy named Lin Yu. Li Yu is always missing his grades, missing the winning lottery numbers, missing the bus to everything, figuratively speaking. What would it take to change his luck? Fans of Lobang King in Ah Boys to Men will get their fill of Wang Weiliang and his quick-witted, sharp-tongued antics. Weiliang is aptly-cast as Lin Yu the lead role in this film, alongside Lobang King version 1 - Chew Chor Meng, who plays his father. If you have watched the trailer, you would also notice that (SBC actress) Chen Xiuhuan makes an acting comeback in this film as Lin Yu’s mother and Jack Neo delivers a hilarious and on-point impersonation of a modern school principal, of the fairer sex.

Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

667 《回程 667》
25 May, Thu, 7pm, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Auditorium
Image credits: Lee Xinli and &Larry
Director Royston Tan drops another set of numbers this year with his latest project, 667. 667 refers to the average size of a three-room HDB flat in square feet. Many Singaporeans grew up in HDB flats, so undeniably, it occupies a special place in our hearts. 667 brings us back to this place and the spirit of it through an anthology of short films made by some of Singapore’s most critically-acclaimed young directors.
Eva Tang explores her half-Cantonese roots with a story about a loyal family chef and a maid servant, bringing back the Cantonese tongue of the 60s, seldom heard today. He Shuming documents his father’s interactions with the caretaker of his ancestral home in Hainan Island. Jun Chong cinematically captures an old lady’s search for her grandfather’s tomb in Singapore’s only Hakka cemetery. Pop Aye’s Kirsten Tan reimagines the age-old Chinese tale ‘Wu Song fights the Tiger’ in a modern bar in Singapore. If our facts are accurate, there is a slutty character in this tale called Pan Jin Lian. She would fit into any bar. Lastly, Liao Jiekai explores memory, politics, language and the idea of re-enactment in his film about a girl who visits her ex-lover’s family, years after he has disappeared.
Read more about the film and how you can watch it here.

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