STOP10 Sep 2017: 'Happy to See You Too' 死了,走了,不见了 by Yee Chang Kang


Two Silver Films were commissioned for the upcoming Silver Arts festival. In Yee Chang Kang's Happy to See You Too (死了,走了,不见了), two long-lost close friends bump into each other at the neighbourhood clinic and as they catch up, we catch a good glimpse of their feisty characters and stories waiting to be told and discovered.

In this STOP10 interview, we caught up with Chang Kang about his film. 

How did the idea for 'Happy to See You Too' come about?

I have been working on my feature film ('Sunlight Takes Over') script for a couple of years now, and thought I should take a breather from it. Take a detour, to get some new inspirations.

And just about the right time, about 3 or 4 months ago, David Lee from The Filmic Eye contacted me. They have been tasked by NAC to curate this year’s Silver Films and therefore David asked if I would like to give it a go, submit a treatment first.

Of course, I was more than happy to. Told myself that I wanted to write a story that is realistic, yet hopeful. Through the dialogue lines, I wanted a story that is empathic to our old folks. To speak of ageing pains, but not being hopeless about it. Very often we see films that depict old folks as old and frail. All sepia-tone in colour. I wanted something more. I wanted the old folks to be more 3-dimensional, still full of life and feelings. I took a lot of inspirations from my mom. She is old, but still very, very much a feisty old lady. So from there, it evolved into a story about 2 very distinctive old ladies who have not met up for the last 50 years.

In the film, you got to work with some veteran Mediacorp actresses. Had you worked with them before? What was that experience like?

Nope. Never worked with both before. Mediacorp, or otherwise, I just wanted to work with the best actresses around. Veterans who can add verve to my script, bringing my characters alive. I am always doing my 'homework' casting-wise, and I know these ladies for their strengths. So I took the chance, and we just knocked on their doors.

As I was developing the script, I got David to help me and both of us met up with the two ladies on separate occasions. On both occasions, I basically mentioned the overall premise of my story and asked each of them who would be the best candidate to play opposite themselves.

And guess what? To our pleasant surprise, they both mentioned each other. And to my knowledge, they don't keep in frequent contact at all. So kudos to them for choosing each other.

It was certainly fabulous working with the both of them, each with her own quirks.Madam Choo Siew Fong prepares herself very throughly in advance, even before our script-read. In contrast, Madam Choy Peng Hoi is more off-the-cuff during the initial rehearsal. The great thing is, and because of that difference, they complemented each other perfectly. It was most wonderful seeing them acting out the characters on set.

While you were conceiving and making this film, were you always conscious that it was for the Silver Films festival? Did that guide your decisions in any way?

(Laughs) It was a commissioned film, so of course I had guidelines. But the only guideline given was simple. Just don’t be morbid - do a nice story to engage, first and foremost, our old folks. It was that simple. Nothing complicated. And so, I basically did a hopeful story about reconciliation, about forgiveness, about closure.

How long was the filming process? Were there any memorable moments during the production? Any major challenges?

Initially it was to be a 2-day shoot. But we felt that, rolling with the actresses’ emotions, it would be best captured in 1 day. It was very tight, chasing for daylight, but we managed. As mentioned, just working with the 2 veterans was an humbling experience for me already. I am deeply honoured and touched, that they would actually listen to my directions respectfully.

You directed the Loners’ Trilogy back in 2004-2006. What draws you to this theme of loneliness/isolation?

Ah. I think anyone who feels, is lonely in some ways. Some distract themselves with things to do. Some others cope very differently. All the quirks from each individual. Come to think of it, It is just the human condition that I am interested in, not necessarily loneliness or isolation. So many stories to tell, if we just open our hearts and listen.

Any last comments on your experience making 'Happy to See You Too'?

Well. I just hope that a lot more people will get to see it, after its run at the Silver Arts festival. The two old ladies really put in their heart and soul. They did a fabulous job!


Chang Kang (picture above) is also the frontman of Singaporean band TypeWriter which just released their new single, "Sorry, I Got Carried Away". It is a track off the upcoming five-song EP, "WHAT YOU'RE FEELING IS NOT ENOUGH ".

"Sorry, I Got Carried Away" is available on Spotify and other digital streaming sites.

The song reflects on the theme of not fitting in with the societal norm, but hope prevails. "Sorry, I Got Carried Away" sees the band challenging themselves to go above and beyond their familiar power pop sound - with catchy musical hooks against the expansive, brooding soundscape.

The music video for the song was just released on YouTube and Facebook. Directed by Chang Kang himself, the video was shot over three days, and it is their little tribute to the '70s disco group Village People.






"WHAT YOU'RE FEELING IS NOT ENOUGH" marks the band’s latest EP in seven years. Formed in 2001, the band returns with a more invigorating sound palette, while still retaining that emotional fortitude and keeping it real through their unabashedly honest songwriting.

The EP launch will be held at the Esplanade Annexe Studio on 9 September 2017, with supporting band Lost Weekend and DJ collective Tiko Disko. Tickets at $18 are available through PEATIX.

Digital format and limited-edition heavyweight coloured vinyl will be out on 8 September 2017. 
 


***

Silver Films Selection (Total running time; 90 mins)



Happy To See You Too 死了,走了,不了 (Commissioned for Silver Arts 2017)

By Yee Chang Kang

50 years is a long time. Two long-lost friends become re-acquainted after a chance encounter at the neighbourhood clinic. All told in a light-hearted manner, we hear snippets of their lives and catch a glimpse of their feisty characters—of how they were all young once.


Rayqal (Commissioned for Silver Arts 2017)
By Sufyan Sam’an
Rayqal is determined to make his musical dreams come true. However, his bad temper leaves him without a band to play with for a highly-anticipated competition. In a stroke of luck, he discovers his grandfather was once the frontman of a band.

After Taste 回味
By Rebecca Ng
None of Dennis' relatives realise that the porridge he cooks is taught to him by Ah Ping, a  porridge seller whom the family patronised loyally till the shop closed. As Dennis observes them bustling about during tomb-sweeping, he recalls the connection to his Ah-Ma through porridge-making.

A Day’s Reunion 圆
By Png Zhen Yu
Having gotten off work early, Yi-De, a blue-collared worker, decides to go back home to visit his family. A home where he has not been back for a while.

The Veiled Willow 柳影袈裟
By Eva Tang
Chef Tam is leaving the household to work in a restaurant. Only the loyal maid-servant Sister Lau is left to take care of Second Grandma, who is faced with loneliness after her family has moved out. It is her wish for Sister Lau to marry Tam. Unfortunately, theirs is a generation who carry the burden of unspoken heartaches to themselves.

Showtimes and Ticketing for Silver Films

Fri, 1 Sep 7.30pm GV Suntec
Sat, 9 Sep 2.00pm GV Suntec
Tue, 12 Sep 2.30pm GV Tampines
Sat, 16 Sep 2.00pm GV Plaza
Sat 23 Sept 2.00pm GV Vivo
Sun 24 Sept 2:00pm GV Bishan

Tickets available at Golden Village via gv.com.sg or GV ticketing counters from 17 Aug onwards
Public: $6 per ticket; Senior Citizen Concession (aged 55 and above): $3 per ticket, available only via GV ticketing counters.
Prices stated exclude GV ticket booking charges (if applicable).

Organised by the National Arts Council since 2012, Silver Arts is an annual festival that collaborates with artists, arts organisations and community partners to integrate the arts into the lifestyles of seniors. From performances to workshops, seniors can showcase their creative talents through co-created content or learn a new skill, enhancing their overall well-being. The festival offers opportunities for seniors to share their stories that shape our collective memories, and forge stronger inter-generational understanding. For more information on Silver Arts, visit Silverarts.nac.gov.sg.

Written by Colin Low

For the full list of September 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here.

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