Spending a weekend in Camp : Invisible Children

Posted by Clement Chua

I have always known Brian Gothong Tan as an experimental artist.
I first saw his visual installations few years ago and were deeply moved by them. The myriad of colours and the juxtaposition of vivid images crafted a deep impression and left me longing to find out more about this talented artist.
Brian, right in the middle of it all

Fast forward to few years later, I saw the character study of "Invisible Children". Brian also shared with me his ideas and concepts for his first feature film where he took on the dual roles of writer and director.

It was with much anticipation I visited the set on a weekend where the crew were filming in a defunct school. They were very hospitable and one could even sense the camaraderie among them. Everyone was working efficiently and effectively.The very clever use of props like files, posters etcetra and set design turned the entire place from a dilapidated building into a military camp.

1. Careful don't fart, these mikes are everywhere! 2. Army is a waiting game 3. `Sir! Sir!' 4. Leon's beautiful sleep 5. Brian 6. Chuan Yang modelling the latest military tops

I especially liked how Brian directed the entire set. It was film-making at its basics. There were no fanciful camera angles or elaborate art direction which we often take for granted in many arthouse films yet the shots did not look dull nor out of place. Instead, what was present was an emphasis on performance and story telling. Brian's collected and composed nature coupled with the expertise of his meticulous producer, Gary had a very calming and therapeutic effect on everyone on the set. There were no tempers nor heated arguments but only quick and creative solutions to every challenge that came along.

1. Stand by.......er.......sorry wait. 2. Leon : `Confine! Why you want to confine me?' 3. Itchy feet!

The actors were also rather convincing and portrayed their roles well. The arrogant and overbearing army officer versus the helpless private was played out so well, one could even be mistaken that it was an army training session in progress. It was indeed a very pleasant experience on the set. I shall let the pictures do the talking for now.

Private Lim enjoying the bedsheets from Goodwood Park Hotel

`Hello, so I repeat, one Fish-o-fillet and large fries.'
`Ok, don't laugh, I am attaching something to your chest.'
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