Production Talk - 'Kissing Faces' by Wesley Leon Aroozoo

'Kissing Faces' is a small school film project by three 2nd year NTU film undergraduates from the School of Arts, Design And Media. The small group consists of Wesley Leon Aroozoo (Director), Cindy Khoo (producer/ art director) and Philip Tan (cinematographer/ editor). The film took about 1 and a half months to complete from pre-production to post-production.

'Kissing Faces' revolves around the mind of a Karaoke Hostess who is leaving everything behind for a better life. The film bends the narrative form and experiments with generic images and wild lights.

Wesley Leon Aroozoo is currently in pre-production on his 8th short film entitled 'Mickey'. 'Kissing Faces' was his 7th short film.


'Awaiting a kiss. I close my eyes. Oblivious to everything around me'.

Grace (G): How did you come up with this title and your inspiration for Kissing Faces?
Wesley (W): The title 'Kissing Faces' came from my nonsensical observation of how when during a kiss, one closes his/her eyes and in this moment of being happy and loved, one is actually oblivious to everything else that is happening around us. (Because our eyes are closed). The inspiration for the film came from my obsession with the bright neon KTV lights that looks super obiang but I like it a lot. I imagined a girl dancing in front of the lights to the tune of George Gershwin’s summertime from The Carmen Opera.

G: Can you share what you're trying to portray in KF?
W: For the voice-over narration in the film, most of the lines are actually personal but they are universal, and so, when spoken through the karaoke hostess’s point of view, I think it still kind of works. In the film, I am trying to express what is going through the mind of someone who wants better and know it is wrong, but yet still goes ahead with it..

G: So did you have a personal experience?
W: Erm actually NO. (Laughs) I am quite easily satisfied in life. But the lines in the film are personal, just not the direction. I think… maybe it’s a personal experience... but I am too blur to realize. (Laughs)

G: Why did you choose that preferred KTV location? Because of the lightings or the style/treatment you'd like to have in KF?
W: My team mates and I went searching for suitable KTVs, those sleazy ones. But they kicked us out and they looked scary. So for some odd reason, the kind souls at *earth said sure. So, we just had to art d the place to look sleazy. But *earth by default actually looks quite sleazy. Okay, I take that back.

G: Have you made a film similar to KF?
W: Mmm... Structure and narrative wise… No. Style wise, I don't think so either. Maybe the closest I could link it to is my other film 'Love Me Yesterday' but that’s because they both had shots of night lights. I like night lights.

G: Would you say this is an experimental film?
W: I feel its 50% experimental.

G: Any challenges faced? Or interesting juicy accounts while filming KF?
W: Yup! When filming at the cemetery, the 3 fully charged camera batteries were 'not working' and the screen was filled with purply stroby lights. Some of the footage there was warped too. In fact the one used in the film, has a slight warp to it.

G: Did that 'slight warp' effect work into the film?
W: Mmm actually its hardly noticeable. I used the one with the slightest warpynesss.

Jeremy (J): I always wanted to ask u Wesley... How do you generate ideas for your films? I find them often very esoteric and unique in their perspective or style.
W: Aww thanks. It means a lot to me.

J: If I were to be a little more blunt, I could also call it -out-of-this-world! (laughs)
W: Usually, to generate ideas if they don't come by chance, I would lock myself up in my room for weeks and not go out with my friends - just me and my typewriter, thinking about stuffs. Usually, if I go through a bad moment, then I would be able to write something after that. So I am actually in some sick way very happy when someone makes me sad or something because I know its going to equal to me making a film and that makes me happy. For example, the script I just wrote, 'Mickey', came about from something similar. Yup :)

* changed to protect karaoke establishment's identity

Kissing Faces will premier at either the 6th Singapore Short Cuts (August) or the 5th Singapore Short Films Festival (September).

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