Production Talk - 'The Gang' by Kelvin Sng


"My film is a 30-min prelude to my upcoming feature film, MORE THAN WORDS (千言万语)about secret societies in 1970's Singapore. Entitled THE GANG (私会党), it is like a prequel to the story in the feature and also serves as a pilot to my feature." - Kelvin Sng

Film maker's statement

Singapore has yet to produce a film with a powerful love story set against the backdrop of 1970’s underworld, which was a very real problem for the government back then. By blending two of the most popular genres, Romance and Crime, the audience will be transported back in time to a world they never knew existed in Singapore, alongside the social and political development during that time in order to inject a sense of realism into the film.

It is hoped that this film will change the way people look at Singapore films, which are usually dark, gloomy and too close to real life to be of entertainment value to the average moviegoer.

Taken from



Grace (G): Hi Kelvin. Tell us more, why 'the gang'?
Kelvin (K): I am a great fan of mafia or gangster films, and being a history person, I wonder, how come Singapore has such a long history of secret societies and no one has actually made a film about it in its heyday? 50's to 70's are the worst period. So I did a research on the history for the last 3 years. The big picture is actually MORE THAN WORDS, The Gang is just its pilot and prelude, but also stands alone as a short film running at around 30 mins long

G: I understand that it was one of the most expensive short film made locally
K: Yes, close to 100k


G: What was the reason for making this prelude compared to just making MORE THAN WORDS?
K: Firstly, we want to use the prelude to generate publicity and create awareness even outside the filmmaking circle, as in the general public. It is also easier to show all our investors what we are capable of doing by showing them the prelude, as a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to pitching and part of the funding comes from investors themselves and we want to assure them that the prelude will also be part of the feature, hence so much was spent as it will be recouped at the box office later. We also hope to send the film to major international festivals and that will also increase the confidence of our investors as the budget is close to 2 million, we need a prelude to pitch!


G: What can the audience look forward to?
K: A great cast consisting of known names like Andie Chen (FIGHTING SPIDERS, LITTLE NONYA), Louis Wu (BLOOD TIES), Emma Yong (BLUE MANSION), VINCENT TEE (BLOOD TIES), SUNNY PANG (PERTH, LUCKY SEVEN), ADELE WONG (THE DAYS), Keely Wee (female champion of campus superstar 2008) and of course Maia Lee. It is a very unique combination with such a diverse cast. And not forgetting, the intriguing drama, intense story with action and lastly, there will be blood.

G: Mmm... bloood. How will 'the gang' stand out from other 'gangster' films previously made?
K: The only "gangster" films i know of locally are 15 and THE DAYS. To me, they are not gangster films, they are Ah Beng films. In the 70's, secret societies operate like an organisation. Everything was done with an objective and function like an organisation; be it a simple gesture, or a gang fight, there are real organsiations and brotherhood was strictly adhered to, unlike these days... Ah beng you look at me, i look at you, buay song, then we fight. That will be a joke to those real gang members of yesteryears. If Hollywood can make THE GODFATHER, HK can make INFERNAL AFFAIRS all in the form of a trilogy, given Singapore's rich history and culture, why can't we make our very own definitive gangster film?


Jeremy (J): Do you have a violence-fetish? Especially with 'Kichiro' and now 'The Gang'.
K: Damn. Not really a fetish. I would say i see beauty in violence. Don't be misunderstood, I'm ANTI-VIOLENCE. I use violence in films to go against violence.

J: Your trailer looks scarily violent!
K: (laughs) You ain't seen nothing yet. In fact, MORE THAN WORDS has already been conceptualized as a trilogy.
J: *bites fingers*
K: (laughs) The trailer is a raw cut, only 20% done.


G: One scene that really caught my attention was someone in the cage, thrown around.
K: (laughs) Maia Lee in the cage


G: How did you manage to think up of these shots? Were they inspired by real events?
K: No, it was a pure creative idea as a result from working with my stunt director, not from real events. I was thinking... you know last time when women were caught in adultery, they were wrapped inside baskets like pigs. So we thought, 'hmmm.. let's do it like SAW'. Instead of baskets, we use sharp barb wires.

G: You mean that actually happened here in Singapore?!
K: Yes! It was real torture. Last time gangsters were really VIOLENT. NO JOKE JOKE KIND

G: Where were you in the 70's?
K: Hmmm.... I was born in mid 70's. So the sights and sounds of yesteryears are still vivid in my memory. As well as the smell of chinatown... (laughs)


G: What were some of the challenges faced while producing 'The Gang'?
K: Budget and lots of logistical issues because there were many extras needed. And because of its large-scale, we realised that the budget kept increasing as there were many things which did not surface in the planning stage until it happened... Then we realised, shit, more money again. And we overrun by 2 days. Action sequences are a real challenge - that torture scene took 2 full days to shoot


G: How did Maia take it?
K: She was very professional. She wanted to give her best for the project and everyone was impressed with her. She is not what she seems to be as portrayed by the media.

G: Could you illustrate what is the most important tool in creating 'The Gang'? (can be anything!)

K: Photobucket my brains

Join 'The Gang' on facebook or click here to find out more.

Look out for the release of 'The Gang' in Jan 2010, Gala premier at Grand Cathay.

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