Production Talk - 'Tickets' by Sherman Ong


centres on Xiao Jing, a ticket seller in an old cinema in Singapore. Coming from China to study acting in Singapore, her ambition is to break into the Singapore film industry as an actress.

Director's Statement

This film is about cinema and the slippages between documentary and fiction. It dwells on the idea of acting/re-acting/reprising real and imaginary roles, and touches on the themes of diaspora, migration, displacement, identity and the sense of belonging.

Taken from -
More about the director -


Grace (G): What inspired you to start on this project?
Sherman (S): Tang Fu Kuen, the curator for the Singapore Pavilion in Venice Biennale 2009 approached me to collaborate w Ming Wong on the presentation for Singapore Pavilion. The theme was on Singapore Cinema and its cinematic history.

G: What can the audience look forward to?
S: As stated in the synopsis, it is about a China girl coming to Singapore to break into the film industry here.
I think it would be best that the audience watch the film and come to their own conclusion as this is essentially the essence of watching a film.

G: How long did you take to make this film from the time pre-production started?
S: About 3-4 weeks of preparation. Actual shooting was only a few hours.


Jeremy (J): Your experimentation with form and questioning the form in the film is not new. I have seen it in your other works. Would you ever make something more like a traditional narrative?
S: I don't see a distinction between traditional or experimental or avant garde narratives. It all boils down to good or bad storytelling...that for me is the essence of narrative films.


G: How did you go about casting?
S: The film has only 1 protagonist and I have known her for a number of years, working on a few projects.

J: Are there many China girls aspiring to be actresses in Singapore? Don't they have a bigger market in China?
S: I am not sure about this as I have never been to China. All I think is that she has a story to tell and it strikes a chord with me. The story could be set anywhere in the world because we, as humans, could empathise with the situation another human being.


G: How did you get help to shoot this? In terms of financial and crew support?
S: The crew was very small about 4 person. Fu Kuen the curator got me some funding to make the film.


G: Why SB Oriental?
S: Shaw Brothers has been very supportive of the Singapore Pavilion and so they said yes when I asked them to set the story in one of their theatres.

G: What were your biggest challenges in making this film?
S: To find the essence of the story and at the same time make something that also encompass cinema and the memory of cinema.

G: Any interesting anecdotes to share about the production?
S: I think this shoot is one of my shortest. We shot for 3 hours, ending up as 3 cuts in the final film.

J: What do you think of the film 'HERE' by Ho Tzu Nyen?
S: I have not watched Here yet.

G: What are your views on the film industry here in Singapore?
S: I don't think we have an industry if we were to compare it with Hong Kong which has the Chinese market and the top talents to rely on. Having said that, I think making films or being a filmmaker has no relation with whether or not a film industry exist in Singapore. I think we have to look outside of Singapore to create that industry, just like Singapore Airlines.

G: Give us more insight to your upcoming works
S: (laughs) I can't predict what I am giong to do because I don't really know until the films get made. They will still centre on relationships and what it means to be human.


G: When and where is 'Tickets' going to be released?
S: Tickets is the longer version of the work I made for the Singapore Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2009.

Tickets will have its world premeire at the upcoming Rotterdam International Film Festival 2010.

Find out more about the festival here
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