Viewpoint from a filmmaker - Leon Cheo

We continue with a series of responses from local filmmakers on the current regulation and/or censorship system in Singapore. This is an ongoing project initiated by a group of students from LASALLE. Discussions and exchange of views are encouraged between members of the public and arts practitioners on the regulatory issue of films in Singapore. View our previous interviews here.

We find out what local filmmaker, Leon Cheo has to say:

1. During the process of making a film, have you ever felt restricted by any regulatory boundaries set by MDA? If yes, in what ways?
Yes I have. Sometimes I would question whether something will be allowed or disallowed.

2. If for artistic purposes, would you make a film which you know might attract censors or cuts but still continue to do it anyway? Why?
Yes, provided the story is as truthful as possible - that there is a need to tell the story.

3. In the Arts Community Position Paper, it is suggested that regulation should be implemented in place of censorship, as the former involves objective classification that is not politically-motivated. What is your view?
I absolutely agree with objective regulation and classification.

4. Two of MDA’s guiding principles behind its regulatory work are to uphold community values and to safeguard national and public interest. What is your view?
I think the principles are just a way to appease the general public who still rely on the government to take care of them.

5. Have you participated in any discussion programmes or feedback consultations with regards to content regulation initiated by MDA? Would you participate in future? Why?
I haven't participated in any, but I would like to. I am keen in such consultations and would like to contribute to progressive change.

6. What do you have to say about the censoring/banning of content in films screened in local theatres which are still obtainable on the Internet?
I think this is a wrong mentality for consumers, and people in the film industry to have. The point is to get rid of censorship and banning of films, not to find discounts and allowances for censorship.

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