Grassroot power - Presenting Blotch Studios

In the recent The New Paper's 2nd edition of the First Film Fest, a group of young students who call themselves Blotch Studios took home the first prize with a film called 'Mother'. This film has by now enjoyed some virality on the internet, thanks to its simple and universal message of love and things that we take for granted at home.

Blotch Studios gives us just a whiff of the passion for filmmaking that is brewing among young students in Singapore. With platforms like YouTube and other websites, it is not difficult to find a reason to make a film these days. Grassroot efforts in filmmaking are a crucial part of the whole industry. It cannot be a case of only 'the anointed few' who would tell stories through. We applaud Blotch Studios for what they are doing and take a closer peek.

Film stills from their winning film '吗 Mother'

Who They Are and What They Do

In 2012, founding members of randomINK decided to take a bold new direction and bring together a group of creatives passionate in their individual fields to form a creative collective. This cumulated into Blotch Studios. Blotch Studio is a group of 10 young creative artists. Many of us previously graduated from Hwa Chong Institution's Art Elective Programme (AEP). We envision Blotch Studios as a multi-disciplinary studio that has a focus on filmmaking, and have been producing several short films. We have 7 films so far under our belt, and many have won awards at local film competitions (Creative Video Awards) and screened at film festivals (VSIFF). Our members also dabble in creative pursuits as diverse as graphic design, photography, animation and illustration, and we see this cross-pollination of ideas and influences across art mediums as a distinctive feature of our group.

How was Blotch Studios started? How did you guys come together?

Before Blotch Studios, a group of us (Victor, Chia Kai, Matthew and myself) came together in 2008 to form "randomINK" and was passionate about animation and film. We had our roots in animation, having alot of fun in NEmation and it sparked our fascination with this storytelling medium. We moved on to live action short films after a couple of years, and after producing "The Tiger & the Dragon", we decided to bring together a group of AEP friends who were similarly passionate about art. This culminated in Blotch Studios.

Briefly introducing the Team Members!

Top Row (from left): Teo Chia Kai, Bob Wong, Shaw Jia Hong, Andrea Quek, Victor Gan
Bottom Row (from left): Matthew Lim, Jeremy Teo, Jerrold Chong

Victor Gan
Victor loves Asian cinema, especially Thai and Taiwanese films, and dreams of making it into Taiwanese cinema one day. He is the Director for film "Mother".

Jerrold Chong
Director for a film "Chasing Time", he simply adores Pixar and goes crazy when he sees any Pixar character!

Matthew Lim
DOP for the film 'Mother', Matthew has this interesting (actually eccentric) habit of naming fonts when seeing them along the streets ("Helvetica!!").

Teo Chia Kai
Give Chia Kai any musical intrument, and he will cook up a tune just for you! But don't belittle his artistic skills too, he is excellent at drawing and animation! He recently won Outstanding Sound Design at CVA.

Shaw Jia Hong
"Discipline Master"/"Finance Manager" of the team, Jia Hong has a great flair for business and really loves taking photographs and possesses that creative eye!

Bob Wong
Bob is the Story Master who comes up with really crazy stories, and really loves sci-fi stuff, comics and gaming!

Andrea Quek
Andrea is lent her artistic hand to Art Direction for "Chasing Time" and designed the really cool "time machine". She happens to be the only girl in the whole team!

Jeremy Teo
The Storyboard Artist for "Chasing Time", Jeremy draws really cute cartoon characters, in his own distinctive style.

Lim Ziyuan
Ziyuan is the newest member if the team and is noted for his thick lips, but that aside, great commitment to the cause, and he can do almost anything! 

Are there any themes or genres the team members like? 

We have a very wide range of interests, and we embrace that diversity. We are constantly exploring new genres and themes in each new short film. More importantly, we all support each other in learning new things and discovering new ideas together.

How do you guys work? e.g. who comes up with the ideas? Who produces the film? 

We work as a creative collective, a place where we can express themselves. And that is something we take pride in. Each and every one has our own individual talents and interests. Everyone has a part to play in the team, and contributes in whatever way they can to a film/project. More often than not, ideas are thrown by everyone into a small bucket and after rounds or swirling and mixing, we get inspired by each other and the idea(s) spring into a whole new direction. Its like a ding-dong across ideas and collectively building onto an idea, that brings it further. And I believe that is what makes the creative process so fascinating and enjoyable.

How did the idea for the short film 'Mother' come about? 

We were working on our previous production "Three Little Pigs - Revealed" (an animation) when Victor had a crazy idea of doing a tribute film to our mothers in a short span of 6 weeks, just in time for Mother's Day. The story drew inspiration from Victor's own experience when he was 16 and his mother was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. It was a traumatizing and unforgettable experience for him. The idea to turn it into a short film struck him at 2am and he jumped out of his bed to write the first draft of the script that night. Though it is one of the most rushed production, the film just flowed naturally for us as all of us contribute a snippet of our own experiences with our mothers.

Any 'big' or 'exciting' projects or plans coming up? 

We are looking at doing another short film before we fly off for our studies overseas. And we are looking forward to the 48hour film competition in Singapore, as it is something that neither of us have tried before, and it sounds really exciting. There are several opportunities for us and we're glad to pursue them.

For more information on Blotch Studios, check out their Facebook Page.
Also check out their YouTube channel.

Here is a selection of some of their short films.

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