Production Talk with Director Jacen Tan on 'Homeground'

About 10 years after filmmaker Jacen Tan made Singapore's first online film (which actually went viral), 'Tak Giu', he is back with another new film on homeground (pardon the pun!)

'Homeground' is a documentary focusing on local football players, the 'weekend warriors', and the playing spaces close to their hearts. It is the winner of the POSB Storytelling Grant 2015. This film will be having its World Premiere at *Scape Orchard, The Gallery L5, this Saturday, 24 Oct 2015, 12pm to 1:30pm.

SINdie interviewed Jacen Tan on the making of 'Homeground' and miscellaneous opinions on football.

1) How does this film differ from all your other films related to Singapore football?

I feel that Homeground is a story that has never been told before. It's a film about playing spaces where amateur footballers consider their 'Homeground', and also about the interesting stories and friendships made from playing football.

2) Why another film on football?

Football and film are my greatest passions, why not combine both? There are many stories that can be told from football, and I have more to come!

3) How long did you take to make this film? What were some of the challenges?

The film was shot over two months. It was selected for the POSB Storytellers Grant, and we had to shoot and complete the film within a certain timeline. Challenges were aplenty but I'm glad we shot it before the haze period! We went to some really beautiful places.

4) Between Tak Giu, your first film until now, as a filmmaker, how do you think you have changed or matured as a filmmaker?

I've learnt more about storytelling and also the technical side, like cameras and gear etc. I'm more of a gear geek now, although I started out not knowing anything and shooting on a handicam. I still shoot on handicams, it's about the best camera for the project. I'm also working on my first full length feature, Zombiepura, and learning more things as I go along.

5) How did you select your interviewees for this documentary? 

I selected the interviewees after choosing the locations. For example, I was cycling past this field in Buangkok on a Sunday evening, and there were people playing football against a gorgeous sunset. I approached them and brought my gear down the next Sunday to film them. Also, I was led to more interviewees via my soccer buddies.

6) Do you find any notable differences between the amateur football community and communities of amateur players of other sports e.g. basketball, badminton etc.?  

I'm not very sure about other sports, but I'm sure each sport has their own tight-knit communities, brought together by their love of a common game.

7) Do you think that playing a physical contact sport is more effective in building an enduring and intimate community, as opposed to playing mind sports e.g. trading card games, chess etc.? 

I guess for football, it's a more popular sport, and you can meet 10 to 20 people in a game, and you might play with new teams every week. It's easier to talk about football to anyone, you can ask which team you support etc. For card games or chess I guess it's a smaller group.

8) To what extent do the amateur players you have interviewed support local professional football? 

I didn't ask them about that, but judging by the jerseys they wear, most of them support European football :)

9) How do you think local professional football can be more inspiring for local amateur players?
I guess in the Malaysia Cup days from the 1970s-1990s, that was the height of popularity for local football. They weren't even full professionals then, but everyone wanted to be Fandi Ahmad, Quah Kim Song or Steven Tan. Nowadays, only when we win a Malaysia or Asean cup, or when players like Safuwan Baharudin play overseas, then we get a buzz or hype. I hope to see more of these!

More links on 'Homeground': Official Webpage / Facebook / Peatix 
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