Production Talk with Derrick Lui on '1400'

1400 is a labour of love over 5 years by Director/Producer Derrick Lui as his first feature. Set in a hotel, we get to see 4 loosely-linked stories of love. Featuring a range of characters as diverse as young PMEBs to a middle-aged uncle and even a foreigner, we get to see love in its full glory, warts and all.

Director Derrick Lui has kindly agreed to do an interview with Sindie for his film, 1400, that was screened at GV Vivocity on 11th February 2016.

1. Derrick, you started your first feature on a micro-budget over quite a long period of time. How was the production process? I'm sure there must have been some interesting stories!
It was a long and arduous process. No one knows on the 3rd day of production, i almost broke down as i was exhausted, doing too many jobs at the same time.

2. What were some of the challenges you met in raising finances for this film?
I spent 5 years meeting everyone i knew in the industry, trying to raise money and do a film the proper way.
The problem was i wanted to make 1400 without a script, and no one will assist without seeing a script!

3. I noticed that you went so far as to produce not one but two music videos for 1400. Why did you decide to make these MVs and do they reveal anything about the film?
The 2 MVs featured original songs sang by Tay Kewei. I felt the songs were refreshing, and the 2 MVs were good ways to introduce the songs. The songs were specifically written for 2 stories in the film, so they do reveal the respective shots from the stories.

4. Did you have any difficulties or surprises in casting for your film? Were there any interesting responses when they read the script?
I think the most tricky casting job was the role of a prostitute. I didn't want a girl to play a showy outgoing character. Instead, i wanted the prostitute to be introvert and tired of the job, somebody that wouldnt mind doing bed scenes, yet will be able to play a character that the audience will feel pity for.

5. This film was inspired by 3 of your close friends' troubles with romance. Aren't you terrified that they will knock on your door once they find out that your film is based on them?
So far they haven't knocked on my door :) To be honest the stories were inspired, but they were all improved somewhat to be more interesting.

6. Which of the 4 stories is your favourite? Is there anything we should look out for?
This is a difficult question. It's like asking me which of my 4 children is my favourite? The answer is i like them all :)
Each story deals with different characters with different age ranges in different situations. Based on the Gala, the responses were you will like at least 2 stories if not all!

7. You said previously that while you were glad to have attended film festivals with 1400, you were hoping to get this film distributed in Singapore. Were there any difficulties getting it certified?
Yes, if you make a film without a recognised movie company or producer behind it, it is very difficult to get a theatrical release.

8. Now that we've had the gala premiere, when can everyone else get to see this in theatres?
We're still in discussions about a theatrical release.

9. 1400 won Best Feature Film in flEXiff 2015 of Sydney, Australia. Please tell us about the audience in Australia. Were there any interesting responses at Montreal or any other film festival screenings?
Strangely enough, whether the audience was in Montreal, Sydney or Singapore, they all reacted the same way at appropriate times. They did surprise me a bit with their preference of stories and characters though. But it was universal. Good films and stories should be able to evoke emotions in any culture.

Here is some feedback from people who watched 1400

“One of the films to watch in 2016!,

“1400 is fervently performed, poetically written and uncompromisingly directed!” -- Vahid Vahed, flEXiff Curator

“I am impressed with the script, I do like the way 1400 was able to penetrate into many layers of protagonists emotions. The male character(s), their emotions are powerful, which is very good!”  -- Ruey Wei, Festival des Films du Monde

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