ShoutOUT!: Singapore Lift-Off Film Festival happening this weekend

Still from 'The Missing Words' by Khalishan Liang and Nurliyana A.R

This weekend, you will be spoilt for choices in films. Apart from Singapore Short Cuts at the National Museum, the Singapore Lift-Off Film Festival is also on and it promises a exciting crop of features and short films.

Singapore Lift-Off is one of the ten Lift-Off Film Festivals spread throughout the year. The Lift-Off Film Festival Global Network has a unique model which is nothing like any other film festival, it connects filmmakers to industry people like regional and international sales agents, distributors and talent managers as well as potential distribution agreements across multiple platforms.
Here are the event details:
Singapore Lift-Off Film Festival
21 - 24 October at GV Plaza
Ticket Price: $5 (SFS Members) / $6 (Public) 

Check out the full programme here
Current active Lift-Off Cities

Hong Kong Manchester Tokyo New York Vancouver Los Angeles Amsterdam Paris Sydney London

We spoke to some of the Singapore filmmakers whose films are featured in this series, Dagomir Kaszlikowski for ‘Ketetapan’ and Khalishan Liang and Nurliyana A.R for ‘The Missing Words’.

‘The Missing Words’ by Khalishan Liang and Nurliyana A.R

What is ‘The Missing Words about?
“The Missing Words” is about real life experience of the Directors, a husband and wife team. Khalishan Liang came to Singapore with his parents as migrants from China, but he remained in Singapore to continue his studies and was enlisted to the Singapore Army before he eventually sworn in to become a Singapore Citizen. He integrated well into the society enough to find love with a local Malay girl( Dir. Nurliyana A.R). This film highlights the difficulty the couple went through when Khalishan’s disapproving mom visited him in Singapore. “The Missing Words” also features a short sequence of classic stop-motion animation.

In documenting your personal lives, what were the greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge of this film was that, the main characters were acting as themselves. Having to hear or to repeat some negative things that were said about each other, infront of each other was awkward. Yana, whom my mother tried to ask me to stop having relations with in this film, was also directing. In one scene, she had to direct my mother who has a dialogue based on her strong disapproval of Yana herself. Yana told my mom to remember those feelings she had towards her, which was resentment. To see them both amicably settled and laughing about it despite the actual negative past was a moment of serendipity.

Was it difficult to remain completely honest in front of camera?

It was really difficult, especially for my mother. She had mentioned many times that it was difficult for her to say her lines because it reflects her feelings in relation to that episode in the past, which she no longer identifies with. She felt embarassed to a certain extent, but the love for me and my passion to make this film makes it easier to just go through the filming with only good intentions.
‘The Missing Words’ will be screened under Shorts Programme 1
Saturday 22nd October, 7 - 8.45pm
@ Golden Village Plaza Singapura Hall 4

The Missing Words 2016 Trailer from Niu Pictures on Vimeo.

‘Ketetapan’ by Dagomir Kaszlikowski
 What is ‘Ketetapan’ about?

‘Ketetapan’ tells a story about an interracial couple who struggles with their cultural differences that run deeper than they thought. It’s a very personal film based on factual events and touches upon issues not often discussed in Singapore.

What spawned the idea for the film?
‘Ketetapan’ which means decision in Malay, is a film based on a true story. I heard the story from a friend of mine. This is the kind of a story that openly speaks about cultural differences that influence our lives here in Singapore. Sometimes we can find solutions but not always and this is what makes life interesting. C’est la vie as the saying goes. 
In the film, the couple fights about an issue that makes them fundamentally different and we don’t know if they will ever find a common ground. This is not necessarily a bad thing as very often in life there is an ongoing dialogue stemming from different ideas and convictions. Such a dialogue can only be good as long as there is mutual respect and a will to compromise. 

What were the challenges in making this film?
Most of the film is shot in a moving car. This isn’t an easy task, especially in Singapore, where private car towing is not allowed. I had to ask Nessa Anwar and Kamil Haque, two characters in the film, to act and drive at the same time. They did an excellent job that shows how good they are at their craft. In big budget films, cars are towed and actors can fully concentrate on acting, which makes things much easier for them.

For me as a director and cinematographer, the main technical challenge was dealing with exposure (levels of light coming into the camera). Shots in the car were done without me being inside the car so I couldn’t adjust exposure and it was crucial to choose appropriate locations with more or less constant lighting. As usual, in indie filmmaking, good preparation is 80% of success. Part of the preparation was extensive rehearsals with my actors. We spent several days rehearsing in Kamil’s acting school, Haque Center for Acting and Creativity. This paid off handsomely when we went to shoot on the set.      
‘Ketetapan’ will be screened under Shorts Programme 2
Monday 24th October, 7 - 8.45pm
@ Golden Village Plaza Singapura Hall 4

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