STOP10 Oct 2017: 'Chiak' by Moonmen - GV25 Finalist

Still from 'Chiak' by Moonmen

It has been 25 years since Golden Village has opened its very first theatre in Yishun and to celebrate their 25 Year Anniversary, Golden Village has launched the GV25 Film Shorts filmmaking competition where aspiring filmmakers are to submit their applications based on the very apt theme  of ‘The Past, Present and Future.’ Check out our post on the competition earlier this year.

Mentored by either of three local film directors Boris Boo (Lucky Boy), Kelvin Tong (The Maid), or the Singaporean YouTubers Tree Potatoes, three applicants were shortlisted and given a grant of $2,000 to produce their short film over the time span of three months. Their films are available for viewing in this link and public voting for the films takes place from 10 to 16 October with the finale event on 30 October. The winning short will be screened at GV cinemas from 9 November and the winning team will receive a cash prize of $3,000.

In an interview, we had the opportunity to speak with each of the three teams regarding their film and the experience that this project had given them. 

Gathered by team director, Joshuah Lim to achieve his dream to direct a short film, the group Moonmen was born. With the help of mentor Boris Boo, the team have been working on Chiak, a film about a hawker who develops dementia and how his son copes with his father’s disease. 

What kinds of films does the team generally enjoy watching and how have they influenced the development of Chiak? 

We generally enjoy films that are well thought out, either with the use of the script itself or cinematography. Some of our favourite directors include Edgar Wright, The Coen Brothers and even Quentin Tarantino So it’s really hard to put what movies we like by genre but rather we enjoy more of the unique style some of the directors listed above have.

I understand that one of your team members has gone through a life-threatening ordeal, how has that life experience shaped the direction and tone of Chiak?

I guess going through chemo really shaped and gave me an insight on how the patient and love ones really struggle with a disease. It allowed me to quickly understand the emotional tone I wanted for certain scenes, I was able to better visualize certain shots base of some of the memories I had when I was struggling. 

Emotions such as tiredness, loneliness and perseverance were really prominent when I was going through chemo, that said however, I learned to enjoy the simple happy moments with my love ones. Such as a simple meal. It wasn't really about the meal but rather the company and "sacred time" when all the impeding issues disappear for a moment and we can just enjoy each other’s company.

Was it difficult to write and adapt a story about dementia in a manner that is not only dramatic and entertaining but still respectful to the caretakers and the patients suffering under the disease?

Yes. that was one of concerns we had with the film. We really wanted to try to be fair to all caretakers and patients suffering it. But from the stories we heard and even our own experiences we learned that each struggle is different and with a different ending. That is why instead of simply mashing everything together, we decided to draw reference from one or two personal experiences as a backbone for our film. 

Can you tell us about your journey through the production of the film? What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome it? Any surprises?

It was challenging at first, us being one of the more younger groups to take up this project. Thankfully we worked together in polytechnic so we knew each other’s working styles and strengths. The challenging aspect for us was actually the script writing and also the planning of the film. But we managed to keep our cool and delegate work accordingly. With the help of our mentor Boris Boo we managed to enhance our script and finally editing it to something that we are really proud of.

Can you describe the process and your feelings working with your mentor on the film? What do you think can be taken away from this experience?

It was a good process, we managed to meet a few times and in each of the meeting our mentor was really helpful and insightful. He really was able to see some of the gems in the film and also taught us on how to polish it to become even better. Overall, we have gained much insight not only in directing but in editing and script writing as well. 

Look out for Chiak online soon!
Interview by Timothy Ong

For the full list of October 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here.
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