STOP10 Oct 2017: 'Sugar' by The Apex Project - GV25 Finalist
Film still from 'Sugar' by The Apex Project

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 from this link and public voting for the films take place from 10 to 16 October with the finale event on 30 October. The winning short will be screened at GV cinemas from 9th 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. 

The team The Apex Project was solely an a-cappella group before their endeavour into filmmaking. Now, mentored by Kelvin tong, they have been working on Sugar, a picture that explores a mother and daughter's struggles to reconcile conflicting emotions created by misunderstandings and words unspoken. 

I understand that the film, Sugar in its core, is a story about a mother and daughter and their struggles. What was it that inspired the team to make a film on this story?

This story is inspired by one of the songs in our EP under the same title. It is a song about wanting to preserve the love that only a mother can give. Most of us are blessed with a good relationship with our mothers but while exploring the theme of past, present and future, we toyed with the idea of a relationship too broken to be mended and went along that vein. 

You usually make music. Why the sudden inspiration to take part in this and make a film?

Simply because we're storytellers; why stop at just music! 

Does the group’s background as an A-cappella group influence the style of the film? And in what ways? Possible to share a little on this?

A few of us have some background in musical theatre and film. Even within our a-cappella-based projects, we collaborate with each other to play up on our individual strengths. When it came to this film, we left the bulk of planning to those who were more inclined towards filmmaking and just checked in to make sure we're all on the same page before proceeding. 

Can you tell us about your journey through the production of the film? What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome it? How different was the process of making a film from singing in a group? Any surprises?

We realised new things about ourselves - like how our music director Cheeyang makes a great production manager because of his amazing micro-managing skills. We had to make a few compromises during our journey; We majorly changed our idea to a simpler one that we feel speaks more volumes but having to first accept that our initial idea wasn't good enough was a learning process itself. The biggest challenge was working with a 5-year old child. We had to cut shots to manage her level of focus and patience but thankfully, we made it work in the end with the edits. Making a film was like driving a car with no control over its steering wheel. With so many curveballs coming our way, the surprise is us managing to overcome them together. 

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?

Kelvin gave us great advice on our film. Our initial idea involved a car crash and many other aspects that may not have worked as well as we envisioned if we got down to it and we liked that he voiced it out to us. It is always good to learn from someone who has the experience to tell you what works and what doesn't yet at the same time has enough faith in you to let your creative juices flow. 

Any interesting moments or anecdotes to share about the real-life mother and daughter team playing mother and daughter in the film?

Jean and her mother Xia Hui are actually really close in real life and they used to act together in theatrical plays when Jean was a lot younger. The younger version of the lead character is played by Jean's niece. She was so terrified of the idea of having her grandmother pretend to scold her onscreen that she refused to be in the same room as Xia Hui when it was time to shoot that scene. Jean also jokingly made a remark saying that Xia Hui sounded exactly the same as when she used to her for being a naughty kid in the past.

Look out for Sugar online soon!

Interview by Timothy Ong

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