Watch the TIONG BAHRU trailer (http://wp.me/p1sFM4-V9) and book your tickets for the SWF screening!03.10.2011 | Posted by Dan Prichard
TIONG BAHRU at Singapore Writers Festival! http://civiclifetiongbahru.com/2011/09/29/tiong-bahru-at-singapore-writers-festival/02.10.2011 | Posted by admin
An apartment in the sky – public housing in Singapore: http://t.co/GQhz7F826.07.2011 | Posted by admin
TIONG BARHU on tour in Australia! http://t.co/gnyA9un19.07.2011 | Posted by admin
TIONG BAHRU is off around Australia, as part of the Travelling Sydney Film Festival. Details, here: http://civiclifetiongbahru.com/2011/07/19/tiong-bahru-on-tour-around-australia/
End of the line for Tanjong Pagar in a lovely tribute: http://t.co/ekx2CSJ01.07.2011 | Posted by admin
Singapore or Hong Kong? Who will emerge as Asia’s cultural hub? http://t.co/g4BcUTA28.06.2011 | Posted by admin
There’s something of an undeclared contest between Asia’s two city-states, Hong Kong, and Singapore, to be Asia’s premier ‘global city’. And a key way that both Hong Kong and Singapore are seeking to achieve this is through art and culture. Listen to ABC Radio National’s report here: http://t.co/g4BcUTA
Terra Incognita08.08.2010 | Posted by admin
Text and images by Alvin Pang
In my father’s head there is a map of Singapore quite different from mine, and entirely unlike the ever-dancing web of abstract colours in the official records, the bus and train stations, the increasingly unreliable street directory. His chart of the city is marked by stories and street legends, not signposts or landmarks. Like the key characters in tales, who do not often stay in one place, the settings shuffle about – without causing anxiety, as long as one has been following the plot.
So one locates Jalan Kayu by where the roti prata stalls are, and Satay Club is wherever the real satay is still being made. It is the sort of dynamic, grapevine-positioned sense of locality that results when roving street hawkers have had to elude the authorities but still keep the regulars coming back. Food is frequently the main protagonist in these narratives; the human characters are props to keep things moving along, interesting. The Hill Street Char Kway Teow is the one in Bedok as long as the same uncle – but not his wife – is cooking that day, but the Katong Laksa in Katong isn’t actually the real deal, because the one who inherited the secret recipe – the surviving partner, or second child, or favourite disciple – has branched out under a different brand. Ditto Fat Girl’s Fishball Mee (the noodles are still right but the soup is wrong; Fat Girl took it with her), the Crabmeat Fried Rice (one of the twin sisters died and the other sold out to a franchise), the Famous Nasi Padang (in a fit of professional envy a rival bought out the original stall and all its assistants, forcing the popular chef two doors down to a grubbier setup, unbeknownst to most customers). Nothing quite dies out so much as changes hands, addresses, signboards. The prime rib bak-kut-teh, the crayfish horfun, the dimsum that defined a district are gone, but gone where exactly?
Chances are, Dad knows where. As we drive around downtown, he waves at the location where hokkien prawn mee was first fried up by a hainanese ship’s cook in the Rochor area. The dish became popularly known as Rochor Mee, and eventually he had to abdicate his legacy to his hokkien assistants and clientele who dominated the area, but one of his descendants still serves up the much-acclaimed original recipe, reinserting “Hainanese” into the stall name for good measure (look in a Beach Road basement for the queue, the thin, greying uncle and the rave reviews by Japanese foodie magazines).
We revisit Tiong Bahru market for freshly steamed pau and raw fish congee; Damenlou hotel, where fishhead beehoon was conceived in the 1920s. Joo Chiat, where they still make fresh popiah skins by hand, beside the dusty old tea merchants and wok peddlars. He takes me to Geylang to see the red light district: an education, but also one of the best places, as in many cities, for late night suppers. We order teochew muair near Cambridge market; Dad reels off the names of the dishes, the many varieties of steamed fish and asks for a separate bowl of geng – plain starchy rice water – in our native tongue. The towkay neo, scowling but satisfied, gives him extra portions.
He points out where the street vendors and shophouses used to be around Bugis Street, Bras Basah Road, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Victoria Street, along the broad avenues and alleyways he used to walk on his way to school at the old Raffles Institution. We tussle with clubbers for parking on Liang Seah Street where he used to live and where he would catch rats to earn spare pocket money for wonton mee, then lower a basket jingling with coins from a dark third storey apartment window, lift it full of piping hot dinner and change. He nods at the former gangster boss who now serves the best kopi in Kallang, used to go swimming with his brother in the deep waters off the harbour. As boys they would dive next to passing ships, and once one of them failed to surface from the giant wake; his friends went down and down again to look for him in vain, finally had to tell his mother. There’s the corner (now a Starbucks) where my grandfather used to squat to take his dinner of plain rice and salted vegetables along with the river coolies in between lorry shifts. Changi beach, where Ah Kong was taken to be shot by the Japanese, but he fell in before the rifles went off, and clawed his way out from under the bodies at night, ran all the way back to town, survived. Near where the seafood restaurants are now, Dad says, that’s how you remember the spot.
It can be hard to know what fathers really want you to remember and hold on to, when all they do is show you, in a mad blur, everything they’ve kept in their heads without telling you which bit of it matters, or why. But I’d like to think that this storytelling is Dad’s way of encoding his memories of the city, and what it has meant in his life, to family, to us. There’s always going to be too much to keep track of. Love is unchartable territory; we renew its geographies every time we revisit its paths and gardens, and sit down for a good meal together, and leave crumbs.
What are the eating places that bring back special memories for you? Do you remember any that you were first brought to by loved ones?
Where are they now? Do you go back? And is the food just as you remember? When you taste it, what memories does it bring back?
Have you ever been in a foreign city and saw, heard or tasted something that reminded you of home? What was it?
Read Ng Yi-Sheng’s account of his family connections to Tiong Bahru here.
Read Angelia Poon’s article on the charms of Joo Chiat here.
Time and Tides19.08.2010 | Posted by admin
By Tessa Sheridan
Tessa Sheridan is a filmmaker, screenwriter and short story writer. She also tutors on the MA Screenwriting at London College of Communications and is the co-tutor on the joint British Council/MDA/Sinema screenwriting course, THE FIRST DRAFT. Here, she writes of her memories of growing up on the Thames.
People often claim that modern cities are soulless, busily erasing their memories of themselves. To me, that feels far from the truth.
I’ve lived all my life in London. I have a strong sense of my identity being fused with this big city and the countless ghosts of its past. But it’s not the solid stuff – the architecture, the streets, the monuments – that gives me this feeling.
I was born on the river Thames itself, on a sailing barge that once ferried coal up and down the West coast of England from Newcastle to London – coal to help run the machinery of a big Victorian city.
Living on the barge was like living on the back of a huge beast. As I crawled around on deck I could feel the river shifting below me. Half asleep, the Thames breathed in and out, its tides as reliable and regular as lungs. Every twelve hours there was a filling up and a falling away. A loss and a return. It was a funny kind of clock, but I thought everyone lived that way.
Then one day we moved onto land. It was a shock: brickwork and asphalt, roads and walls and corners. My world closed down, suddenly and without warning. For years I had squinted into the light while the Thames outwitted me. It never stuck around long, but it always came back. Now it was gone.
Ever since then I’ve felt a bit like a pirate on shore leave, waiting for the wind to rise and the signal to go back home.
As builders know, rivers go underground but you can’t get rid of them. So the Thames seeps back into all my work. I can’t seem to leave this place alone – like the tug of the tide, the further and faster I leave, the stronger is the call to return.
But OK, I have to admit – reluctantly – it’s not just my river. I’m sharing it with millions of others, before and with and after me. And if it belongs to all of us, or we belong to it, what part does it play in our sense of ourselves?
I don’t think of the Thames as the soul of London. To me it seems more like a vast and public memory-net. It’s London’s unconscious, powerful and discordant. Like a dream, it jumbles the tragic and the silly, the past and the present, the mud and the gold, and brings them back to us in strange new shapes.
Every day, century on century, someone dumps something in the river. Something they want to get rid of. The job of the Thames (we hope) is to take it away, make it unrememberable, untraceable. Yet despite our wishes, the river spits a little bit back with every turn of the tide. Flotsam is all the stuff we discard and disown, deny and forget – the stuff we don’t want to know and pretend we never did. As the water recedes it leaves behind on the shoreline clues, rags, fragments from a sunken world.
There’s any amount of stuff under our feet: ancient shoes, leather soles peeling away like dogs’ tongues; rusted weapons given the amnesty of water; offerings made to river gods; clay pipes; spoons full of mud; corroded boat machinery; stolen wallets and faded identity cards; broken bottles and bricks rubbed soft by the shingle.
There are modern additions too, in brighter colours – needles, rubber gloves, plastic floats nibbled by fish. But nearby on the shore a dog barks at a cow’s skull, dumped by the tributary where they used to slaughter the cattle. Even a casual rummage at low tide brings surprises (I found a 1799 penny and some lead shot fired by a musket).
And then there are the ghosts. Further down, sunken into the mud, are the human remains – Roman soldiers slaughtered by Boudicca’s army; the dead babies of Victorian prostitutes who weren’t allowed a Christian burial; the suicides who leapt and still leap from the bridges every now and then; the daft, drunken adolescents betting they can beat the tide at midnight. All of them preserved in London clay, all waiting their turn to prove they were here.
Maybe one day a tidal wave will dislodge them from their resting place and bring them bobbing to the surface for us to gawp and wonder at – then we can say hello again to our neighbours, our forgotten ancestors, the dispossessed and the unlucky and the just plain mad.
The drag of the tide is scary – it rises seven metres in a few hours; it empties like a big brown bath. It’s impossible to live with such a river without understanding your own irrelevance. None of us can own it or change it; no part of it belongs to me or carries my imprint.
So how is it that, when I stand on the shore and stare into the Thames, I know, along with the ghosts, that here is where I am – and who I am, too?
Tessa will be back in Singapore in September, along with colleague Kelly Marshall, to lead the second residential week of THE FIRST DRAFT. She also tutors on the MA Screenwriting at London College of Communications and is the co-tutor on the joint British Council/MDA/Sinema screenwriting course, THE FIRST DRAFT. Click here for more information on the THE FIRST DRAFT. To register your interest in the 2011 enrollement, email email@example.com, citing FIRST DRAFT in the subject line.
There will be a public information session on the programme at Sinema at the end of September.
Market Crossings28.09.2010 | Posted by admin
by Brian Cohen
Brian Cohen is the Creative Director of TRAX, an international arts collective whose projects have been unfolding around the world since 2004. His arts practice tends produces innovative cross-platform outcomes, namely live performance, digital cinema & site-specific installation. Brian is particularly concerned with cultural development and human ecology in projects which directly engage community members and invite citizen participants. In 2010 Market Crossings was published, a book profiling the arts & research outcomes of Market Value, a 2-year project in which Brian employed community-based arts practice as a tool to enable dialogue into urban renewal & community consultation.
The Preston Markets was one of the first places I went to when I arrived in Melbourne. A housemate took me there and I was immediately struck with the place. I remember as we were leaving how little indication there was of its existence from the traffic-packed artery that is St George’s Road. It was near a bend in the road and I wondered if I’d ever find it again.
Then in 2006 I was between projects and had been pushed further out due to rising rents and a new family. I found work at a shoe outlet in the Markets that was taking temporary shelter in the old Bi-Lo supermarket. During lunch breaks I would sit and watch the world go past, the signpost in the Market centre reading like a needle in a compass, the circus tent-like ceiling rolling like waves down all corridors. The more I sat there the more I began to think about how varied the experiences and world views within this small space must be.
About what would happen if these lives should collide and if our interactions were compelled to develop beyond the formality of politeness? This was the first time I’d felt at home since leaving New York and like many other migrants in the Market it was territory I felt comfortable in.
The theatre project I eventually directed there was born out of informal conversations. Conversations which revealed the outer perimeters of personal stories, the history of the place, and opinions on the Market’s future. Soon I settled on two sets of questions: the first set was aimed at bringing out the objective and analytical data from the Market community, the second set of questions was much more probing into the subjective and emotional experiences of the people in the Market. Questions were offered in the style of a game of 30 questions and (before they’d run off) we asked people to pick only three, any three numbers at all, and we would read its corresponding question from the list. My favourite questions were: “If you could change one thing in your past, what might that be?” and “Would you want your children to be like you when they grow up?”
Making it like a game took the pressure and attention off the weight of the questions at first, but like an involuntary reflex, people’s memories were triggered just by hearing the questions read aloud. In one instance a question took a man back to his childhood in China, his answer was a few simple words punctuated by a tear. Conversely, stories were sometimes so achingly funny I often forgot what I was there to do. Some of the poignant, peculiar and prosaic snippets of experiences were introduced into the storyboard with express permission from their owners. A few traders and patrons would approach me after the show and pick out their contribution to the narrative unbeknownst to the wider audience. In this way the anonymity of the contributors was kept intact, whilst all the events, which occurred within the space of the bigger arc of the story, are all true.
In creating the play we set out to encompass the broader story and themes of the Market and cloak it within a stand-alone fictional narrative. But this approach was not without its challenges. There were times the scripted choices of characters within the fictional narrative had to be altered to sync with the reality of their counterparts as they exist in the Market. The reverse happened as well. It was a delicate balancing act that was stitched together in large part by Zorro, the Market trader who also played a market trader within the play. Being The Patriarch, he ultimately had the last word on the cauldron of love and conflict that spun in The Strand.
On a personal level, it is very difficult to reach across the width of my experience here at the Market. Relationships, which were handshakes two years ago, are now true friendships. Many of the 500 plus community here have genuinely begun to gain a sense of market value through this project. The functional power of art lies in its potential to transform naïve dreams into solid human relationships.
The Market is filled with people who have skills and experience in areas of life you would never expect. Jason, an older Greek grocer, advised me that whilst I stage the play I should remember “the economy of space”. It turns out he was a prominent director in Athens. Zorro, from Zorro’s Records, told me the first day he couldn’t act … but he could be natural. The professional actors couldn’t help but be bewildered at his ability to capture the audience’s imagination on stage. The synchronicity abounds; each person in this place is a possible cross-pollination point, a friend, a lover, a colleague, an enemy. My mind is racing with the faces, words and ideas that populate this community.
Through the production we hope the people who live, work and shop here have recognised a version of the Market they know. For new visitors we hoped they would learn more about this place than they ever bargained for, and for many we wanted to find catharsis and empowerment in hearing the conflicts within finally named aloud and publicly.
It is a tribute to a place whose structure has been invested with meaning by a community for 38 years. Generations are just now remembering themselves here. Eventually everything changes. Through this production we tried to communicate the spirit of a community in a significant time of change.
Of Short Films and Festivals22.07.2010 | Posted by admin
Mark Cosgrove is the Creative Director of Encounters International Film Festival and has worked in independent cultural film exhibition for the past 22 years. He is no stranger to the Singapore film scene, having championed the work of Royston Tan, Boo Junfeng and Anthony Chen amongst others, and visited Singapore in 2008 to explore building connections with the Singapore film industry. Here he writes about what he considers makes a good short film, and the importance of festivals for emerging filmmakers.
“There are no hard and fast rules as to what makes a good short film. This is both the excitement and the problem! Excitement because anything is possible and for a curator/festival programmer good short films can come in all shapes and sizes; Problem because short filmmakers are eager to know the solution and of course make a good film and………..there is no answer!
As a matter of course, I watch somewhere in the region of 4 – 500 short films – out of the staggering 1500 plus submissions that the festival receives each year – in preparation for our short film festival Encounters and Watershed’s 90 second filmmaking competition DepicT!.
What is interesting in this process is that the very bad films and the very good films stand out. There is a whole raft in the middle which cause me trouble because I’m uncertain; and that uncertainty is what makes them interesting. As I write this, I think back to the early days when I was selecting for Encounters. I started watching a short and thought this is bad, just not working, but something held my attention – I still don’t know what that was, maybe an image, a phrase, a feeling – and it turned out to be one of my favourite films of the festival.
What I want from a film is to feel a conviction – a conviction from the filmmaker that they have a confidence – or maybe attitude is a better word – in relation to the image, the sound, the dialogue.
This does not mean it has to be the most eloquently crafted or written. I have seen short films where the director is simply saying “look, I can direct actors in a scene or where they are speaking dialogue and it is reverse cut” but for me there has been a major thing missing – no emotion, no feeling, no passion.
The strength of short films is that filmmakers can experiment. There are usually less constraint in the short film world. With feature films comes the need for more money and with more money comes more constraints and compromise. In the short film world, I see riches of experimentation, not only formally but filmmakers trying out stories. One of the finest films from last year was from a Polish director telling of human trafficking from china to Poland. This is not a story that will easily make its way into the feature film world. The rough diamond is maybe a cliché but for me it is what I am searching for when going through the 4 – 500 short films – new talent, new voices, new visions.
But let’s get back to hard facts: festivals only have a limited amount of space in their programme and every festival gets submitted way more films than they have space. Festival programmers get to be in a bit of a luxurious position! I always say to filmmakers if their film does not get selected, it is not necessarily because it is bad. Festivals and festival programmers have tastes, personalities and finite space. It is worth researching the many festivals around the world and getting a sense of what they are looking for.
My other piece of advice is to attend as many festivals as you can – even if your film did not get accepted. The film and media business is about networking and festivals, if they are worth their weight, are important places to network. The industry needs to renew itself and find out where the new talent is coming from.
Short film festivals in particular have an important function to platform and promote that talent. It’s by being there that things happen.
Some further thoughts from Singaporean filmmakers on why going to festivals counts:
“It matters because this path we take can be crazy, sweet, gut-wrenching, blood-curdling, lonely, ugly, full of sadness, laughter and beauty, so it makes hell of a lot of sense when we meet kindred spirits at such festivals and take comfort in the madness of dreamers and idealists, far from the madding crowd of pragmatic, conservative, sex-starved film capitalists.” Sherman Ong
“Traveling to film festivals with my works was an important part of my growth as a filmmaker. Being able to present my films to audiences internationally and interacting with filmmakers from around the world have allowed me to see my own works from various perspectives.” Boo Junfeng
“Film Festivals are one of the best places to put your film to the test.” Victric Thng
“Apart from making film, I think it is equally important to watch as many films and that is an important reason why I attend film festivals. It is a great platform where most critical and important pieces of work are presented, and that is the place to get inspired and motivated. Getting to meet very talented people, besides from the creative industry, but attendees as well from very diverse backgrounds, talking to them makes me grow as a storyteller and animation filmmaker. It seems to me unhealthy if someone is working in a vacuum, out of context and closed from other influences and inspirations. I remember vividly meeting a Chinese animation filmmaker at the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film. As we are parting ways, she said we will meet eventually again at other festivals in the future as long as we keep on making our films. There are so many filmmakers who share the passion for animation and films, and meeting them gives me an additional purpose and meaning in my career that encourages me to work even harder; to make better animation for the audiences and peers who gather together annually at a single event.” Animator Tan Wei Keong
“Film festivals create an environment for creative exchanges where people have the same goals and speak the same language. It is more than an opportunity for networking, it is a chance for friendships to develop – the kind that may take you through your entire career, the kind that you need when the business of film fails you and the all you’re holding onto your passion.” Programmer and Objectifs co-founder Yuni Hadi
Take part in our microshort film competiton, WHERE THE HEART IS, a collaboration with DepicT!, and win a trip to Encounters. Details can be found here, and see some great entries from previous DepicT! years here.
Don’t miss a vibrant and dynamic selection of the very best short films to come out of the UK last year, curated by Mark and showing as part of the 6th Singapore Short Film Festival on Thursday 2nd September.
TIONG BAHRU and WHERE THE HEART IS at the NATIONAL MUSEUM07.10.2010 | Posted by admin
The screening programme for the WHERE THE HEART IS screenings at the National Museum has been announced. See below for details.
Each programme includes a screening of TIONG BAHRU, and the winning films in The People’s Choice award (WHEN THE DAY BEGINS by Prashant Somosundram) and The Jury Prize section (Isazaly Mohamed Isa’s CORRIDOR), along with two other films which received Special Mention, Stephane Laserre’s WHERE THE HEART WAS and Tang Kang Sheng’s REMEMBER.
Tickets are free of charge and are issued from 6.30pm (12, 19 & 26 October) at the Front of House outside the Gallery Theatre, Basement on the same day of the screening on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tuesday, 12th October, 7.30pm
Corridor (Jury Prize Winner)
Remember (Jury Prize Special Mention)
Where The Heart Was (Jury Prize Special Mention)
When The Day Begins (The People’s Choice)
Miniature Town: Potong Pasir
The Stone Table
Mandarin Gardens 2010
Boxes And Lines
Tuesday, 19th October, 7.30pm
Corridor (Jury Prize Winner)
Remember (Jury Prize Special Mention)
Where The Heart Was (Jury Prize Special Mention)
When The Day Begins (The People’s Choice)
Swing Me Back
Home (Esna Ong)
The Neighbourhood Shops Are Where The Heart Is
Are We There Yet?
Tuesday, 26th October, 7.30pm
Corridor (Jury Prize Winner)
Remember (Jury Prize Special Mention)
Where The Heart Was (Jury Prize Special Mention)
When The Day Begins (The People’s Choice)
I Am Home …
Home (Wilson Tan)
Dancing On Waterloo Street
The trailer for TIONG BAHRU01.10.2010 | Posted by admin
The world premiere of TIONG BAHRU takes place at the National Museum of Singapore on Tuesday 5th October, with a preview for cast and crew and their friends and families the day before in Tiong Bahru. We have seen the final cut and are so excited to share the film with you.
Screening dates are as follow:
Tuesday 5th October – 7.30 pm | Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum (invitation only)
Tuesday 12th October – 7.30 pm | Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum (Public performance)
Tuesday 19th October – 7.30 pm | Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum (Public performance))
Tuesday 26th October – 7.30 pm | Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum (Public performance)
Tickets are issued from 6.30pm (12, 19 & 26 October) at the Front of House outside the Gallery Theatre, Basement on the same day of the screening on a first-come, first-served basis.
Joe, Christine, the crew and their fantastic cast, have done terrific work. We hope you will enjoy it.
Public screening details to follow shortly!
See this sneak trailer here, hinting at the magic to come:
For iPad, iPhone, Flash and beyond, click here:
For all other formats, see below.
Also, here, watch a documentary about the whole process:
TIONG BAHRU: The Exhibition03.10.2010 | Posted by admin
Taking place at the Tiong Bahru market from Saturday 2nd October to Sunday 10th October, the TIONG BAHRU photo exhibition documents the three days in June 2010 when Tiong Bahru market and hawker centre was transformed into a movie set, with the help of UK-based filmmakers Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, and 150 volunteers from the community. Featuring over 50 beautiful images by production photographers Samantha Tio and Alecia Neo, the exhibition celebrates the community spirit of our volunteers, without which the project would not have been possible.
The resulting film, TIONG BAHRU, is screened at the National Museum of Singapore at 7.30 pm every Tuesday night in October. Tickets are issued from 6.30pm (12, 19 & 26 October) at the Front of House outside the Gallery Theatre, Basement on the same day of the screening on a first-come, first-served basis.
See the TIONG BAHRU trailer here: www.civiclife.sg/
Thanks to John Common for the images.
WHERE THE HEART IS
Our micro-short film competition has produced extraordinary results. See the winners here.
TIONG BAHRU: Cast Preview! Monday, 4th October 2010, Tiong Bahru and World Premiere, Tuesday, 5th October 2010.05.10.2010 | Posted by admin
Cast, crew, friends and family joined filmmaker Joe Lawlor for a sneak preview of TIONG BAHRU on Monday, one day before its official world premiere at the National Museum of Singapore. Over 300 people from the local community came along to see themselves and their friends on the big screen and the film did not disappoint. The stunning vistas taken from the roof of the carpark of the Tiong Bahru were matched only by the beautiful portraits Joe, Christine and Director of Photography Daniel Low had made of the community, whose appearances were met with sighs, giggles and excited whispers. Host Chua En Lai added a bit of extra sparkle to the evening while the first screening ended with a loud round of applause. Joe then answered questions about the film, alongside TIONG BAHRU producer Dan Prichard, and the film was then screened again, so that the cast could once again enjoy their Hollywood moment.
The following night, the film moved on to the National Museum, where it received its official world premiere. Filmmakers Prashant Somosundram, Isazaly Mohamed Isa, Stephan Laserre and Tang Kang Sheng received their prizes, and the film was again introduced by director Joe Lawlor.
All cast members will receive in due course a DVD of the film, while TIONG BAHRU plays at the National Museum for consecutive Tuesdays across October (screening details here). It then heads to the UK for a 20 venue tour, premiering at the Encounters Short Film Festival in Bristol and opening also in London. An international tour is being planned, bringing TIONG BAHRU to audiences around the world.
Thanks again to our fantastic cast for believing in the project. Watch the trailer here.
A Signing Off25.10.2010 | Posted by admin
By Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor
With just one final screening to go (7.30pm, Tuesday 26th October at the National Museum) we thought we’d use this opportunity to enter one final blog on the project (don’t hold us to that though!!).
The TIONG BAHRU community film has already screened three times at the National Museum of Singapore. The audience numbers thus far have been incredibly high. Certainly beyond our expectations. We think much of this has also to do with the programme that has been put together by the team. After all, this is not just about the Tiong Bahru community film but also the specially selected films that Singaporean film makers have contributed through the WHERE THE HEART IS competition. In our opinion, the evenings make for compelling viewing as a collective response to the significance that place has in people’s lives. Audiences seem to be getting a lot from the screening events.
Hopefully you will read this and decide to go before it all finishes this Tuesday.
But what we really wanted to talk about has been the reaction to the short film we have made. Between the special preview that was arranged for the residents of Tiong Bahru at the GV at Tiong Bahru Plaza and the three screenings at the National Museum the responses have been both positive but also very interesting.
In our experience, you are more likely to hear positive responses from audiences to your face. I guess we’re like that too. If we like something we like to tell the makers we enjoyed and appreciated what they have done. For Tiong Bahru there has been no shortage of this. But rather than highlighting the positives we want to focus on some negative comments. This might sound crazy. Why would we want to do that you may ask? Well, we have no problem whatsoever with detractors. Indeed we welcome them as these can be very constructive. However, almost all of the negative comments we have read are not productive but rather bewildering as they say little about the Tiong Bahru film and much about the writers themselves.
We have read a few online responses from Singaporeans in various blogs that seem to be quite preoccupied by our ‘ang moh’ or ‘foreigner’ status. These texts reveal a certain prejudice about the fact that ‘ang mohs’ like us are coming into their country to do something that they could just as easily do themselves. Indeed this prejudice utterly blinds them to making any objective and aesthetic judgement.
Now, we’re not going to dwell upon the borderline xenophobic tones in the texts but it does bring to mind that this is very much at odds with our experience of working in Singapore.
We have come across a very open, positive and energetic range of people who desire to engage with their culture and to use the tools of cinema to do this. As we can see from the unbelievable responses to the film competition this is a fact. We also want the reader not to get the impression we want to hit back at these people who are negative about the project. Instead we’re using their comments to highlight a more important concern. Namely, a concern that if a culture is to be vibrant it is contingent on writers, artists, cultural facilitators to work to a high standard and without cynicism or fear and to continually to reach out. Qualities, from our experience, which Singapore has lots of.
In science and business, education and pretty much every other walk of life, exchanging ideas and building partnerships with people from around the world is central to the development of any endeavor and nowhere more so than in the production of cinema. As Irish people, coming (like Singapore) from a small island with a similar population, it would be very easy to be quite introspective and to develop an inferiority complex. Instead we can see that this is not the case and that the vast bulk of Singaporeans we have come across are very outward looking people. They fully understand that the future is actually contingent upon looking out and forging a greater sense of the international. They have nothing to fear from ang mohs like us (actually until recently we used this term ourselves and even felt it was funny but in these articles it took on a nasty and destructive tone).
We mention all of this because perhaps the central aim of our coming to Singapore was to forge relationships and to exchange ideas. We certainly have come away with many positives and hope we have left some behind also.
We recall one evening in particular when we were at a graduation event at LASALLE and we both looked around and could see all of these young graduates in fine art, film, graphic art, fashion and we wondered about their potential employment prospects. Clearly, with such fantastic buildings as the LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore is taking cultural industries seriously and we sense a key moment in Singapore’s cultural development taking place right now. So this is not a time for introspection or defensiveness or wariness of outsiders. Indeed many of these graduates will seek employment away from Singapore and in turn will feel back, osmosis like, into the cultural fabric of Singapore. Again the sense of the international.
As we can see from the wonderful short films that have been submitted to WHERE THE HEART IS and the people we have met from all walks of live when making TIONG BAHRU the future looks very positive indeed and we will be watching with great interest the films (feature or shorts) that come out of a country we have grown very fond of.
Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor, Sunday 24th October 2010
TIONG BAHRU screens for the final time in Singapore at 7.30 on Tuesday 26th October. It will receive its UK premiere on Friday November 19th at the Encounters Short Film Festival, before embarking on a 20 venue UK tour, screening alongside other work from Joe and Christine’s CIVIC LIFE series. Tour details will be published here.
TIONG BAHRU in London, Holland and on DVD!26.01.2011 | Posted by admin
TIONG BAHRU, the acclaimed short film by leading London-based filmmakers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy, will be premiering in London this Monday (31st January) at the Renoir Cinema in Bloomsbury, bringing a little piece of Singapore to UK audiences. And we are offering YOU a chance to win a LIMITED EDITION DVD copy of the film for yourself.
Monday 31st is the first night of a UK tour that will take in ten major cities (more are being added by Joe and Christine in the next couple of weeks). Joe and Christine are thrilled at being able to share with people all over the UK their beautiful portrait of one of Singapore’s most famous hawker centres (soon to be more famous still!) and the people who work, visit and live in the area. See the trailer below:
Over this weekend, the film played to full houses at the prestigious Rotterdam Film Festival, before commencing a run at one of the leading artshouse cinemas in Europe, Den Filmhuis in The Hague. More international festival playdates are currently being lined up.
Shot on widescreen 35mm in June 2010, the film stars over 150 residents of Singapore’s famous art deco heritage estate of Tiong Bahru, and follows 3 characters over the course of a day as they make momentous decisions. In the UK, the film will be screened alongside other films of the CIVIC LIFE series, Joe and Christine’s awardwinning body of work exploring place, memory and belonging, which has been screened at festivals around the world. Joe and Christine will be at the premiere and the screening is followed by a reception organised by the Singapore International Foundation. See Joe and Christine talk about the making of the film here.
Find out the full details of the UK tour here, while also do visit the Rotterdam Film Festival site. If you have friends or family in any of the cities that TIONG BAHRU will be showing at over the coming months, do let them know and encourage them to come along.
The DVD of TIONG BAHRU will be ready shortly, and we will be letting you know where you can find copies but we have 100 limited edition copies of the film to give away.
The DVD contains the film TIONG BAHRU, along with 19 of the shortlisted films from our WHERE THE HEART IS competition, and a souvenir booklet of images and fascinating essays by poet Alvin Pang, playwright and poet Ng Yi-Sheng and journalist Shzr Ee Tan.
Please note, the DVD will NOT be available to purchase so this may be the only opportunity you will have to get your own copy.
For a chance to win, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with DVD in the subject line by 5.00pm February 28th, 2011.*
Winners will be drawn at random and will be notified by email. Good luck!
Once again, a big thanks to everyone involved in the project and our congratulations to Joe and Christine for a job well done!
(Read an interview with Joe and Christine about the Civic Life series in this month’s Sight & Sound here: http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/featuresandinterviews/interviews/civic-life.php)
* This competition is open to current residents of Singapore only.
POTONG PASIR, JURONG EAST, TIONG BAHRU: on their way to SYDNEY!24.05.2011 | Posted by admin
19 short films from Singapore are on their way to the Sydney Film Festival, to be featured in an open-air screening in Sydney’s main square, Martin Place, in June.
Potong Pasir, Jurong East, the East Coast and Portsdown Road are just some of the places that make up this fascinating portrait of Singapore’s physical and emotional landscape.
The 19 films were the top films selected by the jury of last year’s WHERE THE HEART IS film competition, which complemented the making of the CIVIC LIFE film, TIONG BAHRU, by directors Joe Lawlor and Christine Mollloy.
TIONG BAHRU will also be showing at Sydney Film Festival in June, playing alongside acclaimed UK documentary feature THE ARBOR, as well as part of the complete CIVIC LIFE works screening at the Art Gallery of NSW. The compilation will also be previewed at Carriageworks, in collaboration with Performance Space.
Both screenings will be introduced by co-director Joe Lawlor, who will also be leading workshops at Metro Screen and ICE in Sydney, as well as taking part in a discussion around the role of art in fostering communities at Creative Sydney.
Prior to the Sydney TIONG BAHRU screenings, Joe will be previewing the CIVIC LIFE work in a special screening at ACMI in Melbourne, organised with the support of the Singapore International Foundation, and leading a masterclass for young filmmakers. Joe will also be heading out to Footscray Community Arts Centre to talk to artists and community leaders there about the CIVIC LIFE process.
In both cities, Joe will be posing the question: where in Sydney and Melbourne should a CIVIC LIFE project take place? And who would like to take part?
A full listing of the WHERE THE HEART IS films to be shown at the Sydney Film Festival can be found here.
If you are resident in Australia, find out how you could win a copy of the TIONG BAHRU DVD, featuring the Top 19 WHERE THE HEART IS films, here. If you are in Singapore, contact your local branch of the NLB to ask about borrowing the DVD from the end of May.
TIONG BAHRU in Melbourne & Sydney05.06.2011 | Posted by admin
Do share with your friends and family Down Under.
Behind The Scenes, On Architecture, On Community, On Film, On Food, On Identity, On Literature, On Visual Arts, Project Updates
TIONG BAHRU in Sydney. Visit www.civiclifetiongbahru.com for info08.06.2011 | Posted by admin
Singapore on ABC National Radio.13.06.2011 | Posted by admin
Sketches of Tiong Bahru: http://t.co/y4r6BPJ23.06.2011 | Posted by admin
TIONG BAHRU is off to Paris! http://civiclifetiongbahru.com/14.11.2011 | Posted by Dan Prichard
The Top 19 films from the Where The Heart Is film competition are off to Perth! www.civiclifetiongbahru.com23.10.2011 | Posted by Dan Prichard
http://vimeo.com/24363756 Only a handful of tickets for TIONG BAHRU at SWF left!13.10.2011 | Posted by Dan Prichard
TIONG BAHRU is off to Poland! And only a handful of tickets left for the Singapore Writers Festival screening. www.civiclifetiongbahru.com.08.10.2011 | Posted by Dan Prichard
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
We want to know what you think about the ideas behind Civic Life.
Leading artists, writers, architects and thinkers will be giving us their take on the Civic Life themes through this blog. Read what they have to say and then share your views with us!
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LATEST BLOG POSTS
- TIONG BAHRU is off to Paris! http://civiclifetiongbahru.com/
- The Top 19 films from the Where The Heart Is film competition are off to Perth! www.civiclifetiongbahru.com
- http://vimeo.com/24363756 Only a handful of tickets for TIONG BAHRU at SWF left!
- TIONG BAHRU is off to Poland! And only a handful of tickets left for the Singapore Writers Festival screening. www.civiclifetiongbahru.com.
- Watch the TIONG BAHRU trailer (http://wp.me/p1sFM4-V9) and book your tickets for the SWF screening!
- TIONG BAHRU at Singapore Writers Festival! http://civiclifetiongbahru.com/2011/09/29/tiong-bahru-at-singapore-writers-festival/
- An apartment in the sky – public housing in Singapore: http://t.co/GQhz7F8
- TIONG BARHU on tour in Australia! http://t.co/gnyA9un
- End of the line for Tanjong Pagar in a lovely tribute: http://t.co/ekx2CSJ
- Singapore or Hong Kong? Who will emerge as Asia’s cultural hub? http://t.co/g4BcUTA