Monday, May 8, 2017

Project Lapis Sagu

I have been privileged to be part of the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) initiative called, Project Lapis Sagu. Project Lapis Sagu, as the film-making contest was called when launched in November 2016, takes its name from the multi-layered dessert, and holds it up as a symbol of integration and tolerance. The contest attracted over 1,200 entries.

MCI said the films explore relationships between Singaporeans and foreigners from different angles and in different settings. The films arrive at the same meeting point where we can move beyond our differences and find common threads that bind us - if we take a moment to put ourselves in one another's shoes.

Besides myself, 3 other acclaimed Singaporean film directors, i.e. Eric Khoo, Rajagopal and Kelvin Tong, were roped in for this project. However when the four films were completed, Eric's film was pulled out due to concerns from the focus groups prior to the release of the films. I have not seen Eric's piece, thus I'm afraid I have nothing to comment on his zombie-themed film.

Together Apart was launched on April 2 2017 at Shaw Lido cinema.

My film, THE MANIFEST, is set hundreds of years in the future, in space. It explores tensions between a Singaporean space engineer and a naturalised citizen, who are on a critical mission. The theme was submitted by national serviceman Thomas Goh. On the film;

THE MANIFEST points to the fact that Kyle, the main protagonist, is returning to Earth with a special task. He has many reasons to return but one of the tasks is to bring back with him a "special cargo".

I picked this story because I feel that the setting in space is very unique. It articulates the messaging in an innovative, non-conventional way. It excites me as a filmmaker. Other than the messaging, there is also a very strong character study of the two protaganists. What would succumbing to anger and loneliness turn a person into? With THE MANIFEST, I hope that the audience will further embrace the rich cultural diversity here in Singapore. However, it takes two hands to clap — while there is so much literature about how locals should be more accepting, new migrants also need to break away from their enclaves and mingle with locals.

The film stars Keagan Kang, Sivakumar Palakrishnan and Aidli Mosbit (as ORION) and Peer Metze, with original score by Shabir.

Here is the film, THE MANIFEST

Here are all the three films presented as an anthology Together Apart

If you enjoyed the score to THE MANIFEST, here are links to the score pieces by Shabir

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