Archive for April, 2008

food

 
Look at this! 😉 James, one of the audience who came for the SIFF 12th April screening brought me food! But how did he know that I had lost weight over the Diminishing Memories II’s production?  No matter, I thought it’s such a nice gesture to remind me to ‘feed myself fat fat’ !:p This is soo sweet. Yup! I’ll try to eat more. Haha… thanks James! 😉 
 
Also, thank you all.. for everyone else who came. Nice! 😉  
YP 
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Dear all,
Thank you all who had went to the screening on 8th April at the Sinema, 21st SIFF film screening of Diminishing Memories II.  I noticed everyone stayed for the Q&A despite it was already 11pm when the film finished screening.  It was all quiet at first in the audience but I knew since you stayed, you must have something to ask or that you have an urge to want to hear more.  Hence, thank you to everyone who came for the screening despite heavy rain.  It was good to meet up face-to-face. 😉
 
I heard there were also enquiries about the purchase of Diminishing Memories (Part one) DVD after the screening.  I know some of you managed to track me down but I shall write a note here again to let those who’s still searching that yup! You can place an order for the DVD directly from me.  Please drop an email to diminishingmemories@hotmail.com
 
In addition, I have also received orders for Diminishing Memories II on DVD.  Thank you for your support and interest, yes you may place an order with me first but the DVD for DMII is not available yet.  Once it is available, I’ll revert. Thanks!!
 
Thank you so much, I am very touched by your responses… ;)) YP    
Hellow all, thank you so much for your support in the first screening of Diminishing Memories II at the SIFF.  I was a little suprised that everyone actually stayed for the Q&A even thought it was already 11pm when the film finished screening.  It was very sweet of you guys, thank you so much! 
 
Anyway, for those who haven’t got a chance to catch DMII, here is another trailer entitled ‘New Development Trailer’ on Youtube:

Hi everyone.  Diminishing Memories II made its first screening (World Premiere) at the Singapore International Film Festival on Tues, 8th April.

I’ve started to hear some feedback and thoughts about the film…. stay tune for more updates on this page! On the other hand, if you had already catch DMII on Tuesday, please feel free to leave your comments here too by clicking ‘Add a comment’ button! 😉

Thanks so much for your support!! 😉 Yee Peng, the director.

 

21st Singapore International Film Festival 8th April Screening’s Audience Responses:

Very glad to know there will be audience who will really GET IT!  Able to “see” what the film is really about and to see further- the dimension of a deeper meaning:

“To me, DMII is much bigger than the theme on Lim Chu Kang. Growing up in urban area myself, I’ve no strong attachment to the farms, but I share your love in this land that we grew up on. It’s not just Lim Chu Kang.


I think DMII has gone deeper than sheer nostalgia. It questions beyond
the superficial notion of development and how everybody has accustomed
to it, playing to the rules of the game.
~~
李慧玲,《联合早报》采访组主任Lee Huay Leng, Lianhe Zaobao

 

More feedback from the screenings of SIFF:

“Just wanted to tell you I enjoyed the film. DM II is different from DM I but very good. I like your reflections, the narration and your choice of interviewers. I think it ended up being a film that gave the viewer a lot of food for thought without forcing the viewer into thinking the same way as you – the director. I thought it was very educational.” ~~ Stephanie Ho, The History Workroom

 

“I really enjoyed the film! and the Q&A was great – you’re so passionate about the subject and it’s so nice to see a Singaporean with such passion. What i really liked about the film is how you handled the personal emotions. It wasn’t self-centred or indulgent. The interview with your mum was a surprise, it injected a poignant insight into your filmmaking process.” ~~ Audrey, Substation

  

I thought the structure and script was quite tight. It was a very engaging storyline and also very informative because as you said, you are giving voice to people whose voices are not often heard. Fully agree with you that we hear the government’s side all the time and need to hear more of other voices. On that basis alone, this is an important film.” 

~~ Ai Lin

 

James bought me FOOD!!! at the screening of SIFF:

“Well done. DM2 focus on a very different perspective from the theme for DM1.  Its like growing up from a simple, innocent kampong girl who matures into a socially-aware, insightful and thoughtful intellectual who understands the plights of the farmers and kampong people…using the film media to highlight these issues.

 

You pointed out correctly that the only thing permanent is change; as all conditioned things are subject to change. People and places are constantly appearing and disappearing as time goes by. This is a favorite topic at the heritage board discussion forums.

 

In land-scarce Singapore, very soon there would not be enough spaces for burial grounds and cemeteries for the dead. These would have to make way for housing estates for the living as what had happened in Bishan, Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Ho Swee (ma kao thiong) and many other places.

 

During the Q & A session, I tried to balance the discussion the way your mother did in the interview segment of the film….else there may be misinterpretations when discussing about the views of the authorities.” ~~ James Seah

 

Received an email from one of the audiences at the screening, comments as below:

"Hi Yan Ping, after watching your documentary, my hubby and I were very impressed and we really love it. I think this film has your personality and is really very personal. It’s like opening a door to let others peek at your "world". We like this approach very much. This film is so different from other documentaries that we have seen and it really stands out from the rest. Very impressive! I hope this film will get more international screenings and be even more successful than your previous. I also can see from this film that you have graduated from a "student" to a "professional" production.  Can’t wait to see your next production…all the best… really like the part where you interviewed the CEO of the new agri-tainment developer. Your question about the "well" really caught him off-guard….heehee…I think you have also added some humours in this film which makes it quite entertaining as well as maintains the audience’s attention throughout the film."  ~~ Sulin

 

This is also one of the audiences at the screening, managed to track me down via email to order a DVD copy of Diminishing Memories part one. haha.. and here’s the comment via email:

"Just saw your documentary last night. Congratulations on an excellent job and for preserving your memories of Lim Chu Kang; the distinctness of different areas and districts in Singapore is hard to imagine now, but I’m glad you brought that out. I’m very glad that films such as yours are being made; one thing I was hoping to see in the documentary (perhaps a future subject?) was a bit more background on the Teochew and Hokkien communities in Lim Chu Kang, though I am sure you had your hands full already with what made up the film."  ~~ Wei Chian

 

Now, Sam is the “elderly Indian gentleman’ Stefan was referring to on his review of DMII (http://anutshellreview.blogspot.com/2008/04/siff08-diminishing-memories-ii.html), the gentleman who had been to one of the part one film screenings and asked if I had really moved on then.  I must say Sam was sharp.  He could sense I hadn’t moved on by the end of the part one film. There was another audience at the world premiere screening of DMII asking me if I would make part three.  I asked if there’s yet another film about Lim Chu Kang again, would he want to watch.  He said yes as he wanted to hear what more I have to say.  Hahaha… this is sweet as I do have a lot to say indeed! (Not only about Lim Chu Kang I believe) But well I guess I would like to say NO to DMIII at the moment. 😉 Please see comments from Sam below:

 

Hi Yee Peng,

I thoroughly enjoyed watching your film.  It is very touching without being sentimental.  It is apparent that Diminishing Memories tells as much about yourself as the transformation of Lim Chu Kang.  The film has the dramatic feel of loss-of-innocence or coming-of-age story.  While watching the film it brought back my childhood memories about loved ones who have passed away and places that have changed beyond recognition. 

Its obvious that you haven’t finished telling this story.  Particularly because in real life the story is still unfolding.  It won’t be fair to suggest that you look away.  You should certainly revisit the story in part III after a few years to cover what had transpired during the period.  That should wrap it up.   

But meanwhile, to keep your sanity and preserve your frail health, you should take up another film project covering a different subject.  With your commitment, perseverance and story telling talent you are now ready to take up bigger issues and to paint a larger canvas. 

All the best.  ~~Sam Kumar

A feature report on Diminishing Memories I & II at Xin.sg
Original report, please view: http://www.xin.sg/article.php?article=17040
 
《悄逝的记忆2》——接受已逝去的记忆
9 April 2008
庄庆宁

为了寻回在林厝港乡村时的童年记忆,本地自助导演翁燕萍在搬离那里后的18年,制作了《悄逝的记忆》。2006年,政府公布要在林厝港的农场里兴建度假屋和香薰治疗浴,引起了燕萍的关注。她不得不再次踏上林厝港路,去了解这个新发展项目和林厝港的现居民,因而造就了其续集篇《悄逝的记忆2》。

《悄逝1》和《悄逝2》是独立的影片,传达的讯息不同。虽然不需要看第一部也能了解第二部,但是两部结合才有整体感,所以介绍《悄逝2》还是要从《悄逝1》开始。

《悄逝1》——面对记忆的悄逝
燕萍9岁时搬离了林厝港。当时因为哥哥姐姐都上学了,而爸妈又忙着新家、农村两边跑,所以她在搬家后度过了一段一个人在新家的日子,和之前在农村的生活很不一样。“我离开林厝港时,我的狗没有跟着我们一起搬家,所以那个时候是蛮难过的。可能小时候不懂得怎么去处理自己的情感,所以就用笑声掩饰,然后把它压下去,并没有好好处理离开林厝港的这个情意结。就这样蕴藏在潜意识里面,然后就这样长大,也忘记了。”

一直到燕萍准备制作她的第一部影片时,那份深藏心底、无法释怀的林厝港童年才慢慢地“钻出来”,并且一直困扰着她。“我问自己,如果我这一生只能做一部影片,我会做什么。我才发现有件东西,我好像没有放下。开始的时候,我只知道是关于林厝港、关于以前我在那边生活过的日子。在开始策划时,我才发现是我对那个很愉快的童年时光的一种怀念,尤其当它像是一个被强行夺走的童年,那是一个伤口。”

“但是做完第一部过后,我很气自己,我以为我记得很多东西,但我发现我其实忘记了很多。我变得非常担心它会不见,因而我疯狂地去抓住它,不想放手。”

《悄逝1》逼着燕萍面对这个伤口……

《悄逝2》——接受现实
《悄逝2》是个突如其来的概念。“在政府公布要在林厝港兴建度假屋和spa后,我就蛮关注这个课题。其实当时我没有计划要做《悄逝2》。但是我不知道为什么我看到了报章,我就把它剪下来,不知道剪来干嘛。其实自己明明没有放下、明明就是担心和关心。我其实应该要做别的东西,后来也尝试别的体裁。但是像第一部那样,那个东西一直回来,后来发现,我应该去面对现实,然后去解决它。”

《悄逝2》,燕萍走访了林厝港的现居民,认识他们、了解他们的生活。“它其实帮助到我怎样接受已经不在了、已经变迁了的东西。它帮我去接受这个事实。因为我不得不去接受。我自己去访问、有这些东西摆在面前,不可以再逃避了。”

燕萍拍摄《悄逝》的目的除了是面对自己的心境以外,还有就是想保留人们对新加坡乡村的回忆,并且让外国人知道新加坡是有乡村的。“我要告诉外国的朋友,我们的繁荣也有代价,也有另一面的故事在里面,也有人是牺牲掉的,被忽略掉的。官方不会去突出的东西,所以就要是通过“自己给自己的这样一把声音”,才会让世界各地的人听到。

和燕萍的访问中不难发现,其实林厝港农夫们的处境和电影制作人的处境相似。他们的存在都被认为是不重要的。燕萍在访问中,说了很多遍,“大家都忘了我们是要吃饭的。”她说,她甚至忘了自己是要吃饭的。

《悄逝》的讯息
一部影片要成功打入国际市场,就必须让国外的观众看得懂。“虽然我在讲的是我个人的经历,我的乡村是林厝港,但是作为一个制作人,要抓到一个普遍的元素。第一部是关于得失,每一个人都有失去的童年,每一个人都有悄逝的记忆,每一个人一生中都有失去一些东西,所以就算影片是关于林厝港、就算你不住在林厝港,你也可以感觉到。”

“《悄逝2》是我们人生中有很多失去的东西,其实都要懂得释怀。林厝港只是一个例子,重点就是如何把这个重点和人们的生活经历联系。这次死的可能是我的乡村,我比较感性,对我来说林厝港就像是一个人。他不只是一个地方。所以我真的感觉说它真的死了,然后它有一个坟墓在那边,我甚至是回去扫墓这样的感觉。”

《悄逝》的国际影响
燕萍强调,她希望她的影片,可以推动新加坡人走访林厝港。“从新加坡独立到现在,农村是一个衰退的工业。他们也是“悄逝”的社群。新加坡没有人去在乎这个社群的存在。我觉得这些人的声音,其实迫切想要被听到,所以我给他们一把声音,希望让更多人知道在新加坡也有这个社群存在。要是新加坡有一天食物供应有问题,他们的存在是有作用的。”

《悄逝1》曾在各大国际影展展出,燕萍说,有一名外国人曾被影片感动,并记住了在影片结束时闪现的电邮,还发电邮告诉她,自己看影片时的感动。

新加坡电影制作
在新加坡拍电影难,做纪录片更难。新加坡的国产纪录片不多,人们的兴趣也没有比对剧情片来的浓厚。但是燕萍选择做纪录片,是因为它不需要那么多道具、不需要那么多的人工,会比较容易完成。“人比较少,做访问也比较简单,访问时感觉也比较亲密。我比较这种亲密感。”

近年,越来越多电影导演如陈子谦、唐永健等,都从制作艺术片转向制作主流电影,这些影片也为了符合大众,少了原有的味道。这是否是在没有金钱资助的情况下,每个导演都必须走的路?

燕萍说,这并不是一条必经之路,但是每个导演的目的不同,他们可能是想要让更多民众可以看到他们的电影,而且这的确是可以得到更多宣传资金的方式。而且不一定主流电影就没有艺术价值。

“导演有义务教育公众艺术片的价值,让他们知道艺术是有价值的,不应该要求免费上映。有些导演会把他们的影片DVD价格压低,我觉得不应该这样,不是说打坏行情,而是要教育公众。如果不让他们还钱,他们就会把这当成理所当然。”

新加坡艺术风气不佳,如果不教育人民,他们始终还是不会欣赏,这个市场也永远不会进步。

据了解,新加坡电影委员会不会资助超过30%的制作经费,而且非主流电影没有商业价值,所以投资商也不会考虑。所以要继续制作电影,导演都必须寻找赞助商。燕萍认为,赞助电影制作对赞助商来说还是一个蛮新的概念,所以这仍然存在许多难题。

“有能力资助的机构,他们都没有哪个概念。为什么要支持艺术?为什么要支持影片?为什么艺术是重要的?为什么有自己的一把声音是重要的?要是是为医药、或是为教育的、慈善团体都会比较愿意捐。”

《悄逝3》?
燕萍不喜欢受时间所困,所以她不会逼自己去制作任何影片。“我是让情感和思绪堆积,而我总觉得它还没有到味,就让时间去把它堆积,所以无法定期有一定的产量。那不是我想的。我不是一个制作公司,不是一定要在一定的时间内出东西。我有一点任性。”

第21届新加坡国际电影节开锣!为了感谢大家陪着新加坡国际电影节走过21年岁月,新动网要送出特制T-Shirt!

电影节

Posted: April 10, 2008 in Column 专栏

早报副刊:《四方八面》专栏

刊登日期:09/04/08

任何一项艺术创作都是孤独的,包括电影制作。虽说电影基本上都是在讲故事,但往往在说故事的过程当中,导演或编剧想要表达的也很个人。既然要表达的需要经过思考,那么思绪更是件很私人的事了。虽然如此,在影片完成后有一项我比较期待的阶段。这个阶段有个重要而不能错过的环节,也很有趣的是一项能让我比较不感到寂寞的阶段。

  任何影片完成后,其实也只不过是工作完成了一半。还有另一半就是影片的发行与推广。在影片的推广与宣传方面,最首要进行的往往就是让刚完成的电影到世界各地的国际电影节中参展。以比较商业化的角度来看,影片获选参展就已经代表了所制作的电影有一定的水准。若是有机会在电影节中参加竞赛的话,那么这个影片本身就可以比其他电影还要容易受到媒体的关注。再厉害的,拿个奖。再完美一点的,就是加上一些著名影评人给的看好与好评。这一切都将有助于影片稍后的商业性放映和宣传活动。对很多独立制片人来讲,他们的目的更是希望在电影节中能找到适合的发片商。甚至是有意资助他们下一部影片制作的贵人。既然电影节有这么多实际的商业用途,也难怪会有它们的存在。

  虽然把自己的电影推广给更广大的观众是我身为制作人的责任,所以让自己的影片到世界各地去参展是理所当然的一项任务,撇开制作人的身份,我其实比较期待的却是电影节商业用途以外的人与事。因为在国际电影节中,有来自世界各地的导演和制片人。大家其实既陌生又熟悉。陌生,因为互不相识。熟悉,因为我们都有相同的热诚与梦想。都说电影制作是件寂寞的事,还有什么是能够在同一个时候、同一个地点跟来自不同的国度,和你一样在世界的另一个角落疯狂地、艰辛地编织着电影梦想的人交流还要来得热闹?这样的场合当然就是电影节了。这些人可都是和你一样寂寞的人呀!而大家也都是为了同一个理由而继续的寂寞着。一直到相遇了之后,分享了心情和制作上的种种困难,确定了在这世界上还有很多很多像你一样的人,所以就不再那么寂寞了!电影节对我来讲,就是有这么一种莫名的吸引力和魅力。

A review on Diminishing Memories II from the Nutshell Review.
 
Review by Stefan
Some 2 years ago, I had watched Diminishing Memories at the National Museum, and found it to be a very intriguing piece of work, in which director Eng Yee Peng shared, through film, her memories of a Lim Chu Kang rarely seen. It was a very personal piece of village life from the past which is now no longer existent in Singapore (not in the old, authentic and charming nature), and it all seemed rather distant, despite our very short modern history.

In fact, I guess almost every army boy would have travelled along that stretch of road at one point in time or another, where a narrow two lane stretch separates temporarily because of a road island. Back in the mid-90s during my tour of duty, I drove along that stretch fairly frequently (yeah I told you I led a double life, and even had double army vocations!), little would I know that some 10 years later, I now realize that the inconspicuous landmark has more significance to a filmmaker, because it served as a post marker to where her childhood home is. And without which, there would be great difficulty as she admitted, to access

This documentary is possibly the first local feature documentary sequel to have picked up where the previous had left off, and the title holds meaning. With memories, like it or not, they start to diminish into the subconscious, and get hazy with each passing day. While we can fairly recall broad moments in time thanks to anchors to connect to, the little details get lost, and probably we could jog our minds with the assistance of photographs and video from archives, without which, we can only start to imagine and fill in the gaps, and herein lies opportunity for inaccuracies to creep in.

Yee Peng returns with a more assured voice both literal and figuratively speaking, and a more mature handling of this documentary. It showed slight detachment from the subject, perhaps because this time round the whimsical nature of reminiscence, and the interviews with subjects very close to her heart (like immediate neighbours and her own parents), gave way to an exploration from the outside, of someone from the past revisiting a location of the present, where once she had spent wonderous childhood moments in, and now having its landscape changed, and becoming unrecognizable.

If you’ve read the newspapers, Lim Chu Kang is now an area earmarked with redevelopment plans to convert 3 parcels of land into "agri-tainment" areas, complete with resorts and spas. And Yee Peng now examines what this means to the current batch of farmers, the new inhabitants of a space she once called her own. We get to go behind the scenes into the farms, and with food undergoing intense media attention for its price hikes, one wonders if Agriculture for entertainment purposes, or the more pragmatic approach to try and expand production to ensure less reliance on imports, should be looked into instead. This documentary sets you thinking along these lines, as the director probes and discovers more about such development plans, and the predicaments faced by the current farmers such as how changes in land leases will come to affect them sooner rather than later.

There are also focused shots on the rich flora and fauna ecosystem of Lim Chu Kang that demonstrated that there’s indeed a lot more to offer on that piece of land. It was also amazing to have watched this film with key members of the audience from the screening of the first film, such as Ivy Singh-Lim, who owns a bistro at Lim Chu Kang, and the elderly Indian gentleman (sorry I don’t have your name!) who had once asked if Yee Peng was going to make a sequel (and it became this movie) to the original film. Like a gathering of seasoned community folks who have now come together again to experience something with one another, it’s akin to just having an extremely small glimpse of the kind of kampung spirit of the past, and I am sure that kind of spirit from the previous inhabitants of Lim Chu Kang, and the current ones, are much, much stronger of course (given that they have banded together to actually petitioned for public bus services, then realizing that they could do it better, went ahead with it on their own, and proved themselves right).

I had mentioned before when I watched Diminishing Memories, that it deserved a place in our film archives for its preservation of lives that once were, or a lifestyle now almost forgotten. I shall repeat that call again, simply because Diminishing Memories II is a well made follow up and excellent companion piece, with enough merits to stand alone too. Although set in current times, it will no doubt be a gem when new and proposed development to the area spring up, and again in keeping pace with our obsession for inevitable change in the name of progress, it will serve as a reminder of what once was a rustic charm that had to give way if we’re callous.

Diminishing Memories II deserved to be watched, and of course, preserved too for future generations. For those who have not had the opportunity to watch the first one, check out the Related Links below. Put together, both films have something valuable to offer, and to experience. Which brings me to ask if more of us would pay a visit to the area too!