Rewind/Remind Film Festival

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in SG50 Showcase | 6 Comments

Hooray! The Rewind/Remind Film Festival by the Singapore Memory Project has finally been launched! On Saturday evening, Minister Lawrence Wong, filmmakers and guests from all walks of life streamed into the National Library Building for the private première of local films commissioned by the irememberSG fund. We share happenings of that night!

Response for the public screenings of eleven of twelve local films had been overwhelming even before the red carpet was laid at the private première. All but one of the initially offered public screenings were fully registered. But we are very happy to share with you that five more screenings have been added to the calendar!

<em><center>Guests gathered at the Rewind/Remind Film Festival at the National Library</center></em>

Guests gathered at the Rewind/Remind Film Festival at the National Library

<em><center>Film directors Royston Tan (Old Friends), Wee Li Lin (Centrepoint Kidz), Sun Koh (Kway Chap), Ervin Han (The Violin) share some behind-the-scene moments with Singapore Memory Project manager Yee Yeong Chong.</center></em>

Film directors Royston Tan (Old Friends), Wee Li Lin (Centrepoint Kidz), Sun Koh (Kway Chap), Ervin Han (The Violin) share some behind-the-scene moments with Singapore Memory Project manager Yee Yeong Chong.

 

Old Friends (老朋友‬)

Old Friends (老朋友‬) is the final installment in a trilogy that started with Old Places (老地方) and Old Romances (老情人). Directed by Royston Tan and his team from Chuan Pictures, this film is an unfettered ode to Singaporean food history and heritage, liberally spiced with nostalgia.

A beautiful showcase from 49 hawkers, we say, narrated with intimate telephone recordings from Singaporeans. How about one more hawker to round the number off to 50 hawkers? We were thankful when Roystan Tan revealed that it was already in the pipelines: people can nominate the last hawker hopeful to feature in the film.

<em><centre>Traditional Kaya Butter Toast has been a breakfast staple for decades in Singapore. Photo: Old Friends  (老朋友‬)</centre></em>

Traditional Kaya Butter Toast has been a breakfast staple for decades in Singapore. Photo: Old Friends  (老朋友‬)

If Old Places (老地方) opened the trilogy with a chronicle of disappearing places in Singapore, and Old Romances (老情人) was a journal of love letters to the places that we grew up in, then Old Friends (老朋友‬) captures our loving, and well-honed love of the Singaporean food heritage which we have claimed as our own. The effort to produce the trilogy spanned six years. 

It was a special journey for the team from Chuan Pictures, where they experienced melancholy and joy during their search for authentic hawker food in Singapore.

<em><center>Film directors from Old Friends: Royston Tan, Boi Kwong, Alvin Lee and Debe Hoo thank the hawkers for their dedication</center></em>

Film directors from Old Friends: Royston Tan, Boi Kwong, Alvin Lee and Debe Hoo thank the hawkers for their dedication

“We spent two years doing research for Old Friends, and three of our directors gained 11kg between them!” Royston Tan said before the audience burst into laughter. “The heroes behind the scenes are the hawkers.”

The sense of urgency you get from the delivery of the film is not baseless. Word has it that since the first of the trilogy Old Places (老地方) was shot and aired in 2010, some 40% of the places featured in the film have been demolished.

Old Friends (老朋友‬) was very well received by the newly hungry and quietly thoughtful audience… after which the vibrant Centrepoint Kidz opened strong with a colourful and energising dance off!

 

Centrepoint Kidz

Known for their eye-popping colours, curly mops of hair and thick shoulder pads, these were teenagers of the 1980s who hung out at the Centrepoint Shopping Mall in Orchard Road. While they seemed to annoy the shop tenants, they were also perhaps too easily perceived as punks and delinquents, like the rebellious groups of youngsters of each generation.

<em><center>Centrepoint Kidz whips out the electrifying youthful energy. Photo: Centrepoint Kidz</center></em>

Centrepoint Kidz whips out the electrifying youthful energy. Photo: Centrepoint Kidz

One of Singapore’s beloved female filmmakers and the brainchild of Centrepoint Kidz, Wee Li Lin grew up in the 1980s and remembered: “There was something so original about these teenagers and they were ahead of their times.”

Built around the classic tale of a young girl finding her own way for the first time, the sheer attention to accurate details from the time period will delight both kids from the 1980s and fashionistas. The technicoloured wardrobe may be disarming today, but in the context of conservative 1980s Singapore, when it was becoming an affluent city-state, it painted a vibrant subculture.

<em><center>Director of Centrepoint Kidz Wee Li Lin talking about her film</center></em>

Director of Centrepoint Kidz Wee Li Lin talking about her film

“They had dance offs in the shopping mall car park,” Li Lin told everyone of the research she had done for this film. “When former Centrepoint Kidz watch this film, I hope they will remember that their fashion was really out there.” She gently ushered the subculture into a more celebratory light in this exuberant film. A coming-of-age story of a girl to her homecoming completed, albeit surprisingly (no spoilers!), we slide to the next film with deep satisfaction.

 

Kway Chap

The only filmmaker with a showcase of two films in the Rewind/Remind Film Festival, Sun Koh grew up in a family of famous kway chap hawkers, but had never made a film about them during her time working for more than a decade in the film industry.

“My parents retired in 2003 but my brother took over the stall and can now stand on his own feet,” Sun said about her family’s hawker stall at Serangoon Gardens Market and Food Centre.

<em><center>Sun Koh had unprecedented access to the inner workings of her family's famous Kway Chap food business. Photo: Kway Chap</center></em>

Sun Koh had unprecedented access to the inner workings of her family’s famous Kway Chap food business. Photo: Kway Chap

Feeling the press of time marching on, and the age and mortality of her parents catching up with her, she embarked on a journey familiar to many of us – to reach out into our own family history. Worrying about the day when they are no longer around to tell their stories, she turned her lens and spotlight on them in her film Kway Chap.

“The film is a condensed version of the hard work and toil,” said Sun. “In the film, I featured more of the preparation work that my brother did during the wee hours of the night, then to focus on the food.”

<em><center>Kway Chap director Sun Koh shares about her family business</center></em>

Kway Chap director Sun Koh shares about her family business

It is after all, a last ditch attempt at documenting the memories of her family and their livelihoods before they disappear. However most of the places where they started the trade no longer exist today, or have changed beyond recognition – is Sun Koh one step too late?

She was wise enough to know that memories are personal and subjective, and resolved to also find out what each of her family members remembers about the past.

 

The Violin

The Violin is an illustrated animation and you feel the break away from the constrains of the few existing historical places and people, and reliable storytellers immediately in the arresting visuals.

While director Ervin Han revealed that there was no particular reason why the violin was chosen to be the centrepiece of the film, his most favourite musical instrument was that of a violin.

<em><center>The Singapore River in very different times. Photo: The Violin</center></em>

The Singapore River in very different times. Photo: The Violin

“One of the young artists was painting the old National Library at Stamford Road,” Ervin told the audience. “But he did not know where it was and I said it is where the Fort Canning Tunnel is at now.” The times, they do march on relentlessly, don’t they?

Veering as readily to the building of the Changi Airport as it as sketches out Singapore’s tremulous history from World War II to the merger and Independence, it surprises the audience with a complete lack of dialogue.

Instead, music narrates. As is only fitting for a story told from the perspective of a violin, travelling through 80 years of Singapore.

 

SMP-Film-Fest_EDK9961

The Violin director Ervin Han talking about the team of artists, animators and production staff he worked with

The astounding level of detail in each scene is a veritable basket of Easter eggs for close observers, and a testament to the scores of research that director Ervin Han and his team have gathered for materials.

 

Ending with a big bang

There was a brief pause after the end of the last film, before the thunderous applause, as if the audience was gathering their breath to return to the real world. But from what we just experienced from the films, the memories and realities built on personal histories, seem to be only a matter of perspective.

The Rewind/Remind Film Festival is now ready for public viewing from Sunday 24 May onwards! All but one of the initially offered public screenings were fully registered. But we are very happy to share with you that five more screenings have been added to the calendar!

 

LIBRARY@ORCHARD | Jun 27, 2-5pm
Old Friends, (re)Surfacing: 50 years of Alternative Music in Singapore, Centrepoint Kidz, The Studio
Registration is full! Thanks for your continuing support!

TAMPINES REGIONAL LIBRARY | Jun 27, 2-5pm
Old Friends, Simi Kopitiam, New Huat Kueh, The Violin
Registration is full! Thanks for your continuing support!

WOODLANDS REGIONAL LIBRARY | Jul 4, 2-5pm
Old Friends, Autograph Book, The Studio, Kway Chap
Registration is full! Thanks for your continuing support!

NATIONAL LIBRARY BUILDING |Jul 4, 2-5pm
Old Friends, Autograph Book, The Studio, The Violin
Registration is full! Thanks for your continuing support!

LIBRARY@ORCHARD |Jul 19, 2-5pm
(re)Surfacing: 50 years of Alternative Music, Showtime at Golden Venus- Swing!, Centrepoint Kidz, The Studio
Registration is full! Thanks for your continuing support!

NATIONAL LIBRARY | 25 July 2015, 1-3pm
LEVEL 5, IMAGINATION ROOM
Lingo Lingo Where You Go
Registration is full! Thanks for your continuing support!

 

For latest information on the film screenings, ‘like’ the irememberSG Facebook page, or click ‘join’ on the Rewind/Remind Film Festival event page

More photos from the private première of the film festival are available on the irememberSG Facebook.

6 Comments

  1. Eve
    May 24, 2015

    Hi there, I believed that the Director of “The Violin” is Ervin Han and not Erwin Tan.

    Reply
    • Irsyad
      May 25, 2015

      Hi Eve. You’re correct, we’ve amended it accordingly. We regret the error, thank you for looking out.

      Reply
  2. Low KL
    May 24, 2015

    Hi
    Can the films be launched and made available online eventually? This will reach a much more greater audience.

    Your number of showing locations @ libraries and fixed show times are too limiting.

    Reply
    • Agnes Phua
      May 28, 2015

      Hi KL,

      I hope you’ve had a chance to register for our additional screenings here.

      The various filmmakers and production houses are making plans for their film releases outside of the public screenings. Perhaps you wish to follow their fan pages or get in touch with them for future updates?

      Keep a look out for news on our blog and the Facebook page too!

      Cheers,
      Agnes

      Reply
  3. Yvonne Ong
    June 6, 2015

    Hi, I really like to see all the films in Rewind/Remind as I belonged to that generation. However it is full house for all. Could you have more screening or arrange with Mediacorp or online. I am sure many of us Pioneers would love to see them. Thank you

    Reply
    • Irsyad
      June 8, 2015

      Hi Yvonne!

      Registrations for the screening may be already full but limited walk-ins are welcome depending on building codes and no-shows by other registered attendees on the day of the screening.

      We created more screenings before opening day when we realised it was in demand. These have been filled too, unfortunately!

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Reply

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