Berlinale Shorts | 2019
Tan Wei Keong
Berlinale Shorts IV: Before imagination: reality
At the 2019 edition of Berlinale Shorts, 24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award (endowed with 20,000 euros) and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.
A man falls in a forest. First an arm, then the man. Naked and carrying a suitcase, he walks through the forest. He finds a house, jams his bottom in first, and the journey begins.
Hi Tan there any nerves ahead of your Berlinale screening?
The nerves would probably come right after the screening. At this moment, I am simply over the cloud!
Tell me a little bit about Kingdon, how did the film come about?
Kingdom is a short film project commissioned by the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) and the festival team said I could work on my own story (hooray!). It began as a singular image of a man literally breaking apart in a forest, as a direct impact of despair and helplessness. At that time, I was also developing a project on human displacement and isolation.
Looking back is there anything you would do differently?
If I had more time, I would reveal more about the man in the forest.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
When I was young, I was influenced by my elder brother’s interest in illustration and we would draw and mail in comic strips to local newspapers in Singapore. It was later in an art school when I saw drawings move in an animation sequence that I started making short films and became enchanted by this medium. I am still fascinated by animation.
As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you?
Extremely essential. I have collaborated with Loo Zihan (editor) and Darren Ng (sound and music) since my first short film, and because they have absolute creative freedom and expression they shape as much of the film as my direction. I believe in and respect their expertise and we honor the project till we are all satisfied and proud of what we have produced. Independence and Individuality are important traits I look for in collaborations.
"I care less about what proper animation is..."
How has your approach to your work changed since your debut short film?
Sometimes an idea or image takes time for me to realize the weight of its meaning and I learned to give time to fully understand the purpose and reason behind it before starting the project - it is a responsibility. Also, I mix a lot more media in my work now, like drawing directly onto printed photographs before scanning them back in. I care less about what proper animation is, and care more on what shows up on the film, which results in an experimental and primitive approach in my process.
"Say ‘Yes’ to people and things you believe in.
Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
Say ‘Yes’ to people and things you believe in. Find your community, stick with them and grow together.
Finally, what are you currently working on?
I am researching for an early draft of a story that has been swimming in my mind for the longest time. In addition to films, I am continuing to develop and expand an ongoing new media art project called Foundin, a public art installation relying on human interactions.