Many people asked how we got the rights for the music in Singapore GaGa with the budget we had, this is afterall a work carpeted with music. Most of the music was from the public domain and chosen because of that, but for works like “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”, it cost an arm, leg and more from EMI Publishing. But we had it good compared to what they had to go through for Mad Hot Ballroom. Lesson: don’t use other people’s music unless one can defend its free use. I learnt that making Crossings: John Woo and again with GaGa. And yes, we had to buy rights to perform 4″33′ of silence from John Cage’s publisher. Fortunately they gave a discount.
Mad Hot Ballroom article

medium rare is coming 29 Nov

When this film about the Adrian Lim killings was first screened in 1992, my friend heralded the start of the Singapore film industry. He proclaimed that this was The beginning of a movement. The movement didn’t happen immediately and it took the easy availability of digital technology in the past few years to start the wave. This is a must see to see how far we have come. I haven’t seen it myself but years ago, I heard that a VHS copy was being sold on ebay which attracted alot of interest, such a rare sighting it was. The intrepid folks at have found a print, and here it is in medium rare glory. Mark your calendars 29 NOV, 7.30pm, National Museum Gallery

Asian Film Symposium @SUBSTATION

My friend Sun Koh (director of the delightful Secret Heaven) has made a new short called Bedroom Dancing. It opens the 6th Asian Film Symposium tonight at 7pm Picturehouse. I have attended the syposium for many years now, one of the highlights has always been the S-express (Nice Bus?) programme which focuses on Asian, especially Southeast Asian short films. The films are curated by film programmers from their respective countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong). The Malaysian programme of shorts I saw in 2004 was a great kick in the butt. Who can forget Wanita Cosmos, a cartoon parody of Malaysia’s first woman astronaut. This year, the Malaysian programme is curated by Amir Mohammed. Above all, get a glimpse of work made under very similar conditions as Singapore (a limping industry, authoritarian regimes, weak distribution infrastructure for independent work) and be inspired and shamed by the pungent films showing what can be done with very little money and a large dose of verve.

S-express Screenings @ The Guinness Theatre: all 8.00 PM

11 Sep Mon – Singapore (90mins with Talk and Q&A)
12 Sep Tue – Malaysia (90mins with Talk and Q&A)
13 Sep Wed – Thailand (90mins with Talk and Q&A)
14 Sep Thu – Indonesia (90mins with Talk and Q&A)

intermediate documentary filmmaking

What with the brouhaha of the inaugural Singapore Biennale, the IMF/World Bank AGM next week (avoid driving, walking is faster), is there time for anything else? A documentary filmmaking workshop conducted by me organised by Objectifs, If nothing else, fish are swimmin, the livin is easy, so come have a chat
Sep 6, Wed, 730pm to 1000pm, 12 A Liang Seah St, $25, tel 63393068

“In this seminar, Pin Pin will share various approaches that you can take with your subject and encourage the experimentation of grammar in documentaries. She will talk about reshaping of stories based on continual research and the collection of footage during your process of documentary filmmaking. This is not a production workshop, but students should come prepared with questions and are encouraged to discuss any ongoing project ideas”