Asian Film Archive Presents
Escape Of Silence
A Singapore Programme at the Experimental Film And Video Festival in Seoul (EXiS)
Date: 12 September 2009 (Saturday)
Venue: Samillo Changgo Theatre, Seoul
Duration: 86 min
This programme starts with a series of experimental videos that do not feature dialogues. A minimal exposition on the act of inspiration; a handiwork about to transcend the boundaries of its own craft; a balloon that flies into a room; a surreal cast that disappears into the forest; a boy and a mysterious sink; a sleepless lover in a foreign city; a monologue lamenting the bloom and doom of a transient love. Through these videos, one is challenged to explore the idea of escape - from Singapore, from reality and the boundaries of what is one's own and what is alien and foreign. In this journey away from Singapore, what have they found? Inspiration, love, a heightened sense of identity? Some of these videos were made by Singapore filmmakers while they were away from Singapore -
in the Netherlands, Sink
in Thailand, Wanderlust
in Japan, 24hrs
The films in the second part of the programme present different ways in which the filmmakers confront the boundaries of social and political debate or controversy. Beginning with the dreams of two women in Singapore, the films portray them attempting to transcend their social conditions, one as Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, and the other as the Queen of Korea. It is then followed by three short films where the filmmakers wrangle with more contentious topics:
, a mother coming to terms with her son's sexuality through a personal dialogue with him; and two banned works that feature the voices of the artists despite the restrictions on their art form.
This programme was visualized as a series of films that utilize the gradual transcendence of sound to illustrate the vocal, volatile human emotions and relationships. From silence and quietness, the films envelope lyrical musicality before exploding into rantings of punk and rock.
Curated by Tan Bee Thiam, Asian Film Archive.
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Ho Tzu Nyen
Singapore | 2009 | 4 min
A minimal exposition on the act of inspiration.
Tzu Nyen works primarily in the audio-visual medium, and his projects traverse
the fields of film, visual arts and the performing arts. His videos, paintings,
performance-lectures, and theatrical projects have been presented at major art
exhibitions, festivals and spaces around the world, including the Sao Paulo
Biennale, as well as at the Centre
Pompidou in Paris, France. His short films have also been shown at international
film festivals in Clermont-Ferrand and Oberhausen. His first feature film, Here,
was selected for the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes, in 2009.
Ang Soo Koon
Singapore | 2005 | 6 min
In her private sewing room, a handiwork is about to transcend the boundaries
of its own craft.
Ang Soo Koon is a Singapore artist currently living and working in Amsterdam. Her
works have been exhibited in film festivals in Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Fukuoka,
Oberhausen and Clemont-Ferrand. She was artist-in-residence at Rijksakademie van
beeldende kunsten, Shanghai Duolun MoMa and
her website is
Singapore | 2007 | 2 min
A balloon floats into the room, disturbing sleep.
Through his lyrical short films, Victric Thng has garnered critical acclaim both locally and internationally. His films have won awards such as the Renault Samsung Prize at the Busan Asian Short Film Festival. He has been commissioned by the National Museum (Singapore) to exhibit his video works.
Singapore | 2007 | 6 min
Shot with an SLR camera, a surreal cast of characters disappears into a lush
canvas of flickering leaves and suggested plots. (Sound component of the video
will be streamed live via skype.)
A former national sailor, Charles Lim graduated with first class honours from
the Central St Martins College, United Kingdom. He is a visual artist with a
propensity towards technology, gadgets and gizmos. He is also a partner of
tsunamii.net, a cross-disciplinary artistic collaboration. His works have been
exhibited in Documenta 11, the Seoul International Media Art Biennale, the
Singapore Art Museum (as part of the President's Young Talents Exhibition) and
the Walker Art Center.
Singapore, Thailand | 2009 | 11 min
A boy, a mysterious sink, and a meditation on life. A distilled exploration on
innocence and experience, love and loss.
Kirsten Tan is an upcoming filmmaker whose works have been screened at more than
20 film festivals around the world and have garnered multiple prizes and awards
internationally, including the “Special Jury Prize” and “Best Director” at the
Singapore International Film Festival 2006 and 2007. Currently, she is pursuing
her MFA at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Japan, Russia, Korea, Singapore | 2008 | 4 min
A sleepless lover traces the shadows of a foreign city.
Having been involved with various short films in the past, Daniel Hui entered the world of directing with his debut short film,
The Bracelet. He has since gone on to make three more short films. His
films have been invited to festivals around the world such as the Louis Vuitton
Hawaii International Film Festival and the Vladivostok International Film
Festival. His writings on film criticism have also been published in several film and literary journals. He is currently working on the post-production of his feature film,
Night Lights, and is pursuing his degree at CalArts School of Film and Video.
Singapore, Korea | 2002 | 3 min
The bloom and doom of a transient love.
Royston Tan, heralded as a cult icon for Singapore cinema, is known for his
distinctive knack for cinematic narrative, original directorial style and an
innate ability to connect with his audience. His films have been showcased in
festivals including Venice and Berlinale, collecting international and local
Imelda Goes To Singapore
Brian Gothong Tan
Singapore | 2006 | 3 min
A comic reverie that features the likeness of former First Lady Imelda Marcos as a household maid in Singapore performing her favourite song,
Dahil Sa Iyo.
Brian Gothong Tan is one of the leading creatives in Singapore and is best known
for his cutting-edge and highly engaging works in theatre, film and installation
art. His film project, Pleasure Factory, in which he was the Director of
Photography and editor, was screened in Cannes Film Festival 2007 under the Un
Certain Regard section. His directorial feature debut, Invisible Children
is currently touring the international film festival circuit before opening in
Singapore in 2009.
Dreaming of Min
Singapore | 2009 | 3 min
A woman dreams that she is the Queen of Korea.
Sherman Ong is a filmmaker, photographer, visual artist and educator. Straddling fiction and documentary, his films have won awards in Hong Kong, Greece, Italy, Indonesia and Malaysia. He has exhibited works at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, International Electronic Art Festival VideoBrasil, the Mori Art Museum Tokyo and Venice Biennale, among others. Recently, he was commissioned by the Rotterdam International Film Festival to make a film in Africa.
Singapore, Korea | 2007 | 7 min
A personal dialogue between a mother and a son.
Loo Zihan's films were showcased in festivals in Pusan and London. He also took
on lead roles in award winning films such as Pleasure Factory that
screened in the Cannes Un Certain Regard section. In 2009, he was the
valedictorian of his graduating class at the School of Art Design and Media,
Nanyang Technological University and will commence his MFA with the School of the Art Institute of
Allen Ginsberg Gives Great Head
Singapore | 2007 | 15 min
A young man muses on the great American poet and responds to the censors that
banned his work.
X’ Ho is a Singapore musician/author/experimental filmmaker who is better
accepted back home as Chris Ho, the DJ. To date, he has written three books
about Singapore and made six shorts – the fourth Allen Ginsberg Gives Great
Head was the only film from Singapore to be in competition at the International
Film Festival, Rotterdam 2008. His new solo music-album No Ordinary Country,
now the first ‘protest folk’ album from Singapore, received this praise from The
Business Times: “(It) should be required listening for anyone interested in
plugging into a part of Singapore’s zeitgeist that too often lies simmering
below the surface.” www.xhosux.com,
Even Dogs have Choices
Singapore, Thailand | 2004 | 19 min
An artist invites his heavily-tattooed friend, X'Ho, to participate in
documenting Singapore's tattoo culture. His friend thinks he still has some
space on his penis.
Zai Kuning has always remained a free-spirited and unpredictable maverick in the
arts scene. His artistic sojourn began in 1989 when he graduated from La Salle
College of the Arts and studied philosophy under Indonesian poet and
philosopher, Sultan Takdir Alisjahbana at Toyabungkah Art Centre, Bali,
Indonesia. His short film, Riau, was screened at Rotterdam Film Festival
and Pusan Film Festival and is now a permanent collection of Fukuoka Asian Art
Museum. At present, he is in the midst of finishing When the River Meet the
Sea, a journal of his personal experiences researching on the Sea People and
his family history, Mak Yong of the Archipelago, a film about the dying
art of the oldest Malay opera, and his long-waited compilation of songs,
drumming and vocals, Nightingale of the Tropics.