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)
Time: 1430
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 - Sewing Room in the Netherlands, Sink in Thailand, Wanderlust in Japan, 24hrs and Autopsy in Korea.

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: Autopsy, 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.


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.

Sewing Room

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 www.sookoonang.com.

The Visit

Victric Thng
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.
Wrong Turn

Charles Lim
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.


Kirsten Tan
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.


Daniel Hui
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.


Royston Tan
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 film awards.

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

Sherman Ong
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.

Loo Zihan
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 Chicago.
Allen Ginsberg Gives Great Head

X' Ho
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, www.myspace.com/xhosux

Even Dogs have Choices

Zai Kuning
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.

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