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about Royston Tan

Director & Film-Maker.
Location: Central, Singapore.
Birthdate: October 5th.

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新赛鳯 Sunday, November 26 |

A film by Royston Tan (Singapore)

The opening of the National Museum of Singapore presents an opportunity to explore the varying perspectives that contemporary cultural practitioners and artists have adopted in response to issues of tradition and history.

Specially commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore as part of the opening festival, Sin Sai Hong is a short film which documents the Sin Sai Hong troupe, the oldest Hokkien opera troupe in Singapore.

The film captures the iconic songs and music of the troupe that are familiar favourites with Chinese audiences in Singapore for over four generations. Lyrical in its execution, the film illustrates the different eras of the troupe through the performance of their songs.

At the same time, it also offers rare glimpses into the backstage area, where the lives of the musicians, stage hands and singers often mirror the stories of the songs they perform.

Royston Tan followed and volunteered himself as an extras over a year in preparation for this film. This film premiere will be graced by the entire Sin Sai Hong troupe.

Sun 17 Dec' 06, 8.00pm
National Museum of Singapore Gallery theatre
Approximately 45mins with no interval
S$8 (all sold out)

Director's Statement.

The opera troupe Sin Sai Hong has been around close to a hundred years. I recall my grandmother having used to carry me as a kid to watch the opera performances. This troupe was known for its fanciful costumes and singing, but what made this troupe so special was despite falling crowd, it continued to maintain its high standard of performances year after year. After seeing the near disappearance of the Teo Chew troupe, I felt an urgency to capture their dedication before it disappeared. To prepare myself for the film, I volunteered myself as a soldier over the past one year to immerse myself in the troupe for inspiration; it’s at the backstage where I experienced the intimate, closed bonded and candid moments of their conversations, rehearsals and discussions, leading to the concept of this film taking place mostly at the backstage. By requesting every troupe members to select a song very personal to them in their performing career, this 35mins film shows you the early development of the Hokkien opera tune from the Nan Ying era to the 80s Taiwanese and present pop influences over four generations. The opera actress Ah Cai told me that "going on stage resembles life, once you are out on stage, do it well, you can't remake an entrance".

someone to Watch. |

47th International Thessaloniki Film Festival

Under the section of Independence Days which is dedicated to new and emerging talents from all over the world, this year the 46th International Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece organised a tribute to Royston Tan's full body of work. The tribute is under the the permanent spotlight Someone to Watch , hosted by the Independence Days section, dedicated to new directors and uprising talents .

The greek correspondent had a casual chat to Festival programmer Leftaris Adamidis

•How do you get to know Royston Tan?

It was crazy, I first met him at the brief encounter film festival in bristol. He was in a rabbit costume and I thought he is a very interesting guy. Rarely you see directors in animal costume! (laughs)

•Is that why Royston Tan was chosen to be featured in the 47th International Thessaloniki Film Festival ?

More so because he is crazy! Just kidding. We are constantly on the lookout for young promising talents, & Royston Tan incoporates so many styles in every of his films, its something uncommon coming from singapore. For "15", its cutting edge and fast paced, "4:30" extremely quiet and mediatative and "Cut", I die laughing!!!!!!! .

•How do you think the audience will react to his films since its all so different?

Our team are anxious as the films were all so different and its important to present all his films, we want to let the audience decide.

•And Yes all his films are in numbers....
Yes! that was a bit of drama, i had a big fight with my graphic designer as when you put' 15' and "4:30" in a programme schedule, its looked really confusing with all these numbers when its put together with all the other films, the graphic team insisted spelling out the number, I said no as i knew how significant it was to use numeric in Royston's film. So that was a crazy episode.

•Describe Royston in one word?

Serious. (Suddenly everyone in the whole room started laughing)

•Any last words?
I am totally regretful for not requesting him to bring his rabbit costume, its is known that whenever "CUT" is shown in any countries, a specially designed rabbit costume for the country its showing, like the one he wore in russia, mexico and japan. I'm anxious too see how a greek rabbit will look like... Sigh... I take full responsiblity for not requesting it!!!

•Seriously any finally last words?
Why didn't I ask him to bring the rabbit costume!

4:30 Bags NETPAC in Hawaii. Sunday, November 5 |

Royston Tan's "4:30" bags the NETPAC Award
at the 26th Hawaii International Film Festival

•Press Release 27 October 2006
The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award was given to director Royston Tan, the enfant terrible of Singaporean cinema, for his sophomore effort 4:30. 

Festival Jury's Quote on 4:30
"An exquisite study of loneliness, alienation and the human connection across the boundaries of age, language, culture and private angst".
Founded in 1990 by Cinemaya (Asia's finest journal of cinema) and
UNESCO, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema is an
international not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting Asian
film throughout the world. The prestigious NETPAC Award, presented
annually at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice,
Rotterdam, Pusan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii, promotes Asian cinema by spotlighting exceptional works and discovering new talent.

We've had to ship the film print to another film festival. In lieu of
an encore presentation of 4:30, please read the comments of the NETPAC Jury President, Dr. Tom Brislin of the Academy of Creative Media, at the Festival Awards Ceremony.

"Your jurors screened 11 films in this competition, representing emerging filmmakers from Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan, Singapore and the Philippines.

"We noted many of these films are strongly based in music and dance,
and we enjoy seeing the synergy that comes from such artistic blends.
We also noted a strong undercurrent of young love, first love, and
family love that demonstrated a love for the medium.

"Our love and admiration was strongest for 4:30 - an exquisite study of loneliness and alienation, and the seeking of human connections across the boundaries of age, language, culture and private angst. The jury was unanimous in its sentiment that the film lasted long after the screening went dark and the lights came up. The emotional weight of its story was carried out of the theatre by the viewers - the mark of a truly effective films. "We are pleased to present the 2006 NETPAC Jury Award for Best Emerging Filmmaker in Asian Cinema to Royston Tan for 4:30."