CONTACT: MYSTICMICHAEL@GMAIL.COM PUBLICIST: SINGMURF@GMAIL.COM


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Actor-Screenwriter-Director

Actor "Ilo Ilo" (2013)

Dir Anthony Chen, Winner Cannes & Golden Horse Awards.

Lead actor, "Certified Dead" (2016)

Dir Marrie Lee aka Cleopatra Wong, Winner 14th Royal Bali International Film Festival (2016).

Director-Writer, "Bloodline Blues" (2018)

Selected Candidate - IMDA Lasalle Writerslab 2018

30,000,000

hits ONLINE: Gift (2014) & Hentak Kaki (2012)

400

productions in 9 years

2

Best Performance Awards, SSFA (2012/2014)

Lives: EU/SG

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Maid In Singapore


I wrote this novel "Maid In Singapore" in six months from conception to ready-for-print. Quite fast, thanks to the pandemic Lockdown. As acting gigs ground to a halt, I found myself having this luxury of time in hand for creative work. 

We are now working  on the distribution of the book and you will soon find them in online and physical bookstores.

"Maid In Singapore" is a story of an impoverished Filipina who escapes from a sleazy entertainment circuit to become a maid and subsequently working herself into an online celebrity influencer secretly until her life was disrupted unexpectedly.
This novel is inspired by the maids that I have met in Singapore, what they have told me, the stories I have picked up from employers and maid agencies, the sleazy bars that I have wandered into and the rapid rise of online influencers.

As of the year 2019, there were about 250,000 maids in Singapore with one in five households employing a maid; this is up from the year 1990 when there were 50,000 maids and one in thirteen households employing a maid in Singapore. These maids help with general household chores, cooking, elderly care, infant care or caring for disabled members of the employer's family. 

Having a live-in maid is no longer a luxury in Singapore. Some people would even perceive it as a necessity, as married couples both hold jobs and will need help in the housework and childcare.

While there are some articles about maids in the press, they are mostly superficial and cursory accounts of their life. In the extreme, they are ugly cases of maid abuses. There are few accounts about what these maids' inner thoughts and aspirations are.

Life as a maid is never easy. They work long hours each day away from home, living in somebody else's house. With poverty lurking back home, the need to make money to pull their family out of poverty, spurs them to push on. However, amid the hardship, there are also the funny bits while overcoming the loneliness and their yearning to fall in love. 

It is probably too painful to write a social-realistic documentary about maids in Singapore and hence this fictional romantic comedy so that we can all laugh about it.

It is a sub-culture in Singapore that most people would not stop and look amid the hasty urban life and architecturally glamorous cityscape.

We are planning to make a movie out of the novel and are already speaking to some parties about it. Currently, we are shooting the trailer (see photos below).





We are also organising a series of activities surrounding the novel. Watch this space!

Join our Facebook Group "Maid In Singapore", click



Friday, July 3, 2020

Cepat Jalan



Cepat Jalan (quick march) is a prequel of Hentak Kaki (marching on the spot). A full-length feature film script has been written and here is the concept trailer:


You get the gist of the story... the good old Warrant Officer Lee Teck Hong before his knee injury. 

In Cepat Jalan, the old school disciplinarian Encik Lee finds himself out of sync with an army that is transforming into a gentler and kinder doctrine. That runs him into many challenges with the Establishment. More on those challenges when we make the film proper.

The trailer originally had the happy-go-lucky Staff Sergeant Raj, but Muru (the actor) could not be cast because he was recuperating after a surgery.

*****

Here is the motley crew for the trailer at SP Jain Business School campus at Hyderabad Road at Hort Park, Singapore. Thank you for allowing us to use your premises. It is one of the few places in Singapore that retains the old British barrack feel.

Quite a lot of effort was put into the old SAF uniforms to give it the nostalgic 1980s feel. For that, we are thankful to find them from Mr Alvin Lee, a collector of army stuff .



Photo taken by Jo Ann Chen, aka the sexy Lance Corporal Sophie. :)



























For other army films in this blog, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Facebook Live Screening of Bloodline Blues




Facebook Live Screening of Bloodline Blues (23 min action film in English).
Date: 1st July 2020
Time: 8pm, Singapore Time (GMT + 8)

Executive Producers: Elliot Chan, David Murphy, Michael Chua
Written and directed: Michael Chua

Lead cast: Owen Belliveau & Gillian Tan



 "Nobility has its obligations..."



REGISTER VIA THE LINK BELOW AS I CAN ONLY ANNOUNCE THE FB LIVE LINK ON 1ST JULY 2020.

To register, click here.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Afterlife



"Afterlife" is a sci-fi short film produced and directed by Sydney based Singaporean Perry Lam. It is part of Storeys, a series of original short films about Singapore, supported by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and supervised by a talent company, CreativesAtWork.

The protagonist is played by Kris Mavericko. I played a supporting role of Eric, the repairman. Ok, no more spoilers, let us watch the film now:




Many of us probably have someone departed that we love and miss very much. Therefore,  it is plausible that in the future, we might use holograms to remind us of them. This will take off when  prices for the device become affordable to most people, like the smart phone. Even better, may be holographic projection capabilities will be built into future generations of mobile phone models.

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos:

With the holographic Mirage (Agnes Goh). Thank you Popular Book Store for letting us use their premises.
Just mucking around with the green screen when everyone else was busy.


From left to right: Kris, Agnes Goh and Perry Lam, the writer, producer and director.



This scene was cut. I was repairing a device wearing a magnifying glass with a spot light. 

The Chinese Folk Religion Altar was Kris' suggestion, and so it was added.
Running the lines and movements before the takes.




The corridor holding area.
Renita Kapoor (back facing camera) plays the role of Kurt's mum.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Majid the Legend


"Majid The Legend" is a 14 minute short film produced by Studiomonki, as part of 15 Shorts (films) sponsored by National Art Council Singapore.

The story is about the early meetings between Majid Arif and Choo Seng Quee, the latter whom eventually become his coach during the 1960s. The film is shot over three days in Pulau Ubin. 

I played the role of Uncle Choo,  the tough coach who eventually brought the Malaysia Cup back to Singapore in 1978.

I met Uncle Choo soon after the Cup was won at his sports shop in Plaza Singapura. I remember him to be a tall man with a booming voice. We were curious teens who had heard of his sports shop and wanted to steal a glimpse of him. He noticed us and ushered us to come into his shop.

That meeting was the only reference I had of his behaviour, as I could not find any publicly available videos of him. I remember that he spoke in immaculate English, so I asked for some of the dialogue that sounded too colloquial, to be corrected. 

Now watch the film:




BEHIND THE SCENES:

On the way to Pulau Ubin
The only kampong left in Singapore, populated by farmers, fishermen and shopkeepers.











With Rizhwan, who plays the role of Majid Arif. 







If you are interested in other posts of shoots in Pulau Ubin, click here.

At the premiere of Majid The Legend at Capitol Theatre Singapore.




Sunday, December 8, 2019

Asia TV Forum 2019 - What I Have Learnt





I have learned the following from the 20th Asia TV Forum & Market 2019 held at Marina Bay Sands Expo from 3rd to 6th December 2019:

1. Streaming
The video streaming market in the year 2019 is worth USD25 billion and is projected to double by the year 2023.  Free-to-air TV will fade away to streaming video-on-demand and subscribed (paid) video-on-demand (SVOD).  The SVOD space is getting very crowded with Amazon, Apple & Disney, joining Netflix and HBO in the global market, among the many incumbents. I think the year 2020 will be a blood bath for SVOD players.

2. Community based TV
These networks create special interest group communities through social network and crowdsourced ideas, putting these ideas to a vote in the community. The selected ideas/content are then developed using resources, crowdfunded from the community. Eg. The Chinese LGBT community.

3. Alliances
Strategic Alliances that create online entertainment that is pertinent to specific end customers with special needs. For instance, creating videos appropriate for airline or bus rides, like ensuring that the content family friendly, tab bite-sized duration and easily downloaded/viewed from the mobile phone. That means planning visuals for the very small screen.

4. Format
The viewership of long form videos (more than 20mins) are overtaken by short form videos in the year 2018.

Further, micro-form videos like Tik Tok, Haokan, KuaiShou,...etc are gaining traction very rapidly and may overtake short form videos.  Micro-form videos started in the 3rd and 4th tier cities in China, initially catering to young people 15-30 years old. It has now spread to big cities and a cross-section of demographic.

Sponsors like shorter or micro videos because they are easier to plant brand advertising in them and monetise.

5. Product placements
Brands have invaded the short form space. For true story telling unfettered by advertising, short films will have to be funded from sources independent from commercialism. Eg. 15 Shorts and Storeys, in Singapore.

6. Making content travel
a. This can happen by leveraging on countries with similar language and cultural background.
b. Using actors that are known in the countries you are selling to.
c. Remaking of content with actors local to the target market.

7. Good Content 
Good content will live longer in the Internet ecosystem of Over-The-Top (OTT) web streaming platforms, as it gets relaunched and re-licensed many times in many platforms.



Other posts...

ATF 2018 - What I Have Learned

The Future of Cinema and TV



Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review - So Long, My Song (地久天长) (2019)

DATES ON POSTER WRONG!!!! 
SHOULD BE THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 2019!!! 

"So Long, My Son" could well be called "So Long this Movie", as you would have had 3 hours taken away from your life if you had watched it. It is something the producer and director Wang Xiaoshuai ought to reflect on. 

There are numerous extraneous scenes that could have easily landed on the editing room cutting floor and had it reduced to a 90-minute film. There are also numerous confusing scene flashbacks that are swapped in-and-out among three time zones within the story. I think if the editor had wanted to confuse the audience and then call it art, then he would have certainly succeeded.

While the film has interesting content, the tensions are not built up gradually into a climax, but instead they go through a repeating saw-toothed up-and-down journey on a relatively flat plain. This makes it quite a drag at times.

The film won the Silver Bear (Best Actor & Best Actress) awards in the 69th Berlin International Film Festival this year.Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei definitely deserve the award, as they fleshed out their characters brilliantly. Their characters go through a series of excruciating grief - the grief of losing their son, of losing friends, of finding them back, of living through the changing political climates in China,...etc.

In all, it is a film worth catching if you do not mind killing 3 hours away. In the era of Youtube and Netflix, I suspect this will not go down well with the majority of people.

I watched it at the Asian Film Archive's Oldham Theatre.
If you are interested to catch it, click here


SO LONG MY SON by Wang Xiaoshuai (Singapore Trailer) from Anticipate Pictures on Vimeo.