It was full house at the special screening of Revenge of the Pontianak, the new film by Singapore director, Glen Goei, at Golden Village Plaza Singapura, last month! Organised by the Head of Film Studies Minor, Ms Khoo Sim Eng, the screening was part of the programme's enrichment activity. The students also had a rare opportunity to be up close and personal with Glen Goei at a Q&A session after the screening!
Muhammad Iman Hakim bin Sugen, who is pursuing English with Film Studies, liked the film’s "contemporary take” and felt the film was “exquisitely shot” and a “tribute to the old black and white films.”
We had a chat with Ms Khoo on her motivations behind organising the screening, and what she hopes for her students to achieve through this method of applied learning.
Glen Goei’s Revenge of the Pontianak is a homage to an important part of Singapore’s film history. Pontianak films used to be very popular. They used trick photography and innovative makeup, and they launched many movie careers.
I liked the fact that Glen Goei was taking this wonderful tradition and giving it a modern, feminist take, which I felt would be a great way to introduce students to a genre they might know very little about. For the people who had grown up watching the old black and white pontianak films, this was a chance to revisit a beloved genre in glorious colour.
I want students to realise that films are amazing products that incorporate creativity, business acumen, and sheer guts and determination.
I also hope students will gain a deeper appreciation of local film. With a local film, it is possible to get the filmmakers to join us for Q&A, which is such a bonus. Not many people realise that Singapore produces some pretty good films, and we do not watch our own films enough.
It was so good to see students asking Glen Goei questions, showing that they were thinking about the characters, the story, the issues, the filmmaking process. After the screening, students and colleagues said that they had so many more questions. They came away with a better understanding about film and were keen to find out more. That curiosity about film, especially local film, is great!
There will be a talk by the directors and music composers of So Bright, Singapore’s first Chinese musical web-series. This is organised together with the Digital Media programme.
We had a visit to Infinite Studios and EagleWings Cinema, and a walking tour of Singapore film locations. More visits and tours, to places like Mediacorp, are on the cards.
My students had a chance to be extras in films or ads, and they got to meet director Kirsten Tan at a screening of Pop Aye with Q&A. There have been talks by filmmakers such as Dan Koh, the associate producer of A Land Imagined, and Tiffany Rileigh Ng, the Singapore first assistant director on Crazy Rich Asians.
There will be more screenings and talks with filmmakers—not just directors but also producers, art designers, marketers, and animators. I am so excited!