I was at HMV Heeren this afternoon for the DVD Launch of Royston's Shorts, a compilation of short films that local hotshot director Royston Tan had made over the years, the ones which have garnered him international acclaim and awards. The crowd loitering around level 3 grew steadily until his prompt arrival, dressed in all white.
During this time, of course I was in the queue at the counter purchasing my very own copy, which I think everyone into local films, should include in their DVD library, if anything, for a quick accessible medium into his shorts (now why didn't that sound exactly right?)
After a quick introduction, the audience was shown 2 of the shorts - Hock Hiap Leong and Mother, after which Royston shared nuggets of information about the 2 shorts
Hock Hiap Leong
Royston was literally running away from making a short titled "Bait 15"(?), and took refuge and hung out at an old styled coffeeshop, where he could smoke anonymously in singlets and shorts. The owner noticed his presence and asked him to come by more frequently, as the coffeeshop was about to close down. He had wanted to volunteer his services in the last days of the shop as a coffeeshop assistant, but was rejected by the owner. So Royston decided to help by making a short film for the owner instead, which he could keep as a memento.
- The short was filmed in 1 day, on Boxing Day
- The scene with the old uncles in feather boa: they were made drunk and told to follow Royston's lead
- The short is still touring festivals
- A Ge Lan song was used as Ge Lan's songs were the owner's favourite.
The lead actor for Hock Hiap Leong was present as well, and so were Royston's crew who were scattered amongst the audience.
Mother arose from a prison inmate's story to Royston. During the same time, a friend's dad had passed away, and the family discovered a lot of film stock and footage which they didn't know what to do with. As a believer of destiny, Royston married the two together, and hence the short film Mother.
Royston also shared his experiences about the films he made, and the most challenging was Sons as it was his first time working on 35mm. When the Q&A was opened to the floor, in answer to a question - his shorts are made on Super16, except for Sons.
Touching upon one of his most rarely seen short, 4A Florence Close, it was a personal film which comes from his own family. They had to sell away a house that was used as a frequent gathering place for his extended family; their frequent Sunday dinners even had to have 2 shifts to accomodate everybody.
His favourite short film is the Blind Trilogy, and they hold the honour of being the last group of folks to have used the Capital cinema as a filming venue.
It was also obvious that two of his shorts, 15 and Cut, are not in this compilation, and also omitted were his student days work, which he felt were amateurish and too embarrassed to be seen. However, he did share that one day they will be released, as will 15 and Cut too. Keep your fingers crossed!
So is Royston the "Bad Boy" as the media portrayed him to be? Here's what he had to say:
Is Royston a "Bad Boy"?
At the close of the event (before the other similar launch at Ngee Ann City), five limited edition posters (Singapore has only 80, according to Royston) of his upcoming feature length film 4:30 were given out to winners of a quick trivia contest, and I helped overider to one. We got ours autographed, but I shamelessly got both my DVD sleeve and disc signed as well LOL
Click here to read my DVD Review of Royston's Shorts.
BTW, in case you have not realized, 4:30 opens on 29th Jun 06. Early buzz from this year's SIFF audience who watched it in April (it was given the honour to close the festival) has been positive, so remember to get your tickets when it premieres!