Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Smell of Rain - Meet The Cast and Crew Session

For the uninitiated, the Picturehouse at the Cathay has re-opened, and wow, you wonder where the additional 50 cents in ticket prices go to (yes, most of the time tickets will cost ten bucks), here it is:

Picturehouse Ticket FolderNice?

A chic black folder to store your tickets in!

Picturehouse HouserulesThe House Rules!

Anyway, this is my third trip to the Picturehouse since it opened its doors, and it's pretty cool to see the Picturehouse Lounge put to some use, in hosting Smell of Rain's Meet the Cast/Crew session. I shall attempt to summarize the session in points, as it'll be easier to read than a long narrative. There were two sessions held, one after each screening this afternoon, and I attended the first one.

Smell of Rain - Audience in Meet the Cast & Crew SessionThe audience

The audience were made up of a number of Anglican High School Chinese Drama members for some reason, and the session was conducted mostly in Mandarin, even though everyone was effectively bilingual, and there were non-Mandarin speakers in the audience. Wonder why - Chinese film so must speak in Chinese? Anyway there was someone standing by to offer free translation, so it ain't that bad.

In attendance were the main leads - Nathaniel Ho, Trey Ho and Leah Low, together with director Gloria Chee and Director of Photography Terris Chiang, amongst others

Smell of Rain - Gloria Chee, Trey Ho, Nathaniel Ho, Leah LowSecond from Left to Right - Gloria Chee, Trey Ho, Nathaniel Ho and Leah Low

The discussion points, plus some trivia about the movie

- 1st question was to gather responses as to whether Smell of Rain is arthouse, or commercial fare, whether you'll recommend a friend to watch this movie on a weekend (especially its late night screenings, see bottom of article)

- The significance of Xiao Qi's hearing aid, symbolizing isolation and the choice of selective hearing

- The film was shot on miniDV on a S$150K budget, funded by the director's day job, friends and family, and various donations-in-kind

- The script was written by the director in English, then translated to Mandarin. The decision to use Mandarin stemmed from the fact that it was a more poetic language and a phrase can be described in less words, with more impact.

- There were some "grammatical" errors in the language used by the characters. However, these "mistakes" were already known, was debatable, and end of the day, was stuck with as it highlighted certain language nuances of the character

- Rehearsals were done prior to the shoot. Rehearsals took 21 days.

Smell of Rain Main Leads - Trey Ho, Nathaniel Ho, Leah LowWhat're They Looking At?

- All three leads are first time actors, chosen through 3 or 4 auditions, from a group of 50. The decision to choose first time actors was to give it a sense of rawness the director's looking for; not looking for a polished experienced actors

- As she's a first time director, she's also looking for the cast to share the same amount of passion to give their all in the making of this movie

- They rehearse on set too, before actual shooting

- Shooting was done in twelve 16-18 hour days. 8 days with the actors, 4 days +++ for the various environmental scenes like waiting for the rain, sunset/rise etc

Before the session ended, we launched into a short survey on what kind of local movies Singaporeans will want to watch, and someone suggested to not do another love story, but to put the focus on friendship and family.

Smell of Rain Main Leads - Trey Ho, Nathaniel Ho, Leah LowSpooky!

And I had to ask the last question, if there is going to be a commercial release. The director certainly hopes so, and is working on it.

So, there will be 2 more screenings outside of the opening festival. If you're interested, you can go check out and book tickets for the shows on 1st April Sat, at 0210am (yes, meaning Friday after midnight that is), and 1150pm. This film is yet to be commercially released, so don't let this opportunity slip you by.

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