Dementia film Chiak wins big at the GV25 Film Shorts competition

Chiak stars Danny Lim (above left) and Johnson Lim, and is created by (from far left) Mr Joshuah Lim, Mr Wesley Lim and Mr Alvin Lim.
Chiak stars Danny Lim (left) and Johnson Lim, and is created by Mr Joshuah Lim, Mr Wesley Lim and Mr Alvin Lim.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
Chiak stars Danny Lim (above left) and Johnson Lim, and is created by (from far left) Mr Joshuah Lim, Mr Wesley Lim and Mr Alvin Lim.
Chiak stars Danny Lim and Johnson Lim, and is created by (from left) Mr Joshuah Lim, Mr Wesley Lim and Mr Alvin Lim.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

Chiak beats two other finalists to emerge the winner of the GV25 Film Shorts competition

In the short film Chiak (Hokkien for "eat"), a son learns that in living with a parent with dementia, it is better to adjust your reality to accommodate his than to force him to live in the "real world".

The bittersweet drama is the work of a three-person team led by Mr Joshuah Lim, 22, as director, with Mr Wesley Lim, 23, as editor and director of photography, and Mr Alvin Lim, 26, as producer.

The three are not related, but met as course mates at Nanyang Polytechnic, from which they graduated in 2015.

"We've had relatives with dementia and we wanted a story that could touch all Singaporeans," says Mr Joshuah Lim.

He had just come away from his own battle with disease. After chemotherapy, his leukaemia was in remission when his friend, Mr Alvin Lim, suggested they compete in a short film competition.

"I told myself that I just survived cancer. I should go do something with my life," says Mr Joshuah Lim.

On Monday night, Chiak was picked the winner of the GV25 Film Shorts competition, selected from three finalists.

The film was chosen by a panel that included directors Kelvin Tong and Boris Boo, Singapore Film Society president Kenneth Tan, Golden Village's head of programming Sharanjit Kaur and YouTube team Tree Potatoes, as well as a public vote on Facebook.

The winning team won $3,000 in prize money. In June this year, Mr Joshuah Lim's team, along with two other finalists, received a $2,000 grant to make short films.

In addition, later this month, the eight-minute Chiak will be screened ahead of selected movies in Golden Village cinemas. The screenings will run for two weeks.

The GV25 Film Shorts competition was held to mark the 25th anniversary of Golden Village in Singapore.

Ms Clara Cheo, chief executive of Golden Village, says she was pleased by the standard of the films submitted by the three finalists.

"We went into this project without a lot of expectations, but the quality surprised us," she says.

The awards on Monday were held at the cineplex chain's newest outlet, GV Paya Lebar at SingPost Centre, which opened early last month.

Like most of its other outlets, it is located close to an MRT station, although it has cinemas such as GV Grand, Great World City and GV Katong, which are not.

The three finalist teams were allocated mentors for their project.

The mentors were the Tree Potatoes YouTube group and directors Tong and Boo.

Boo, 42, director of drama-comedies Filial Party (2014) and Lucky Boy (2017), was the winning team's mentor.

He says he helped the film improve its pacing with more edits, and to "slow down and take time when you have to show emotion".

"But for a team working together for the first time, they did a good job."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Dementia film nabs top prize'. Print Edition | Subscribe