Film about video rental store screened at ciNE65 launch

Local filmmakers Edward Khoo (right) and his father Eric Khoo after the launch of the sixth season of ciNE65 at the Singapore Discovery Centre on 27 Nov, 2020. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - "Don't overthink" is veteran film-maker and Cultural Medallion recipient Eric Khoo's favourite piece of advice to his 26-year-old son, Edward Khoo.

The father-and son-duo collaborated on the younger Khoo's nostalgic short film, Video Store.

It was one of three short films screened at the launch of ciNE65 2021 at Singapore Discovery Centre on Friday (Nov 27).

CiNE65 was first begun as a biennial short film competition in 2011 by Nexus, a Defence Ministry department responsible for total defence and national education. Its sixth season next year will consist of film-making workshops and seminars, a film festival and the ciNE65 Movie Makers Awards.

Video Store is set in Rida's Video Centre, a brick-and-mortar video rental store - now a rare sight in Singapore - which Edward Khoo has patronised since his childhood days.

The film revolves around Sofie, a young lady who grew up in her mother's video store and who fondly reminisces about her interactions with customers whom she has met in the store.

The idea for the film was first suggested by Eric Khoo.

"My dad reminded me that over a year ago, he took a picture of Rida's," said Edward Khoo, who recently graduated from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

"He sent me the picture and said, 'Ed, you really should make a film.'"

Reflecting on the store's old-school charm, he added: "I realised that going to physical spaces and meeting people is another aspect of why I think film is a super social medium. Going to the theatre is a social experience, but so is shopping for video rentals."

The theme of ciNE65's upcoming season is Stronger, Together. It aims to encourage young aspiring local film-makers to create films exploring how Singaporeans come together in times of adversity.

At the launch, ciNE65 alumni film-makers Lan Yu and Mohamed Yahssir also shared their short films.

Lan, 25, who won Overall Best Film and Best Screenplay at last year's ciNE65 Movie Makers Awards, returned with the short film A Cat's Purpose, about a man who sleeps rough and the unlikely relationship he strikes up with a stray cat.

Inspired by her interactions with a homeless person during her university exchange in Germany in 2017, she set out to understand more about this community back in Singapore.

"I realised that there was a disconnect between what we see and the real situation on the ground," said Lan, who is now a writer with local production house Weave.

"We have to recognise that beyond what is shown in the media, there may be a better way to represent rough sleepers."

Yahssir, 37, who was a commissioned film-maker for ciNE65's third season, made short film Super Girl, which he said was about "how an individual can do extraordinary things with the help of community".

The father of four, who has 15 years of film-making experience under his belt, has consistently returned to ciNE65 to conduct workshops, as he wants to mentor a younger generation.

The founder of Millenia Motion Pictures said: "CiNE65 gave me the great opportunity to mingle with the young film-makers. There's always a takeaway for both parties and I adopt the mentality that you learn wherever you go."

The short films will be released one a day on ciNE65's social media platforms, starting from Saturday (Nov 28) onwards.

The ciNE65 2021 Movie Makers Awards will open for submissions from Jan 1 to March 14 next year.

For more details, go here.

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