Tang Zheng Yu
Tang Zheng Yu

Tang Zheng Yu (right), 23, a student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, is showing his first short film at 2020 – The Temasek Short Film Project.  

He directed Windmill, a film that follows the life of a b-boy dancer and his personal journey of overcoming doubt and pursuing his dreams.

2020 – The Temasek Short Film Project allows 20 groups of budding film-makers to work with some of Singapore's established film-makers to produce 20 short films, inspired by Temasek's philanthropic organisations. Tang is mentored by Boo Junfeng for this project. 2020 – The Temasek Short Film Project premiered at last Friday, with four new films being released every Friday. 

What are you reading now?

I recently finished On Directing Film by David Mamet.

While it is by no means a comprehensive guide to directing a film, it offers unapologetic insight and opinionated views on how to present a story on screen.

The book taught me what it meant by "keep it simple, stupid", and how to build a good story based on shots and beats.

The book was a gift from a friend who knew I was an aspiring film-maker and felt that it would be suitable for me.

What books would you save from a burning house?

Island by Aldous Huxley.

I like the idealistic philosophy behind the book, which Huxley offers as an antithesis to his well- known dystopian novel, Brave New World.

The fictional island of Pala, with its liberal yet authoritative government, reminds me a little of Singapore.

I bought the book in Brussels last year. It is precious to me as it accompanied me for the rest of my time in Europe.

Next would be Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami. I like how the author combines the surreal with the everyday and it is comforting to find that one's deepest, darkest thoughts are nothing compared with the events in the book.

•On Directing Film by David Mamet (1992, Penguin Group USA, $26.85), Island by Aldous Huxley (2009, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, $25.44), Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami (2005, Vintage Publishing, $17.95), are available at Books Kinokuniya.

Correction Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the name of the project is the Temasek 20/20 Short Film Project. This is incorrect. It should be 2020 - The Temasek Short Film Project. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 22, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe