Much-feted Singapore film-maker Anthony Chen unveils new company and slate of films

Award-winning homegrown film-maker Anthony Chen will be producing a slate of films in the coming year with his newly-established film company Giraffe Pictures. -- PHOTO: TED CHEN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Award-winning homegrown film-maker Anthony Chen will be producing a slate of films in the coming year with his newly-established film company Giraffe Pictures. -- PHOTO: TED CHEN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Award-winning homegrown film-maker Anthony Chen will be producing a slate of films in the coming year with his newly-established film company Giraffe Pictures.

First up is omnibus project Distance, which will star Taiwanese A-lister Chen Bo-lin in three different roles in three separate shorts that are centred on the common theme of distance.

At a press conference held at ArtScience Museum on Friday at noon, Chen revealed that the three directors shooting the shorts will be rising China film-maker Xin Yukun, Singaporean director Tan Shijie and Thai film-maker Sivaroj. Each segment will deal with different aspects of the theme of distance - in love, friendship and family.

Says film-maker Chen: "I'm taking a backseat from directing on this project, but even though I'm only acting as the executive producer, I'm my usual control freak self so I'm still very much involved in the scripting process. I'm not the director but this is certainly a very collaborative effort with all the film-makers."

Director Xin says good-naturedly that he has already experienced quite a bit of the famous "control freak" nature of Chen. Says Xin in Mandarin: "I went to visit Anthony in London so that we could work on the script together. I went straight from the airport to the house and I was holed up there for six days because we had so much to discuss. The only time I stepped out was for meals.

"By the end of the week my hair was a mess and I looked terrible. Anthony told me, 'Must you really look this haggard?' And I told him, 'But you forced me to become like this'."

He adds with a chuckle however that he has "learned a lot in the process" and that such fervent discussion is the only way to "break new ground and get more ideas for the film project".

Other than Distance, Giraffe Pictures will also be producing K. Rajagopal's debut feature A Yellow Bird and Kirsten Tan's film Popeye. Chen will serve as executive producer on all of Giraffe's projects.

On why he wanted to set up the new company, he explains: "Having experienced the struggles of a young film-maker while making my first feature, it has always been my intention to set up a home to support young visionary film-makers in the region. Asia is brimming with exciting filmmaking talent at the moment and we are hoping that Giraffe Pictures would provide the platform and opportunities for such emerging voices to be heard."