Movies tell tales of how Singaporeans live alongside foreigners

Minister Grace Fu shaking hands with Mr Kelvin Tong, Director of B.M.T., before the start of Together Apart in a media preview at Shaw Lido, on April 4, 2017.
Minister Grace Fu shaking hands with Mr Kelvin Tong, Director of B.M.T., before the start of Together Apart in a media preview at Shaw Lido, on April 4, 2017. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - It was a night to remember for three local directors as their their movies were screened on Tuesday (April 4) night.

Part of the "Together Apart" film anthology, each production tells a story about the issues that Singaporeans face living alongside foreigners.

The movies are part of Project Lapis Sagu, which takes its name from the multi-layered cake, and holds it up as a symbol of integration and tolerance. The movies were produced based on ideas submitted by the public in an online contest, which attracted over 1,200 entries.

After the screening at the Shaw Lido theatre to around 250 people, including including MCCY minister Grace Fu, there was a buzz in the air as viewers discussed their own experiences regarding social integration at school and work.

The three films in the collection called Together Apart were directed by Kelvin Tong, K. Rajagopal and Sanif Olek.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CfPVdnbBXM

Sanif's film, The Manifest, is set hundreds of years in the future, in space. It explores tensions between a Singaporean space engineer and a naturalised citizen, who are on a critical mission. National serviceman Thomas Goh, who submitted the theme for the film, said yesterday it felt very satisfying to watch the final product of his collaboration with director Sanif.

Sanjay, the Rajagopal film, touches on the struggles of a young couple who have just migrated to Singapore from India. The theme was submitted by digital film student Sean Loo.

Tong's B.M.T. (Beijing, Mumbai, Tampines) examines the National Service experience shared by Singaporeans and naturalised citizens - who have poignantly similar conversations with their mothers. The theme was submitted by medical student Alvonah Loh.

MCI, meanwhile, said it does not have any plans yet for the film directed by Eric Khoo, developed from an idea submitted by laboratory executive Tan Zi Hui, which had been pulled. The musical theatre-style film depicted foreigners as zombies around a human Singaporean.

The films in Together Apart can be watched free online at www.lapis-sagu.sg.