Temasek Polytechnic students' short films on Covid-19's effects on S'poreans on show at Singapore Discovery Centre

(From left) The student Directors of this year’s Singapore Stories short films, Cheryl Mong, Felicia Cheng and Nurain Kili Tan.
(From left) The student Directors of this year’s Singapore Stories short films, Cheryl Mong, Felicia Cheng and Nurain Kili Tan.PHOTO: SINGAPORE DISCOVERY CENTRE

SINGAPORE - Students from Temasek Polytechnic have put together three short films exploring the Covid-19 pandemic's social effects through drama and comedy.

One of them, titled 1M Apart, tells the quirky story of a timid housewife - called Cik Leha - who finds her voice as a safe-distancing ambassador.

The film is shot in the pastel-toned and symmetry-obsessed visual style of American director Wes Anderson.

Said director Nurain Kili Tan, 20: "We felt that it was important to make a film that would help to lighten the mood during this scary and dark period.

"With the comedic treatment, we hope to take everyone's minds off the stress of the pandemic, and laugh for a few minutes."

The films premiered at a screening at the Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC) on Thursday evening (Oct 14).

They are part of a collaboration, known as the Singapore Stories Films, that began in 2014 between SDC and Temasek Polytechnic's School of Design's Diploma in Digital Film and Television.

The films will be screened at the SDC theatre in Jurong for free every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until next October. Tickets can be booked here.

All the films run for between 14 and 20 minutes.

The other two films, titled Missed Calls and A Little Closer, deal with the pandemic's more sombre effects, and how people come together to cope.

Missed Calls, directed by Miss Felicia Cheng, 23, tells the story of a junior college student, Jeanine, who loses her grandfather to the virus.

A missed call from him eventually leads her to reconnect with her estranged mother.

A Little Closer, directed by Miss Cheryl Mong, 21, is about a young man called Ashwin, employed as a stay-home-notice (SHN) caller.

Over the course of his job - which is to call and make sure people are serving their SHN - he meets an old woman with dementia who has difficulty understanding and following Covid-19 restrictions during Singapore's circuit breaker period, which was in effect last year.

Ashwin overcomes generational differences and a language barrier to understand that the old woman wants to visit her late husband's house for Qing Ming, a yearly Chinese festival to honour the dead.

Said Miss Mong: "We wanted to show that family bonds, kindness and warmth are still present in the community if we just realise it."