Hosaywood DVD Press Kit Media Release Statement, An Excerpt
Named as one of Singapore’s most exciting young filmmakers by The Straits Times Life!, Jacen Tan’s collection of short films like Tak Giu (Kick Ball), Zo Gang (Go Work) and Kwa Giu (Watch Football) have gained a cult following due to its Singaporean context.
“Many people have been asking me whether my films are available on DVD. I’m excited to finally release this compilation of all my short films, packed with bonus features and unseen footage. I’m also proud to premiere my latest film Kwa Giu. Kwa Giu is my most important film yet, a documentary filmed at the now demolished National Stadium. With the recent announcement of Singapore’s return to the Malaysia Cup, there has been massive interest in Singapore football. Kwa Giu will preserve those memories and the nostalgia of the legendary Kallang Roar.” says Jacen Tan.
Zo Gang is a Hilarious, Self-Deprecating, Ironic look at Singaporeans and Their Response to Local Art
I just watched Zo Gang on Youtube (embedded at the end of this article) after being tipped off about Hosaywood by the makers of the independent NUS documentary, Rag to Riches. This short film had what many other local films (in my humble, amateur opinion) lacked — a good script!
Often one observes either technical, cinematographic-al wizardry, with pretty lights, hues, dancing colours in every scene, or as Zo Gang parodied, long, still shots with minimal dialogue and a dramatic soundtrack. Indeed, Zo Gang manages to mount a reflexive, self-deprecating critique at Singaporeans’ often pessimistic response to local artists and local art while being genuinely hilarious all the while.
It is my uneducated belief that local filmmakers, for some reason, have by and large been determined to position themselves on the fringe as if in protest at (or to relish in) their already-marginalized positions in Singaporean society. Given the lack of funds, lack of esteem, lack of enthusiasm that greet these artists generally, who can blame them?
Of course this is not true, artists don’t insist stubbornly on being commercially unviable and disconnected from the masses. Perhaps for some it is just a viable model to be on the fringe — all the better for overseas marketing since mature, European markets seem to have a penchant for bizarre, post-modern fringe works from the exotic Asiatiques.
I have a close friend who makes experimental films. Though they baffle me deeply, his works do amaze me with their intellectual complexity. I once asked him, “Why don’t you just make a simple HDB story about Ah Beng, Ah Lian and Ah Seng?” He, however, is just an experimental filmmaker to the bone; it was as if I told one of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers to join the Bolshoi Ballet.
I feel embarrassed at that point, because my obstinate belief that he is being obstinate about positioning himself at the fringe, thus playing up the poor-artist-languishing-in-Singapore-role is just a wrongful accusation and understanding of what kind of artist he is. Why should I judge him for the premature, malformed state that the local film industry is at (if that is indeed where it is at)?
If nobody else has managed to capture the middle, viable, commercial ground, why should he have to inherit that duty and pander to the masses? Why should he not strike out his own path, staying true to himself?
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