13 Little Pictures on Senses of Cinema

Posted in News by Daniel Hui on July 20, 2010

Chris Fujiwara’s coverage on the 11th Jeonju International Film Festival includes a glowing review of Liao Jiekai’s Red Dragonflies:

The international competition at Jeonju is usually worthwhile; a highlight this year was Liao Jiekai’s Red Dragonflies, which won the Special Jury Prize. The film delicately interweaves personal memory with the excavation of the recent past of Singapore, various lines of the film converging at a rickety pedestrian bridge crossed by three young hikers, and then at a quiet coffeehouse/bookshop. The drifting mood the filmmaker sustains is subtly obsessive without being smothering. Debts of style and sensibility to both Hou Hsiao-hsien (leisurely pans on slowly developing interior scenes; long camera distance) and Apichatpong Weeresethakul (dream narration and unceremonious narrative bifurcation) are apparent. Some of the acting (by non-actors) comes off as studied, and on the whole the film is stronger in its non-narrative aspects, for its purely visual discoveries, than as a portrayal of the concerns of young Singaporeans (which it also is). Red Dragonflies is above all the revelation of a director’s personality.

Read the rest of the article here.

Red Dragonflies; Liao Jiekai 2010

Ian Mundell weighs in on the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam’s “Forget Africa” program, of which Sherman Ong’s Memories of a Burning Tree was a part:

In Memories of a Burning Tree, Sherman Ong from Malaysia worked with local filmmaker Peter Mbwago to tell the story of a young man arriving in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in order to look for a grave. In the course of his search he encounters a number of other characters whose life revolves around the graveyard and a local cafe, each also looking for something. With understated performances from non-professional actors speaking Swahili, the film gives a striking impression of urban African life without pushing violence, poverty or disease.

Read the rest the article here.

Memories of a Burning Tree; Sherman Ong 2010


Some good news

Posted in News by being on May 12, 2010

1. After playing to full-house audience in Buenos Aires, Red Dragonflies by Liao Jiekai won the Special Jury Prize in the Jeonju International Film Festival. The Special Jury Prize, also known as the JB Bank Award of KW7m, is awarded by the International Competition Jury made up of critic/curators Philip Cheah and Michael Witt and filmmakers Nacer Khemir, Bae Chang-ho and Lav Diaz.

They praised Red Dragonflies as “a film that we valued above all for its mysterious evocation of Singapore’s disappearing history – both social and personal – and its gentle depiction of innocence and passing youth […] We felt that there were moments in this small, relatively low-budget, non-formulaic film by first time director Liao Jiekai that displayed great sensitivity and promise for the future.

More here on
Screen International http://www.allbusiness.com/trends-events/arts-festivals-exhibitions/14413552-1.html and
Zaobao 本地电影《红蜻蜓》 韩国全州电影节夺奖 http://www.zaobao.com/fk/fk100512_014.shtml
Sindie Interview with filmmaker
A Nutshell Review http://anutshellreview.blogspot.com/2010/05/red-dragonflies-wins-at-jeonju.html

2. Red Dragonflies by Liao Jiekai and White Days by Lei Yuan Bin each screened to 2 large halls of full-house audience in Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Films (BAFICI), ranked top 10 in terms of audience by www.filmfestivalworld.com.

3.  In The House Of Straw by Chris Yeo Siew Hua and Memories Of A Burning Tree by Sherman Ong screened to full-house audience at the Singapore International Film Festival. The latter is the only Singapore film selected for the Asian Feature Film Competition.

4. Flooding in the Time of Drought by Sherman Ong was just shown at the Barcelona Asian Film Festival.

5. Matahari by Azharr Rudin was one of 10 projects selected by EAVE (Udine and Pusan Promotion Plan) and we will be participating in the Udine Far East Film Festival and the Pusan International Film Festival.

6. Betok by Sherman Ong,  earlier selected for the Hong Kong Asia Financing Film Forum (HAF), Hong Kong International Film Festival, is one of 29 projects awarded by Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) for Script & Project development.

7. For I’ve Loved by Lai Weijie and Elizabeth Wijay is on schedule and will shoot in Siem Reap in June!

8. 3 projects from 13 Little Pictures have been selected by MDA to bring to the Cannes Market: Bridge by Daniel Hui, For I’ve Loved by Lai Weijie and Elizabeth Wijay and Matahari by Azharr Rudin.

9. We have 3 new completed short films – Sayang and Rumah Sendiri by Daniel Hui and When the End of Winter Is Almost Spring (for Singapore International Arts Festival) by Sherman Ong, photographed by Lei Yuan Bin.

9. In post – Night Lights by Daniel Hui and Roadside Picnic by Lei Yuan Bin.

10. In development – Betok by Sherman Ong, Bridge by Daniel Hui, Matahari by Azharr Rudin, In The Absence of the Sun by Lucky Kuswandi and Redhill Close by Lei Yuan Bin.

Other Singapore films (not by 13 LP) released recently that you may also be interested to catch:

The Blue Mansion by Glen Goei
Kidnapper by Kelvin Tong
Being Human by Jack Neo
Happy-Go-Lucky by Harry Yap
The Birdsong Trilogy by Royston Tan (telemovie)
Roulette City by Thomas Lim (Singapore Panorama, Singapore International Film Festival)
Sandcastle by Boo Junfeng (Critic’s Week, Cannes 2010)
Gurushetram – 24 Hours of Anger by T T Dhavamanni (first Tamil feature film from Singapore)
Forever by Wee Li Lin (in post but here’s an interview with the cast and crew http://www.razor.tv/site/servlet/segment/main/entertainment/47638.html)

Our heartiest congratulations too: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Competition, Cannes 2010) and The Tiger Factory by Woo Ming Jin (Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2010).

Upcoming April Screenings from 13 Little Pictures

Posted in News, Screenings by being on March 29, 2010

Hot on the heels of our premieres in Hong Kong and Rotterdam, more upcoming screenings of our works will happen in April.

1. Red Dragonflies will be in International Competition at BAFICI (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Films):
10 Apr / 19:45 h
11 Apr / 19:30 h
12 Apr / 14:45 h

A young artist goes back to Singapore from New York. She returns home, to old friends and familiar places. Not everything fits in. Memories and friendships are like roots but also like mysteries, and like such, they’re inexact, slippery, at times revealing, at times mere detours. Two teenage boys and a girl, all in their school uniforms, walk near a train track around an area of abundant vegetation; their gait is an exploratory one, charged with fears, amazements and new things (yes, there’s echoes of Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me) One of them gets lost. In that loss, and in the memories of a grown woman, there’s a sense of unease, a search, and the chance of meeting with the past and the people from it. A film of derivations with a subtle and singular sensibility, Liao Jiekai’s opera prima leads us to discuss the always hard to accomplish –even to mention– idea of cinema as poetry, which in this case is made of soft connections, juxtapositions, rhymes, and bars, that seem as free as necessary.

2. White Days by Lei Yuan Bin will have its South American premiere at BAFICI (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Films):

16 Apr / 20:45 h
17 Apr / 11:00 h
18 Apr / 19:15 h

Dreaming of a trip to Taiwan but stuck in a city they can’t seem to leave from, three young people get together to create a friendship net that would save them from their inanimate loneliness. An unsterilized black & white image, with a documentary-like gray realism, provides the setting for a series of conversations and situations that have as much everyday nihilism as religious theories bordering the ridicule. With an overwhelming contemporary spirit, and a lucid pop art cinephilia, Tsai Ming-liang and Richard Linklater come together as explicit and essential references for White Days’ main characters, but also for its director, who combines the theme of young lethargic people engaging in sharp dialog –Linkater’s slackers– with the challenging aesthetics that implies taking a wide shot and creating a universe populated by Tsai’s vanishing point. Lei Yuan Bin’s film debut is one of the most promising of Singaporean cinema, which is quietly positioning itself as one of the more vital exponents of the continuing Asian renewal.

3. In The House Of Straw by Chris Yeo Siew Hua will premiere in Singapore International Film Festival

“A brave, complex, crazy, funny, weird, uncompromising coming-of-age film for the facebook generation.” –  Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn, NETPAC Juror and writer for Bioscope

“Straw is one example of the more exciting things to come from the real New Wave that’s percolating underneath the mainstream.” – Mayo Martin, TODAY. Read his wonderful article here.

The Arts House Theatre on 17th Apr, 4:15pm

4. Memories of a Burning Tree will be in Asian Feature Film Competition at the Singapore International Film Festival

With understated performances from non-professional actors speaking Swahili, the film gives a striking impression of urban African life without pushing violence, poverty or disease.” Ian Mundell, Senses Of Cinema

Sinema Old School on 18th Apr, 2:00pm

5. Two more screenings in Hong Kong too on the 3 April:

RED DRAGONFLIES by Liao Jiekai >> tickets

03 Apr 2010 at 7:15 PM at Hong Kong Space Museum Lecture Hall

MEMORIES OF A BURNING TREE by Sherman Ong >> tickets

03 Apr 2010 at 9:30 PM at UA Langham Place

Though not a 13 LP film, Roulette City by first-time Singapore filmmaker, Thomas Lim, will also screen under the Singapore Panorama section in Singapore International Film Festival. Do check out this debut on
16th Apr, 9:15pm at Sinema Old School.

13 Little Pictures in Hong Kong

Posted in New Titles, News, Screenings, Upcoming Projects by being on March 7, 2010

It was in Hong Kong last year that 13 Little Pictures first presented our first films. This year we returned with two new feature films in official selection in the Hong Kong International Film Festival and a project selected for the highly competitive Hong Kong Asia Financing Film Forum (HAF). So there’ll be quite a contingent of us there.

At the film festival, 13 Little Pictures will be presenting the completed feature-length films: MEMORIES OF A BURNING TREE by Sherman Ong and RED DRAGONFLIES by Liao Jiekai.  This will be the Asian premiere of Sherman’s film and the world premiere for first-time filmmaker, Liao Jiekai. The latter will be competing for the FIPRESCI critics prize.

MEMORIES OF A BURNING TREE is a road movie set in Tanzania and the first Singapore feature film shot on the digital SLR camera. The title of RED DRAGONFLIES is taken from an iconic song by The Little Tigers (小虎隊) and uses the flight of the red dragonfly as a childhood metaphor for the process of growing up and pursuit of dreams.

Their films will screen in the Indie Power section alongside SHE, A CHINESE (winner of Locarno International Film Festival) and MUNDANE HISTORY (winner of International Film Festival of Rotterdam). Another Singapore film, THE BLUE MANSIONS by Glen Goei will be presented in the Global Visions section of the festival.

MEMORIES OF A BURNING TREE by Sherman Ong >> tickets

28 Mar 2010 at 4:00 PM at UA Cityplaza (meet the filmmaker)
03 Apr 2010 at 9:30 PM at UA Langham Place

RED DRAGONFLIES by Liao Jiekai >> tickets

25 Mar 2010 at 7:15 PM at UA Cityplaza (meet the filmmaker, cast and crew)
03 Apr 2010 at 7:15 PM at Hong Kong Space Museum Lecture Hall

THE BLUE  MANSIONS by Glen Goei >> tickets
23 Mar 2010 at 9:30 PM at UA Cityplaza (meet the filmmaker)
26 Mar 2010 at 5:30 PM at UA Times Square

Widely recognised as one of the most important film-financing platforms in Asia, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) this year selects only 25 Asian filmmakers with upcoming film projects to Hong Kong. One of them is BETOK, a project in development at 13 Little Pictures. A romance between a non-Muslim Chinese man and a Muslim Chinese woman set in Malaysia, BETOK plots the tensions between the different ethnic, religious and political groups that share this nation.

Two other Singapore projects have also been chosen: THE ARRIVAL by Tan Pin Pin and  CHANG AND ENG by Ekachai. Other projects are by Leon Dai (Golden Horse Best Film winner of NO PUEDO VIVIR SIN TI) and Teddy CHEN, director of BODYGUARDS AND ASSASINS.

This will also be my first time attending the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, the Oscars of Asia, as one of the jury members. Whereas more people might know of the Golden Horse, that only caters to Chinese language films, the Asian Film Awards covers Korea, Japan and also India and middle east. Let’s walk the red carpet together!

Date: 28 Mar 2010Meet the audience session
Time: 4:00 PM
Code: 28UC3M3
Venue: UA Cityplaza
Date: 03 Apr 2010
Time: 9:30 PM
Code: 03UL4E2
Venue: UA Langham Place