Thoughts on Female Games

I want to talk a bit about my movie, Female Games, today.

Here’s my Sinema interview:

Interview
Click to read.

Female Games is now showing at Sinema Old School, and will run till end August. Showtimes here.

After finally seeing it, I suppose I should warn you that it’s not for everyone. But then I was prepared for that. Kan (our director) told us from the start that his films have always been polarising. You either love them or hate them.

Filming

His films are the kind that win prestigious art film awards but the man in the street hates.

It’s a little different for Female Games. I think the word is: confusing. Confusion clouded my head the first time I saw it because the final edit changed everything I knew about the film when we were filming it.

I had trouble answering questions at the Q&A after the show because I was as shocked (and possibly dismayed) at the outcome of the film as the audience.

Q&A
Photo from JayWalk’s blog.

There still is, of course, the expected love and hate reactions. But I get the impression that, on the whole, people don’t know whether to love or hate it.

Whatever the case, I don’t regret being in the film. Experience is priceless.

My first R21 film… coming soon

I thought my movie would never get a chance to be screened after it was withdrawn from the Singapore International Film Festival due to censorship issues.

Sheylara

But Sinema Old School picked it up (yayness) so… I am akan datang!!

In a manner of speaking.

Female Games

In case you’re new to my blog, I’m an actress and this is my first major film. I blogged about the shooting of this film last year, under a different working title (God is a Woman).

The world premiere screening of Female Games is happening on July 22 (Wed, 8 pm). That’s the one I’ll be attending. Tickets are available to the public and can be bought through e-mail, phone or fax at the Sinema Old School site.

If you can’t make it on July 22, check here for other show times. The film will run till the end of the month.

Female Games

Please be aware that this is an R21 artistic, experimental film with sexually explicit content, and has been touted as “the first contemporary Singaporean film to boldly portray female homosexuality”.

If any of the words above bother you, please don’t watch it.

Critic have raved over the film, though. Not a single bad review so far! Read one here.

Female Games

I hope I don’t regret advertising this.

I think I’m going to.

God is a Woman — Day 2

For the record, I’m now back in Singapore, so don’t get confused when I talk about my Malaysia filming trip.

Filming in KL — Day 2
Oct 7, 2008

I was able to sleep an extra hour today, waking up at 6 am. The best sleep you could ever have is when you’re so exhausted that nothing short of a banshee wail could wake you.

The first scene of the day was shot in my room. It was a scene between me and Dean.

Dean is quite an awesome fellow, really. Not only is he our male lead actor, he also doubles up as camera assistant, tour guide, chauffeur, gofer and court jester. (I’m serious about the last one.)

He took this photo for me:

Not bad, huh?

Dean is the kind of person you can’t help making funny faces at.

We were travelling in the car at one point when he said to me, “You must talk about me in your blog today.”

“Okay,” I said. “What do you want me to say about you?”

“That I’m super handsome, charming, irresistable, talented, charismastic, funny, intelligent…”

Kan (our director) cut in at this point: “You really want her to say all that?”

“Yes! Why not!” said Dean with a serious face. “We must be very transparent.”

And then Maria hit him on the head with a cushion.

Dean cried out, “OHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! You just ruined my feng shui for the day!”

“What?” we said in unison.

Gesticulating wildly, at times with his hands dangerously off the wheel, he cried, “I have already set my hair today for good feng shui and you just ruined it!!! Now I have to go back to the feng shui master again to reset my hair!”

Kan then threatened to kill his character off in the film if he continued being a nutcase, so we managed to arrive at our intended destination without any further incident.

This photo was taken in an actual casting house in KL, where models go to get in line to be slaughtered.

Well, at least, that’s what I feel like each time I go for a casting.

Fortunately, today’s casting session wasn’t real.

Here’s Kan setting up a shot in the props room while I wait outside:

Nash posing with a bicycle:

Actually, he wasn’t posing. That was part of the scene.

After the casting house, we went to a Chinese temple.

It’s such a big temple that there’s even a food court in the basement.

There are also stalls selling I dunno souvenirs or religious artefacts.

There’s even a marriage registration counter.

While Kan set up for the next shot, the rest of us enjoyed the silly antics of Dean and Nash.

I told you he doubled as our court jester.

I tried to blog but it was very hard to, with crazy people beside me doing crazy things.

See what I mean?

After our temple scenes, we went back to Dean’s apartment in the heart of KL, where he has a rooftop garden.

Okay, it’s not exactly a garden. It’s just a rooftop area with a little bit of greenery around the edges. But the view is nice.

I thought it was a nice place to camwhore, so I did that while the rest were shooting stuff that didn’t require me.

Now comes the interesting location.

This place can be found about two minute’s walk from our hotel (Hotel Istana), and maybe just a litte more from KLCC.

It was fortunately drizzling at the time we went there, so there weren’t too many flies and rats and it wasn’t too smelly.

Dean says this dumping ground has been like this like, forever. The level of rubbish goes up and down over time but it never disappears. Apparently, the authorities do come to clear it once in a long while, but for some reason they don’t clear everything at once, so it piles up again.

And yes, there are people living in the buildings surrounding the rubbish pile.

On the first day of our shoot, Kan told me and Maria that we would have to wade into the rubbish pile for one of our scenes.

We believed him.

Since it was drizzling, I took out my umbrella to protect the camera. (I was the only one who remembered to bring an umbrella. Although, actually, it wasn’t so much of remembering as the fact that I always have an umbrella in my bag, anyway.)

Guess who had to hold my cute little pink umbrella? Hehe.

Last stop for the day.

Kan found this hawker who sells, among other things, char kway teow and bak kut teh. He set up his camera at the stall without a word and started filming this uncle cooking.

The uncle didn’t even flinch. Cool.

When he was done (I mean Kan), he thanked the uncle, shook his hand and gave him RM20 as a token of appreciation.

I thought that went pretty well!

Stay tuned for Day 3!

Where’s Sheylara?

I’m now in Penang, in this cosy little resort, located at one remote end of Penang, called Lonely Pine Hotel. The beach is almost literally standing right outside our balcony. (It’s separated by a small swimming pool.)

The wireless network access provided by the resort didn’t work so I’m now using the wired access computers in the computer room at RM10 an hour. No photos today because it’ll be too much of a hassle to transfer them from my laptop and upload them.

I should be back in Singapore on Sunday.

After almost a week of struggling to get connected (and failing), I am feeling a little frustrated and a little out of touch with the rest of the world.

Of course, the other part of me is enjoying this little holiday. It has been such an incredible journey and I took so many photos (and some videos) I think I will probably go nuts choosing which ones to post.

Gotta go. Internet access is expensive (and dodgy) in hotels (even in tiny little backwater resorts) and I have more scenes to do, anyway.

Be back soon! :)

God is a Woman — Day 1

I wrote this post over two days on Notepad while travelling (and in between filming). It’s my third day in KL now but I feel like I’ve been here forever!

Because I have a lot of trouble getting an Internet connection in most of our filming locations and even at the hotel, even when I’m willing to pay for it, I can’t do on-the-spot live blogging in little bits as I originally planned.

So, here’s a delayed but extended blogcast.

Filming in KL — Day 1
Oct 6, 2008

9:20 am

I’m waiting at a bus-stop for my director to pick me up. I’m a little embarrassed about carrying so much stuff. I’m expecting him to gasp in shock when he arrives.

9:30 pm

He’s here and he’s not gasping at my baggage. Phew. We drive on to Maria’s place.

Maria is my co-actress and this is her on the right. She’s so pretty I could stare at her all day. ;)

9:50 am

After getting her, we shoot a short sequence.

And then I take over the wheel and drive us to the Tuas Checkpoint because our director wants to film me driving.

This is Kan Lume, our director, and an award-winning one at that. He’s framing a shot on his compact camera.

He’s a one-man-crew for this film because he enjoys DIY filmmaking. And we’re working on an experimental film with the working title of “God is a Woman”, about two women travelling to KL to seek their fortunes as models.

In the drivers’ seat, I manage to delay our trip by making two wrong turns, which is typical of me. (I had warned Kan beforehand and he was very aware of the risk of giving me the wheel.)

11:30 am

We get through both Singapore and JB checkpoints without much incident and stop at a nearby petrol station to shoot.

There’s a pink bus at the station. Cute!

I have a solo scene in a smelly male toilet while Maria has one in the car.

It’s really quite cool. I’ve never had an acting gig like that before, where we shoot while we’re travelling. Like a road trip movie.

It even feels like we’re really on a holiday.

12:20 pm

I’m now in the back seat of the car, trying not to get nauseous as I blog on my tiny MSI wind as we speed along the North-South Highway.

3 pm

We stop at a rest stop and Kan turns me and Maria into stuntwomen.

We climb up and down this treacherous hill (decorated with sneaky loose pebbles and mimosa) about three times. Kan sacrificed two of his t-shirts to protect our hands as we scrabble up and down the hill.

And then I get intimately acquainted with some tall prickly grass up on the hill.

What fun!

6 pm

We meet up with our Malaysian co-actors, Dean and Nash.

Dinner at a semi-posh Italian restaraunt which boasts strange toilet signage.

It takes me the second visit before I vaguely understand how either duck represents each gender.

8 pm

More filming at Dean’s apartment, which is just one minute walk away from Hotel Istana. Dean has wireless access so I snatch minutes in between shots to upload a short blog while the guys set up.

10 pm

Maria and I are released to check into our hotel rooms. OH MY WHAT A ROOM.

Maria and I have separate rooms.

Apparently, this hotel is a favourite among many dignitaries.

I have a view of the Petrnoas Twin Towers.

The broadband charges, though, are RM15 an hour. Might as well kill me now. Plus it is super problematic, with faulty network cables and dodgy connection.

2:15 am

I am ready to drop dead now but I have a restless sleep because I’m freezing. Turning the thermostat up by 10 degrees C doesn’t seem to do much.

5 am

RISE AND SHINE FOR DAY 2!