It looks like there is no stopping Dain Said’s Interchange. The noir fantasy thriller – which made its world premiere at Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland in August before a screening at Toronto International Film Festival in Canada in September – has been selected as the opening film for the 27th Singapore International Film Festival.
Starring Malaysian actors Shaheizy Sam and Ieidil Putra, as well as Indonesian actors Nicholas Saputra and Prisia Nasution, Interchange it focuses on a series of strange crimes that is somehow related to a supernatural dimension. In a recent interview with Star2.com, the director said Interchange is inspired by a photograph he saw while researching his first feature film Dukun.
“There were about 20 women (in the photograph). It was a wide shot. The women were bending over and it looked like they were washing their feet. The caption for the photo was, ‘Women washing themselves from the evil effects of being photographed’. It was taken by a Norwegian ethnographer who travelled to Borneo. I thought it was really interesting.” The film is scheduled to open in Malaysia on Dec 1.
Interchange is not the only film made by a Malaysian featured in this year’s SIFF, which is happening from Nov 23 to Dec 4. Singing In Graveyards, directed by Bradley Liew, is a Malaysian-Philippines venture that will also be at the festival. This film made its world premiere at this year’s Venice International Film Critics’ Week a few months back.
Liew, who is currently based in Manila in the Philippines, is no stranger to SIFF. Singing In Graveyards is partly a result of his participation in the festival’s Southeast Asian Film Lab in 2014 – which aims to recognise emerging filmmakers – in which Liew was awarded the Most Promising Project prize.
Liew has also travelled and participated in a number of international festivals including the 2015 Berlinale Talents. He told Star2.com what he gained from this experience: “I think what’s important from these workshops and residencies, besides the technical knowledge, is really the experience of meeting other filmmakers who are struggling just like you. We are social creatures and perhaps by constantly sharing our stories and struggles, we understand ourselves better. Perhaps that’s what the essence of film is.”
Other Malaysian films showing at SIFF are Absent Without Leave (by Lau Kek Huat, a co-production between Malaysia and Taiwan), and Amir Muhammad’s Voyage To Terengganu.
Meanwhile, Ho Yuhang’s Mrs K – which premiered at the recent Busan International Film Festival in South Korea – will be SIFF’s Special Presentation Film. The film is a Malaysia-Hong Kong co-production starring Hong Kong stars Kara Wai and Simon Yam, Malaysian actor Faizal Hussein, and Taiwanese musician Wu Bai. Ho’s film is part of an omnibus that gathers five South-East Asian filmmakers.