Why and for whom do you film today?
Feature by: Alexis A. Tioseco

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Kiri Dalena

Unoriginal as it may seem, for me this question remains as relevant and compelling as it did when it first hammered my highly impressionable mind during our student activist days at the University [of the Philippines].

In the last ten years the question of For whom posed a challenge that has gone beyond that of my practice of the art of filmmaking. Constant reflection of the beauty and expressive power that this art form wielded has been compounded by a strong sense of social and political injustice and an intimate awareness of human mortality. It has therefore guided my decisions, every unfolding of my existence as a young Filipina filmmaker.

In my case, the challenge and decisions have grown more elaborate and complex. It is no longer just Why, and for whom, do we film today? but Why, and for whom, do we cease to make film today?
---
A filmmaker and cinematographer from the Philippines, Kiri is part of the activist filmmaking collective Southern Tagalog Exposure. Among the films they have produced is the poetic short Red Saga.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Edwin

Why am I still filming, and for who?

This is my answer.

I think the possibility of cinema in exploring personal memory is getting interesting. So for me, from now on and in the future, my cinema will be about trying to collect the memory of being alive as a human being from a very personal point of view.

And for who? My cinema is for me. For my memory. I am imagining: what if suddenly I lost all of my memories about the smell of coffee, or the beauty of smiles, or my other perceptions of this beautiful yet absurd life? All I would need is just to see my own films, and try to gather all of the memories back by connecting my own films with other films in the world. By looking again and again through the portal of these cinemas, I think I could get my impression of life back so that I could understand who I am, why I am here, and what I am in this world.

I am collecting memories: collecting every smell, every taste, every feeling, every song of life, by making my own cinema.

Thatís my answer.

Thank you for making me think about this cinematic question.
---
Edwin is currently in production on his first feature film Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly. He directed four short films all shot on 16mm film: A Very Slow Breakfast, Dajang Soembi: The Woman Who Married a Dog, Kara- Daughter of a Tree, and A Very Boring Conversation.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Tzu Nyen Ho

First - the 'why'.

It seems to me that the world today is a world of images. To work with images, to produce images is a way of engaging with the world. It seems to me that it will be absolutely catastrophic if images are left entirely in the domains of advertisements and propaganda, at the service of capitalism and political power.

Next, the 'for whom'.

On those rare days of elation, I like to believe that what I do engages the present - and my films might have be something useful for everyone alive at this very moment.

On lesser, and more common days, I hope that the films I make might one day find their proper audiences in the future - in those who are yet to come.

On darker days, I am faced with the possibility that I am making films simply as a way to save myself - in the hope that the principles upon which I construct my films have nothing in common with the world around us, a world of systemized stupidity, economic exploitation and political repression.
---
Ho Tzu Nyen is a filmmaker and visual artist from Singapore. He is the director of the films Utama: Every Name in History is I (2004), The Bohemian Rhapsody Project (2006), and Reflections (2007) and the upcoming feature-film Here (expected 2009).

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Ho Yuhang

If I don't do it, I would feel at a loss. If I do it, I get lost in it. Itís better to get lost than hanging out at a crossroad. At some point, someone sees me and asks, "what the hell are you doing here?" and I say, "Have you seen me around?" and that someone asks again, "what the hell are you talking about?" so I say, "Never mind." I walk on.
---
A former engineer, Malaysian director Ho Yuhang has made three films in fairly different styles: Min (2003), Sanctuary (2004), and Rain Dogs (2006), as well as several short films.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Antoinette Jadaone

It took me a while before I finally answered this question. I probably was thinking too hard or too far. Personally, I think that although it has been ages since the Lumieres' first films, and there is more technology and technique today, the reason for making films is still somehow similar. We still make films for selfish reasons. By "selfish", I mean that films are still personal to the filmmaker. It is the fulfillment of some dreamówhether it is to express himself or herself, or to entertain a large audience. There are stories that are too good to be left [as] just concepts in the head. And so we film, for the filmmakers' sake.
---
Antoinette Jadaone is a short filmmaker based in the Philippines (short for now). Her films include 'Plano, Saling Pusa (English title: Tag Along), It Feels So Good to be Alive, Ang Pinakamagandang Pelikula (English title: The Most Beautiful Film) and Tumbang Preso.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Eric Khoo

From a personal point of view I film what inspires meóan idea that refuses to leave.
---
Eric Khoo is one of Singapore foremost filmmakers and producers. He is the director of the films Mee Pok Man (1995), 12 Storeys (1997), Be With Me (2005) and My Magic (2008) as well as numerous short films, and the producer of 15 (2003) and 4:30 (2005) by Royston Tan and Zombie Dogs (2004) by Toh Hai Leong.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Raya Martin

When a writer's son has cold feet, he loses his words endlessly, but the end of things he sees.

I film for my self that missed his childhood, his dreams, his lessons, in the hope that he learns and gains what he missed in those days.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose." ĖKevin Arnold, The Wonder Years
---
Raya Martin is a filmmaker from the Philippines. His feature films include: Ang Maicling Pelicula ng Isang Indio Nacional (English title: A Short Film About the Indio Nacional), Autohystoria, Now Showing, Next Attraction, Possible Lovers, and the documentary Ang Isla Sa Dulo ng Mundo (English title: The Island at the End of the World).

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Amir Muhammad

I make movies for a younger version of myself. In my salad days I used to wonder, quite loudly, why Malaysians didn't make movies about certain things. And now I am slowly answering that impatient but strangely endearing bloke.
---
Amir Muhammad is one of the pioneers of the Malaysia Digital Video Movement. His films include 6horts, Lips to Lips, The Big Durian, The Year of Living Vicariously, Tokyo Magic Hour, The Last Communist and Village People Radio Show. He started a non-fiction publishing company in Malaysia under the name Matahari books.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Uruphong Raksasad

I make films to cure myself and hope it will cure some people, too.
---
Disillusioned by an industry interested only in ratings and profits, Uruphong Raksasad left his work as film editor and postproduction supervisor at major Thai film studios and decided to make independent grassroots films about life and nature around his native Chiang Rai. The March of Time (2000), the first segment of Stories from the North, was his thesis film at Thammasat University. He is currently completing the film Agrarian Utopia (expected: 2009).

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

Why do I film?

Never gave it a thought before. If I have to guess, the only reason I can give is perhaps ďaddictionĒ. [I] think Iím absolutely addicted to the entire process: writing, casting, scouting, filming, editing, etc. I really have no other reason. Never dreamt of becoming a filmmaker. Never made any money from it. I have no need to be making films, but I canít stop doing it. So it must be addiction.

Who do I film for?

If itís addiction that makes me keep making films, then I would have to say Iím filming for myself and those people I have known, whose lives I have stolen from to put into my films.
---
I was born and raised in Bangkok. Studied art history and worked briefly in new york. Worked in advertising back here in Bangkok for almost 10 years before I made my first film, fun bar karaoke. Then came 6ixtynin9, Mon-Rak Transistor, Last Life in the Universe, Invisible Waves, and Twelve Twenty (short). Now Iím about to start shooting another film in about 2 weeks. Iím proud of my films but never really satisfied with them. (written December 29, 2006)

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Sherad Anthony Sanchez

As a student, I make a film as a study on various aspects of cinema--the language, the subject (communicating culture and opening discourses), the account (aesthetics of logic versus aesthetics of sensations) and so on and so forth. At this point, I am curious to how see cinema communicates, connects and affects different kinds of audiences. I even study or compare of the reaction of kids and adults to various devices (and if you are curious, some kids are more open-minded than adults, open to the beauty of the ambiguous and to investigations. I hope someone would offer their expertise and spend time on this study of exploring the effects of logic on aesthetics).

Cinema is seen by some as a continuing discussionóacademic or notóthat reflects important and relevant issues at a certain historical point. This discourse tends to explore various subjects of human life. THe films I make are my response and participation to this world of discourse.

Cinema on the other hand is a means of communication. And for me one of the important aspects of cinema is to offer new and alternative sensations to those senses of ours that have been desensitized by other media. We want to laugh, cry, fall in love, but the human construct is more than these emotions and sometimes we crave for more than thisóa unique human experience that caters to senses forgotten. Some films (that means, not all, thus not inclusive of all. Redundant enough? ) should provide an alternative to sensations that are over masturbated.

Out of discourse and sensations, I fall in love with communities, grow obsessed with issues and perhaps advocacy, allow myself to experience new sensations and things, and am made to admire human nature and relationships and more.

Then, you might ask why? Why the fascination for sensations and discourses? Why the love of communities and human nature? Why the geekiness (forgive this non-word)?

Perhaps the reason for addressing these complexities, is simply because I want to live fully and be a better person.
---
Sherad Anthony Sanchez was born in Davao, Mindanao, Philippines. He is an advocate of stories from the Mindanao region, and is the director of the short film Apple, and the feature Huling Balyan ng Buhi: Or The Woven Stories of the Other. He has just completed his latest feature, Imburnal.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Martyn See

Films are made for anyone and everyone blessed with the sensory faculties of sight and hearing.
---
Martyn See is an editor and activist independent documentary filmmaker from Singapore. Among the films he has made are Singapore Rebel, Zahari's 17 Years and Speakers Cornered.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Tan Pin Pin

It did not occur to me until I lived away from Singapore that location had so much to do with one's creative output. In Chicago where I was based for three years for graduate studies, I found myself, in the land of the free, making very whimsical films that explored subject matter like sexuality, architecture and childhood. Not only were the topics diverse, the forms they took, from narrative to multi-channel experimental work were as diverse. Only when I returned to Singapore, did I tackle more ambitious themes like the national identity so I made videos like 9th August, Moving House, Building Dreams, 80kmh, Singapore GaGa (singaporegaga.com) and now Invisible City (invisible.sg). These Singapore videos invariably take the form of documentaries. I felt this genre whose defining feature was the real was most suited for the urgent work that needed to be done.

In truth one does not have a choice in the kind of work one produces, but one does have a choice as to where one chooses to live. By my decision to move back to Singapore, I made the subconscious decision regarding the work I would be making. It would be work whose primary audience is Singaporean, and it would be work that attempts to push open their perspective of Singapore, to see this country as a teeming, contested terrain, that they should continue to contest and above all, to not lose hope.
---
Tan Pin Pin is a director based in Singapore. She recently completed the feature documentary Invisible City (invisible.sg). In her free time she likes to read, run, and listen to the radio.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

John Torres

I film for myself, for Filipinos, but most especially for my Maker.

I'll stop here, but if you remain unconvinced, learn our language or ask the Filipino next to you.

May magandang rason kung bakit ilang oras o ilang ilog kami nahihiwalay sa inyo dyan sa Labas.

Gaya ng sa taga-Kanluran, habang tulog kayong lahat, mag-uumaga na sa amin, pero sa makikita mo marahil sa kauna-unahang pagkatakataon, mulat ang buong bayan, nagsusunog-kilay, nagplaplano, nag-aalala kung ano na'ng susunod na hakbang.

Masanay ka na. Nasa daan ang aming bilangguan. Nasa bahay ang nakararami, takot lumabas at madalang nang magsalita kahit sa mga kapamilya. Takot mapakinggan ng awtoridad.

Kami ang mga natitirang nasa lansangan, sinisikap na ipagpatuloy ang laban. Hindi namin pinipili ang oras ng pagkain ng mga sanggol. Nakaugalian na naming kumain ng balut sa suki namin sa kanto dahil sa tuwing bibili kami, nakikita namin ang munting himala ng pagbura at pagsulat ng bagong balita na aming mababasa kinabukasan. Mabangong magsulat ang manininda ng balut sa kanto. "Walang di mapapawi sa konting hilot at pananampalataya," sabi niya. "Pero ale," kako, "mukhang tumataas ang presyo ng balut. Baka big time na kayo't di na namin kayo ma-afford."

Ngumiti siya. "Marami na talaga kayong kumakain ng sanggol."

May magandang rason kung bakit mahilig kaming manatili sa dilim. Bayaw ng aming mala-lupang kutis ang anino at tambayan nito. Eksakto ito nang di mo mapansin masyado kung ano ang mga bagay na nagpapaligaya sa amin, dahil hindi mo rin kami maiintindihan. Dayuhan ka, at lenggwahe pa lang, marami nang nawawala sa pagsalin. Hayaan mo kami ritong maging mangingibig, kapatid, asawa, kabit sa iba. Kaibigan namin ang mga kandila't poste ng ilaw na nanghahalina sa inyong tumitig sa kanila. Baka ang iba sa inyong mga kalalakihan, kilala sila. Aming mga Japayuki, Bruneiyuki, at ibang mga mananayaw sa mga pub dyan sa kanluran, umuuwi dito bilang liwanag na sumasayaw sa ihip ng nanonood.

Ngayon alam mo na kung bakit ako malapit sa ilaw nung sinasanay nila akong umasinta ng aking mga biktima.
---
John Torres is a musician an experimental filmmaker Philippines. His films include a trio of shorts known together as The Otros Trilogy and the features Todo Todo Teros and Years When I Was A Child Outside.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Itís a form of therapy for myself. Itís my connection to the people and the world that, without the pretense of filmmaking, I would have let slip by without remembering a thing.
---
Apichatpong Weerasethakul is one of Thailand's leading independent filmmakers. His filmography includes the features Mysterious Object at Noon, Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady and Syndromes and a Century, in addition to many experimental shorts and installations.

The answers:

Kiri Dalena
Edwin
Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Yuhang
Antoinette Jadaone
Eric Khoo
Raya Martin
Amir Muhammad
Uruphong Raksasad
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Martyn See
Tan Pin Pin
John Torres
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

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