Local director Tan Pin Pin to collaborate with MDA despite recent film ban

Local director Tan Pin Pin to collaborate with MDA despite recent film ban
The Films Appeal Committee said that the film, which profiles nine political exiles who were members or supporters of the Communist Party of Malaya, was a threat to the country's national security.

Despite the controversy surrounding her most recent film, local director Tan Pin Pin is determined to "be herself" in her latest short film, which will be fully funded by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC).

Ms Tan is one of seven local film-makers who will be collaborating on 7 Letters, a collection of seven short films which will showcase the life and stories of Singaporeans.

It is an SG50 film to celebrate Singapore's 50th year of independence.

Ironically, the SFC is part of the Media Development Authority (MDA), which banned Tan's film To Singapore, With Love from public screenings in September.

Last month, MDA upheld its "Not Allowed for All Ratings" classification on the documentary about Singapore's political exiles after she appealed against the previous decision.

The line-up for the omnibus is led by director Royston Tan, and also includes Boo Junfeng, Eric Khoo, K. Rajagopal, Jack Neo and Kelvin Tong.

The gala screening of 7 Letters will take place from July 24 to 26 next year at the newly refurbished Capitol Theatre.

Mr Tan, who was approached by the SG50 committee for ideas for a film, was in charge of garnering the local film community for support.


He said a press conference yesterday: "Each of the short films is an intimate reflection of our unique stories and connections with Singapore - very much like writing a personal letter. These are our collective love letters to the place we call home."

A spokesman for MDA said: "MDA is happy to support 7 Letters, a creative tribute that tells of locally-inspired stories to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday.

"We hope that the good showing of established film-makers for this meaningful project will inspire more local film talents to come up with good and original content, adding to the vibrancy of our local media scene."

For Ms Tan, the challenge was not the censors, but in filming her first drama in 15 years. She had her start in the industry when she worked in the drama department of TV programmes like Under One Roof and Growing Up.

"I've worked with MDA since the 1990s so it's perfectly fine... I will still be myself," she said.

Tan also denied having any hard feelings towards MDA or that she faced restrictions from the authorities on her upcoming short film.

Indeed, the summary of her as-yet-untitled segment - which will be themed Roots and is described as "a road movie about a family looking for their roots" - has already been approved by MDA.

It will be shot in Malaysia and Singapore, and she is in the process of finalising the script.

This article was first published on Dec 3, 2014.
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