HAF: Banned Director Tan Pin Pin To Unlock ‘Time Capsule’ of Singapore’s Past

Singapore’s most prolific documentary director-producer Tan Pin Pin this week presents new project “Time Capsule” at the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (March 23-25.

Tan’s films have always focused on Singapore, its histories and the present day. Though she received critical acclaim at numerous film festivals, “To Singapore, with Love,” her award-winning documentary about Singapore’s political exiles was banned at home in Singapore last year.

The death this week of Singapore’s founder Lee Kuan Yew makes “Capsule” all the more timely. Lee, an authoritarian and no friend of the free press, might have found her concept interesting. “Capsule” looks at the importance of personal archives and memories and their links to the official records of the history.

Tan says “Time Capsule” should serve as a cinematic time capsule that records a succession of changes in Singapore’s 50-year history. It will juxtapose footage taken in past eras with newly shot scenes of present-day Singapore.

Tan says that “Time Capsule” was inspired by cinematographer Ivan Polunin’s footage of Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s that shows how the ordinary daily lives of Singaporean people were interrupted by the political restructuring of the country.

“I found myself trying to impose my present-day Singapore of shiny skyscrapers, with the ‘live’ but old moving color images Polunin had filmed. Were we ever like that? I hope to document Singapore in the way Polunin had done,” says Tan in a statement.

“Time Capsule” has already won a New Talent Feature Film grant from Singapore’s Media Development Authority, the same regulator that last year banned Tan’s “To Singapore, With Love.”

With a production budget of $200,000 fully secured, “Time Capsule” is now seeking co-producers, sales agents and pre-sales at the HAF.

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