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Locarno Winner Akanga Boards Open Doors Project ‘Tiger Stripes’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Fran Borgia, of prolific Singapore production house Akanga Film Asia, has boarded Amanda Nell Eu’s “Tiger Stripes,” a project entered in Locarno Festival’s Open Doors section, as co-producer.

Akanga’s “A Land Imagined,” directed by Yeo Siew Hua, won three prizes at Locarno last year, including the coveted Golden Leopard for best film, amongst a slew of other awards internationally.

Yulia Evina Bhara, of Indonesian production outfit KawanKawan Media, has also joined “Tiger Stripes” as co-producer. The company’s “The Science of Fictions,” directed by Yosep Anggi Noen, is in competition at Locarno this year.

“Tiger Stripes,” Nell Eu’s feature debut, will follow an 11-year-old girl who is carefree until she starts to experience horrifying physical changes to her body. While her emotions and urges are constantly flipping from one extreme to the next, she realizes that her body itself is morphing at an alarming and frightening rate.

Foo Fei Ling is producing for Ghost Grrrl Pictures, a Malaysia-based company specializing in producing female-centric films from Southeast Asia, including Nell Eu’s 2018 short “Vinegar Baths.”

“ ‘Tiger Stripes’ is a very unique project and we are delighted to be part of this adventure,” Borgia told Variety. “Amanda and Fei are very talented filmmakers, and the story they are telling has many dimensions. It’s ultimately a personal journey of a girl in today’s society. It’s exactly the kind of project we believe in, and the kind of story that must be told.”

After “Vinegar Baths,” her 2017 short “It’s Easier to Raise Cattle,” and now “Tiger Stripes,” Nell Eu has used the female body as a narrative driver. “A few years ago I started thinking about the difference between my mind and my body,” Nell Eu told Variety. “To me, they have become two separate things. I feel that I am more in control with my mind, and that I have forgotten to listen to my body – the part of me that reacts instinctively or even unconsciously. And because of that, I keep reminding myself to listen to my body, and I push myself to tell stories that way. This is why I am always exploring this theme of the female body in my films.”

“Tiger Stripes” comes to Locarno after winning a Hubert Bals Fund Bright Future award at Rotterdam and the Sitges Pitchbox Award at the Network of Asian Fantastic Films at Bucheon this year. It also won the Talents Tokyo award in 2018.

Principal photography is scheduled at Malaysian locations in the last quarter of 2020.

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