Culture Lab : Malcom Chen, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School Of Film and Media Studies student, relates his film experience in France
Malcolm Chen, Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School Of Film and Media Studies student, has been invited to France from July, 3rd to July, 15th to attend the Culture Lab session “Initiation to documentary”. He shares with us his experience:
“There are two things that intrigue me in this world: the ability to capture, arrange and play back images to tell stories, and meeting people from around the world. The 2012 Culture Lab provided me with the opportunity to explore both of these two interests and was the main reason I applied for it in the first place.
The idea of spending twelve days in France working with a team of people from all over the globe would sound almost romantic to most people, and believe me it did, but it’s only when you consider the fact that you are the sole representative from your country that you start to get nervous. I learnt of course, soon after I met the others, that there was nothing to worry about.
I suppose what interested me the most during the programme were the participants. There is something about seeing a group of people, all with their own respective cultures, traditions and customs - laughing over breakfast together and speaking in the same language, as if they had all lived in the same household for years that I found so amazingly fascinating.
The programme gave us the chance to explore France in a way none of us had ever really experienced before. Over time, you come to see that France, like any other country, is not spared from her share of flaws. And yet at the same time, you grow to love her more and more.
We visited numerous places of interest in both Paris and in the Alsace region. We were also lucky enough to have been able to visit a number of production companies and fellow filmmakers who were more than happy to share their work experience and expertise with us. I believe, however, that the most beneficial part of the programme for me was the night we gathered in the dining hall to screen our own respective films.
Seeing the end-product of the commitment and hard work put in by many of the participants really made me think about what I had been doing back here in Singapore. Hearing my friends talk about the processes behind the making of their films was most enlightening and gave me many new insights into how I could improve on my own work in the future as well. As Truffaut used to say, “Ideas are less interesting than the people who have them,” and I came to admire many of my peers that night after listening to them talk.
I am extremely thankful to have been given this amazing opportunity to participate in this programme and for all the experiences I had while I was a part of it. It exposed me to both new people, new ideas and gave me a totally different perspective on both cinema and life. I am currently planning to return to France although the decision as to whether or not it will be for leisure or to further pursue my education has not been decided as of now. I am hoping, perhaps, to find a career there someday in the country I’ve learnt to fall in love with. In any case, returning to France once more is something I plan to make inevitable in my future.”
The group of the Culture Lab session “Initiation to documentary", with Malcolm Chen in the middle of the picture with an Iron Maiden shirt.