Fivestarsandamoon caught up with local director for an interview for his feature film FAERYVILLE.
Local feature film FAERYVILLE which the critics call “uberhip”, “unorthodox”, “dark”, and “dystopian” is a labour of love that took 8 years to birth. We speak with local underground filmmaker Tzang Merwyn Tong on how he feels now that it is finally on the big screens on Singapore. And trust us when we say we are asking the tough questions.
FSAAM: Were the roles casted to your satisfaction?
TMT: We took a long time to cast each and every character of our dystopian teen movie. Every effort has been made to ensure that Faeryville Stars are not only beautiful but inspiring and believable. We may be indie, but we didn’t compromise…
FSAAM: Agree! We were very impressed with the casting! Teen Movies have a great way of giving rise to new stars that will rejuvenate the industry.
We hope some Faeryville Stars will usher in a new era for Singapore cinema. So let’s ask the tough questions. What criticisms have you received?
TMT: The common criticism is that Faeryville is too intelligent, too ‘cheem’ and too heavy. Many say, Singaporeans are not ready for a film like Faeryville.
But I believe as a country, that we should move beyond horror and comedy. It’s SG50. Shouldn’t we come of age? Instead of looking back. Being nostalgic. Making sure our films are set in HDB flats to reflect realness. Why can’t we think bigger? Why can’t we make a dystopian film? Or a Sci Fi? Or a fantasy, that is thought provoking and intelligent.
I won’t call it harsh because I was ready for it. I set out to make FAERYVILLE the film I wanted to make, and I know what it is. It is my role as an artist to push culture and society forward, not backwards. If they don’t believe in this film enough to support it, then maybe they are not ready for it. But I will not lose faith in the rest of Singapore.
FSAAM: Who’s! gave us goosebumps right there! The good kind – speaking of goosebumps, Let’s talk about a couple of controversial scenes (not to give too much away) but HOW ON EARTH did you convince the ladies to be part of those scenes?!!!?!?!
TMT: I just pitched the scene to them, and tell them how I want it to be.
Jade Griffin and Tanya Graham, the two female starlets of Faeryville may be very young, but they are smart. They can see how passionate I am about the film, and I guess they trust me enough to make that scene work.
Now, people are going to wonder, what is this ‘scene’ about? Ha…well, for people who watched it, and are looking at this Q&A, for an answer. I have this to say: In the world of teenagers, many things don’t make sense, because they don’t have to.
It’s us as adults, that try to make sense out of everything, and try to put a label on things and divide them into boxes, based on actions.
FSAAM: It made us sit up straight alight! So! You made a little tiny appearance in your own film – is this perhaps a signature we can expect from your next?
TMT: Yes I did. And nope, it’s not a signature. The scene calls for it. The Cameo is actually a reference to the first film I made in 1999, called e’Tzaintes, and it’s also set Faeryville College, the same universe as Faeryville.
FSAAM: And while we are on that WHAT IS NEXT?
TMT: I have had some offers to direct films, similar to the worlds I set my films in. That’s a good thing. It shows that Singapore films are opening up.
But I’m looking at them carefully. I put 1000% of myself into every project I take on, and I need to be convinced that it’s a project worth taking up.
I’m also working on a script for a post-apocalyptical epic.
FAERYVILLE | M18 (mature content) | 97 minutes, will have a limited Theatrical Release in Singapore, exclusively at Filmgarde Bugis+ from 26 May 2015. This will be the first time it is screened in cinemas, after a successful World Premiere in Los Angeles, USA.