Singaporean filmmaker’s struggle to tell the story of love

Alycia Lim
Alycia Lim
Singaporean filmmaker’s struggle to tell the story of love

Back in 2008, independent filmmaker Derrick Lui saw three of his close friends go through unfortunate love-related events.

“Their romantic relationships brought them the happiest memories of their lives, but very quickly they turned sour,” he told Yahoo Singapore in a recent interview.

The director saw his friends through the hard times, and some were left broken.
Seeing the sequence of events unfold inspired him to make 1400, a film about love, based in a hotel.

Funding struggles

Without any funding, Lui picked up his camera and began with a short film, When Night Falls, to showcase his abilities in filmmaking – in the hopes of getting funding for 1400.
The short film eventually won him a few awards, but nothing close to what he needed to pursue his dream of completing 1400. While both films are independent from each other, they run a similar theme and style.

“It was tough getting sponsors because I didn’t have a script for 1400 to show potential investors. Like When Night Falls, it is supposed to be a film without dialogue, and dialogues are what makes a script. As such, it was really tough explaining this to potential investors,” he said.

Eventually, Lui wrote a script with the help of a friend as it was the only way he could get close enough to any funding. Unfortunately, he still has not managed to get sponsors to fund the film.
The father of three also turned to Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site where he set S$5,000 as the target, purely for post-production costs. “Even with such a low target, I did not meet it. It turned out to be a lot harder than I had imagined,” he said.

While it may not have worked out for Derrick, the idea of crowd funding is not a new phenomenon, with other local producers having used this platform to raise funds for their films. In Hollywood, Rob Thomas, the creator and executive producer of a discontinued television series Veronica Mars raised $2 million in less than 24 hours through a crowdfunding site to make a Veronica Mars movie. Spiderman’s James Franco, too, used crowdfunding site Indiegogo to fund his movie Palo Alto, based on his collection of stories.
Lui said that while the Indiegogo platform he used for crowdfunding has since ended, people can contribute to the making of the film via his website.

Just do it

“At one point, I had to make a decision on whether to give up, or make the film with whatever I have, and I chose the latter,” he explained.

The film is currently in its post-production stages, and the making of the film’s soundtrack is under way.  

“At the end of the day, I just want to tell the story. Love is a universal theme, after all,” he said.