If you’re looking for consistently unconventional short films in Singapore, look no further than the works of Tzang Merwyn Tong, who throws up non-formulaic tales that fuses fairy tales with edgy punk and heavy techno influences concocting a strange amalgamation of genres that always somehow click and work wonders. Known for e'TZAINTES and A Wicked Tale, the latter which took on Red Riding Hood in more adult terms before Catherine Hardwicke's came along, Tzang embarks on yet another tech-influenced project this time with students from a local Institute of Technical Education.

As such, while the film undeniably has Tzang’s signature treatment all over it, the execution though did come off more as a student project to allow his largely student crew a first hand experience in making a film, never shying away from dabbling with special effects that worked in some moments, while others did come off as slightly raw. But no venture no gain, and hopefully Tzang did manage to influence some of the students to further explore the technical competencies required in filmmaking, and hopefully we do see a fresh crop of graduates skilled in both the art and science of genre and fantasy filmmaking as the years move along, possessing no fear in tapping onto their imagination to tell stories.

And a fantasy sci-fi story this is, with a group of what’s termed as Fairies of Misfortune having to spend time on earth as self-proclaimed agents of change, possessing supernatural powers that remained under wraps until an action filled final act. In the meantime you get plenty of philosophical talk between Fairies, and a scientist who had captured one of them for further research, the former who unwittingly discovers a weak point in the chinks of the Fairies’ armour that provides for an upper hand in negotiations, or so he thought. Ah, the follies of the human being.

In some ways this short film also served as a showreel of sorts to demonstrate the raw energy that the ITE students bring to the table. Granted not all aspects of this film is as polished as Tzang’s earlier works, but you’d realize that perhaps one of the best and more direct ways of learning is to walk the talk. And at times I felt the techno-babble came on a little too strong for the actors to grasp, that their rote memorizing of lines unfortunately rang through to take some shine off their performances. But it more than made up for it with some incredible VFX stunt sequences for a modestly budgeted film.

Still, for its objectives set forth, V1K1 managed to have the Tzang rubber stamp in concocting a tale of the unconventionally engaging, and one wonders just how different this would have turned out with if the writer-director had a much larger budget at hand. For those who are keen to catch this, you can do so this Thursday at Sinema Old School, and details of the encore screening can be found
here. - Stefan S.

About the Reviewer: Stefan S. is a Singapore based film buff and a keen supporter of Singapore films good and bad. He has been writing about Singapore Cinema and Singapore film-related activities since 2005. He is also a contributing writer at movieXclusive.com, TwitchFilm.net, and Sinema.sg.

Taken from: http://anutshellreview.blogspot.com/2011/04/v1k1-techno-fairytale.html

Part of a new breed of Singapore filmmakers, the alternative film director Tzang Merwyn Tong tells F*** about his vision and his latest sci-fi project, V1K1 – A Techno Fairytale.

By Lisa Twang

Excerpt: How did the V1K1 film project come about?

As an adjunct lecturer at ITE College West, I was approached to direct a short film using a student crew from the Digital Audio Video Production course. We called ourselves the Dreammakers Lab. The goal was to introduce the first-time movie-making experience to these students, and inspire them with the process. But it was these students who ended up inspiring me. Their energy and enthusiasm was highly infectious, and although many of them were touching equipment for the first time, we made a wonderful film that we’re all very proud of.

How would you describe your audience?

Brave, intelligent and curious. Brave and curious because it takes wonder and courage to buy a ticket or DVD for something outside the mainstream; and intelligent, because my films tend to ask questions, that requires the audience to do a bit of thinking themselves!

In your first film, e’Tzaintes, you played a character named W. Ashe Faeke; a makeup-wearing, poetry-spouting goth prophet. Is he your alter ego?

As Faeke, I’m a social outcast trying to rally other misfits into my “world of nonsense and whatever.” I suppose I do share his illusions of grandeur; I believe you have to be somewhat delusional to stay passionate about something. But in reality, I’m a lot less flamboyant than Faeke; I’m actually quite a shy person.

Also, I am not an anarchist at all, but a pacifist! My new film, the FRVL project, is essentially a critique on rebellion. It questions a generation of teenage idealists and activists, and it’s very ambitious. It’s something I’m working very hard to get off the ground, and I’m looking for brave souls who understand it and are willing to invest in it.

As a filmmaker, what is your greatest fear?

Passion. The truth is, I’m worried sometimes that I will be consumed by the films I make. I always put in 200% of what I have; so much that I lose myself completely. It’s something I have to be careful of as a responsible human being. When passion takes over over, I’m afraid I will lose it all by sacrificing myself and real things that are important to me.

V1K1 opens at Sinema Old School 21st April 2011. Pre bookings of tickets can be made here through tix.sinema.sg, You may RSVP on facebook too.

For the full article, read the April 2011 Issue of F*** Magazine.
Visit the Site
e'TZAINTES and A WICKED TALE: TM & 2007 INRI studio. All Rights Reserved.