Heritage Film Tour: Traversing Downtown Singapore Through Film (Car Free Sunday, 25 March 2018)
A GUIDED FILM LOCATIONS WALKING TOUR WITH SGFILMHUNTER
Ninety years ago, local feature filmmaking began in a shophouse in the Telok Ayer District. The Singapore-registered Nanyang Lau Poey Kim Motion Picture Company (南洋刘贝锦自制影片公司) had set up a production office at 12, Pekin Street and by 1927, completed what was most likely the first local narrative feature film produced in Singapore. The film, a Chinese silent movie titled 'New Friend' or 'Xin Ke' (新客; New Immigrant), premiered at Victoria Theatre on 4 March 1927. The story of the film commenced with the arrival of an immigrant at the Singapore harbour. Likewise, many films from subsequent eras that were made or shot in Singapore featured the old harbour of Singapore, oftentimes with protagonists disembarking at Clifford Pier or Telok Ayer Basin. The downtown area surrounding Clifford Pier (stretching from Boat Quay to Telok Ayer Street) was also a popular locale for film shoots. It was where celluloid stories were conjured up as part of 1930s Hollywood features; WWII documentaries; classic films from the golden era of Malay cinema (1950s-60s); and the numerous Hong Kong and Euro-American films that found this tropical city to be a heady and enticing backdrop.
Experience these films of places and buildings in downtown Singapore as they were: moving images of their former selves hidden behind and beneath conserved facades, land reclamations and the ever-new cityscape brought about by urban renewal. Tour participants will get to watch film clips from decades ago, pore over old maps and pick up little histories of this perpetually transforming city through their smartphones on whatsapp. The tour leader, Hun Ping aka sgfilmhunter, will upload film clips and make them available for online viewing at the stops during the tour (via Youtube).
The walking tour will begin at the entrance of Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall and end at Telok Ayer Street (Far East Square).
‘sgfilmhunter’ is Toh Hun Ping, a filmmaker and film researcher. In preparation for his next film, he is researching into the history of film production in early-mid 20th century Singapore. Developed from a personal blog on Singapore film locations (sgfilmhunter.wordpress.com), he created the Singapore Film Locations Archive, a private video collection of films made and shot in Singapore, and finds time to maintain the archive’s resource website (sgfilmlocations.com). He has worked as a writer-researcher and film editor for programmes at the National Museum of Singapore Cinémathèque (The Story of Kong Ngee, Foundation of Run Run Shaw’s Cinema Empire, Gems of Amoy Cinema, Witness to War) and the Asian Film Archive (State of Motion 2016-2018, Celluloid Void 2, Kong Ngee's Nanyang Trilogy Restored).