Spotted! Benjamin Tan


Click image to watch the teaser.

Benjamin Tan is pursuing his undergraduate studies at NTU’s school of Art, Design and Media, majoring in digital film production. Currently in his foundation year, his forays into the film and video art mediums under the directorial pseudonym of jmin have since been screened at a number of local and international film festivals, including the Asian Film Symposium, Project SLINGshort in the UK, the Austin Asian Film Festival and Festival della Creativita in Italy.

While Ben’s passion remains in film, he has an interest in design and motion graphics. To date, he has directed two shorts and a handful of mograph pieces, creating corporate identities and spec ads.”I am now in post production of my third, and most ambitious short project,” Ben adds. “Titled ‘The Girl with the Red Balloons’, it tells a tale of reconciliation between mother and daughter as they become estranged from each other’s reality – their own respective perceptions of the world. Ultimately it deals with the concept of maturity and finding our inner children as we become desensitized by the unrelenting pace of a materialistic, urban society.”


A quirky surrealist experimental, adapted from a script written in the style of theater, the film employs a unique visual style of cardboard sets (inset) which mirror their real world counterparts, where the space within the film is treated as per a stage play. Ben explains: “To visually accentuate the idea that both mother and daughter exist on very different planes of thought, the film will revolve around 2 different worlds. The mother s world is one deeply rooted in pragmatism. Therefore her world will be that of reality, and its scenes will be shot in the real world as we know it. The girl s world, on the other hand, is a highly stylised, surreal staged mock-up of the environment its supposed to mirror in the real world. Everything in this surreal environment is made out of cardboard and paper ala one giant handicrafts project. It represents her take on the world.”

As the story unfurls, audiences will be seamlessly brought through the two parts. “Seeing how the original script we adapted was written very much in the style of an absurdist stage play, we decided to retain that essence by interpreting the surreal scene transitions as would a theatrical director,” Benjamin clarifies. “This is particularly evident in the transitions between scenes, where props and sets clear the space around the actor and new ones move in. Having all the surreal elements interpreted this way and having every effect intended in the script done in camera instead of through visual effects, brings the film visually closer to the idea of a stage play intended for the medium of film.”

The Girl With The Red Balloons will be joining the festival circuit mid 2009.



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