Monday, May 23, 2011

ScreenSingapore is the Place to Be

A page from my grandmother's Changi memoir.

The New York Times reports today that Hollywood is going International (well, we all know that)and mentions a new film festival ScreenSingapore that illustrates the point.

Hollywood Presses its Global Agenda

My radio play, Looking for Mrs. Peel at

is popular in Singapore, because it takes place in Singapore during WWII. It starts out in Canada in 1967, when the sun was setting on the British Empire, and it focuses on my grandmother's story. I like to see my grandmother (who was born in County Durham but lived most of her life in Kuala Lumpur) as the symbol of End of Empire.

The Changi Story has been done to death, starting with Kwai, but the Double Tenth Torture Incident is VERY topical. Many people arrive at my website looking for information on the Double Tenth, many from Singapore but plenty from elsewhere. Indeed, I have learned that the the Trial of Sumida Haruzo is a Law School Classic.

That book would make a good topical movie, but it wouldn't be fun visually. My story, that encompasses Expo 67 with all the youth culture and beautiful hostesses would be very pretty to look at - for the first bit.

The part where my grandmother is put in solitary is also topical, considering the treatment of Bradley Manning.

As I pointed out in my play, Malaya was one of the first Multicultural Societies. Canada in 1967 was just beginning its multicultural adventure.

I like to think Expo 67 (which figures large in my play) symbolizes this.

The New York Times article quotes Greg Coote, who is the Chairman of the Board of Screen Singapore as saying that ScreenSingapore is a cross beween ShoWest and CineExpo and the Santa Monica Festival.


This can only be good news for us North Americans, who are starved for world films. Maybe some more good ones will come our way.

The first ScreenSingapore event will feature Jon Landau, who produced Avatar,for a 3-D conference; Jim Gianopulos, chairman and chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment; and Michael J. Werner, the chairman of Fortissimo Films