City News meets the director of local short film, The Gang.
A prequel to Sng’s upcoming feature film More Than Words, The Gang is set against the backdrop of Singapore in the 1970s, when secret society and gang clashes were rampant. The film boasts a star-studded cast that includes Andie Chen of Fighting Spiders and Little Nonya, Vincent Tee and Louis Wu of Blood Ties, Emma Yong of Blue Mansion, and veteran indie actor, Sunny Pang.
Maia Lee, who plays Za Bor, the leader of Red Butterfly Gang, performed two songs during the premiere: Teresa Teng’s classic, “More Than Words” and “Blame Myself”, from her debut album, Emotionally Advised.
CNW: Why did you choose to focus on the ‘70s for both films?
Sng: I have a special affinity to the period as I was born in the ‘70s. That was a period when gangsters were in a very vulnerable position because they were being clamped down by the government. Instead of portraying gangsters in a supreme position as depicted in many movies, I thought why not portray them as normal human beings who eat, drink and sleep, just like us? Put them in a vulnerable position where their careers and lives are at stake.
Where did you get your inspiration for both films?
Sng: I’ve always felt that if Hollywood can make The Godfather, and Hong Kong can make Infernal Affairs, why can’t Singapore make our own definitive gangster film? We have a rich history when it comes to secret societies.
What were the challenges faced during the filming?
Sng: First, I blew the budget because I wanted everything exactly the way I wrote it, and executing it required lots of money. We had to build [many sets] from scratch. Many unforeseen costs were incurred, including location scouting, costumes and hair styling. I’m thankful for the kind sponsorships we’ve had. It’s probably the most expensive short film ever made in Singapore. To gather such an excellent stellar cast in the same film was also quite a challenge. Luckily, they were very cooperative, very professional and I’m very blessed to have them on my project.