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Logo used for the inaugural Short Circuit.

The inaugural Short Circuit was held at the Guinness Theatre, The Substation, at 7:30 pm on Friday, 6 October 2006.

It was organised by PLU under the leadership of Alex Au and curated by writer Alfian Sa'at and film director Boo Junfeng.

Short Circuit (2006)[edit]

While it was not quite a full-blown film festival, Singapore had its inaugural showcase of 12 short films by 9 local filmmakers last Friday. Curated by award winning poet and playwright Alfian Sa'at and filmmaker Boo Junfeng, the films that were selected either featured either LGBT themes or were made by queer filmmakers.

Organised by gay advocacy group People Like Us headed by Alex Au, Short Circuit was a private screening - which required attendees to register by email at least a week prior to the event - attracted a turnout of 144 people. The requirement was stipulated by the organisers in consideration of censorship rules in Singapore.

Au explained that almost all films with homosexual content are rated R21 by the Media Development Authority. "We felt that since the filmmakers were themselves barely 21, they would have a lot of their own friends of their age group who'd want to see their works. So it didn't feel right to exclude them."

Au also said, "We would not as a matter of principle accept edits imposed by censors. So we'd rather do a private screening than subject ourselves to rules we do not agree with."

Au, a social commentator and gay rights activist, noted the audience's response in his Yawning Bread blog: "It's hits home very hard, a painful portrayal of what many of us, straight or gay, have gone through. There is desire, and the realisation of that desire in physical sex. But sometimes that turns out to be little more than mechanical, and we deal with it through denial (it's no big deal, we say). But there are times when denial doesn't work and we may feel dirty or used, ending up regretting and chastising ourselves for doing what we did."

While the audience and filmmakers discussed queer film making and having positive gay representation in film, the most quoted take home message of the night was undoubtedly from Ivan Heng, the founding artistic director of W!LD RICE and one of Singapore's best known figures in the arts scene. He articulated the importance of community events such as Short Circuit saying: "Tonight's gathering is significant. We came here as strangers, and having witnessed these films together, we leave as a community."

Programme line-up[edit]

Bedroom dancing[edit]

(In Mandarin with English subtitles) by Sun Koh

Jen and Ken have mind-blowing sex every night. One day, Jen learns that another woman has been watching her husband. A fictional adaptation of the true Singapore story.

Held at the Substation, the evening opened with an unexpected bang where the mostly queer audience watched what is unarguably the most explicit sex scenes (ironically heterosexual) in the history of Singapore filmmaking on the big screen.

Bedroom Dancing, a 18-minute social satire by Sun Koh, is a fictional adaptation of a true story where a man in Singapore was fined S$6,500 (US$4,000) by the state for masturbating at his bedroom window every morning after a woman - who presumably spied on him on numerous occasions - made a police report.

Demam jantan (Boy fever)[edit]

(In Malay with English subtitles) By Ezzam Rahman and Ghazi Alqudcy

Two chatty queer teenagers decide to perform a traditional ritual to get their boyfriend back. It’s a rollercoaster night for them when they need to perform the ritual at a Malay cemetery. Will they be abducted by roaming spirits? Or will they spook their pants off?

Crocodile journals[edit]

By Yeo Lee Nah

Living in disguise, a crocodile goes through the everyday, in a human world. One day, it gets invited to a masquerade party…

Molu (Daughter)[edit]

(In Tamil with English subtitles) By Prema Menon

All her life, Maya has grown up in a small town. Now she dreams of moving onto a place that holds bigger and better things for her. With the inheritance of her deceased father pending, a year after his demise, she sees this as the perfect opportunity to leave. The only thing that stands in her way is her mother's reluctance, or so she thinks.

Montage of 4 very short films[edit]

  • Asian girls vol. 2 (Memoirs of a geisha)
  • Imelda goes to Singapore
  • Instant noodles
  • The ephemeral body

By Brian Gothong Tan

Four very short films by multimedia artist Brian Gothong Tan explore issues of gender, sexuality and cultural stereotypes. From the eerie homoeroticism in The Ephemeral Body to the kimono-clad drag queens in Asian Girls Vol. 2, Brian’s works are often notable for their icy, high-gloss finish subverted by play and parody.

Falling into fuchsia[edit]

By A D Chan

Struggling actor Gary plays Hamlet in a homoerotic film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. As he works hard on the role, his girlfriend complains that he is not giving their relationship enough attention. But when his co-actor Aidan provokes him with suggestive invitations, Gary’s real life and reel life begin to intertwine…

Pink IC[edit]

By Charmaine Wong

Pink IC was made at the height of Remaking Singapore as well as ex-PM Goh’s significant interview with Time Asia Magazine, in which he announced that the government has allowed gay people to hold “sensitive” positions in civil service. The personal is political and Pink IC offers a glimpse into the lives of 5 queer female Singaporeans, exploring what it means to be queer, female and Singaporean.

Wong's 12-minute documentary was spliced with sound bites from a 2003 interview with Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who was asked by the filmmaker where gay people fit into Singapore society. He was speaking at The Remaking Singapore Dialogue held at Perth's Murdoch University where Wong was a Media Studies student.

At the August 15, 2003 dialogue, he said: "Let me put it to you this way, a gay person or a straight person is a citizen. And as a citizen, he has a certain reasonable expectation to be able to live, work, find housing, find a job and to seek fulfillment in his or her own life. The fact that he is different or she is different does not give anybody the right to throw stones or to stone that person.

"But having said that, there's a difference between tolerance and endorsement and as a government, we're not endorsing or promoting the homosexual lifestyle.

"So therefore my advice to gays would be -do your own thing but recognise and respect the fact that the vast majority of Singaporeans are conservative on this point and it would be counterproductive to you to unnecessarily ratchet up the level of debate."

At the time, the "Remaking Singapore" Committee which Dr Balakrishnan heads had just submitted its report which made recommendations on the political, social and cultural aspects of Singapore's survival as a nation. At the same time, an intense public discussion about then PM Goh Chok Tong's Time Asia interview where he disclosed that gay people are being employed within the government was taking place.

Wong told Fridae, "Amidst that discussion, another question was being asked: What happened to the lesbian voice? Why weren't they contributing to the discussion?"

"So that was how Pink IC came about. I wanted queer - not necessarily lesbian - female, Singaporeans - (not only ethnic Chinese Singaporeans - to voice out on how it is for them to be queer, to be female, to be Singaporean and on the political events that were happening around them that were affecting or had the potential of affecting them personally."

Untitled[edit]

By Loo Zihan & Kan Lume

Boy meets boy. Boy has sex. Boy goes home. Boy drinks water. Boy takes a shower. The other boy is fading.

While most films received unrestrained applause, the audience was a little less enthusiastic in showing their appreciation of Loo Zihan's emotionally charged 7-minute film which features a young man who suffers a breakdown in the shower after having sex with a male stranger. The film also inspired questions about whether gay films have a duty to promote positive portrayals of gay life during the question and answer session. Loo's responded that what was depicted in the film could be experienced by both gay and straight individuals.

Un Retrato De Familia (A Family Portrait)[edit]

Main article: Un Retrato De Familia

By Boo Junfeng

Sergio is a 17 year-old amateur photographer. When his little sister asks him about the meaning of sex one day, he revisits a memory years ago, in which he discovers a shocking secret amongst his family members.

The heavyweight offerings of the night were Boo Junfeng's nostalgic Un Retrato De Familia (A Family Portrait) and Pink IC by Charmaine Wong, a documentary which had five women talk about being gay in Singapore.

In A Family Portrait which was filmed in Spain (and Spanish) with a local cast, a young girl asks her teenaged brother a question which leads him to recall a day many years ago when he saw his parents and uncle in a threesome. Boo later revealed that the film was instrumental in his coming out to his mother two years later when he turned 21.

Short Circuit 2 (2007)[edit]

ShortCircuit07001.jpg

After an overwhelmingly successful first run, Short Circuit returned the following year, on Saturday, 22 December 07, again at 7:30 pm at the Guiness Theatre, The Substation. Registration at the door commenced at 7 pm.

This time, however, PLU relinquished its organisation to film maker Boo Junfeng and his friends like He Shu Ming who now had the experience to orchestrate the entire event.

Programme line-up[edit]

Monkey love[edit]

By Royston Tan - 10 min In the evocative landscape of wintry Hokkaido, Monkeyboy (a young man in a monkey suit) searches for his stolen heart - but even the serene beauty of a mountain cannot redeem the failed connection. Mandarin with English subtitles

Londres-London[edit]

By Eva Tang - 10 min In a city that could be anywhere or nowhere, which at any moment could be destroyed, we discover Lisa in the midst of break-up of a relationship and the 7th July London bombs attack. French and English with English subtitles

Locust[edit]

By Victric Thng - 4 min A momentary encounter evokes both a sense of fondness and bitterness of the heart. Moving and lyrical, the film’s Hong Kong backdrop heightens the emotive narration. Cantonese with English subtitles

Autopsy[edit]

By Loo Zihan - 7 min This year, actor and director Loo Zihan appeared in 2 of the most controversial Singapore films ever produced - the gay-themed ˜Solos" and ˜Pleasure Factory". This documentary sensitively explores the subject of media sensationalism from the other side. English and Mandarin with English subtitles

9:30[edit]

By Yong Mun Chee - 13 min Chan Kin Fai flies 14,092.2 km from Singapore to Los Angeles to forget his love. He calls his love every day at 9:30 am Singapore time.

Adam up there[edit]

By Ezzam Rahman and Ghazi Alqudcy - 5 min Two hilariously campy Malay men wear sarongs, dye each other’s hair, and discuss the hunky new neighbour who has just moved in upstairs. Malay with English subtitles

10 minutes later[edit]

By Kirsten Tan - 12 min 10 Minutes Later is a short film that tells the tale of 10 characters - of their habits, their quirks, their relationships, their actions, and most importantly, their interweaving lives. This film is made up of a medley of characters that represent a slice of life. English, Hokkien and Mandarin with English subtitles

White[edit]

By Tan Wei Keong - 2 min A man, dissatisfied with a white cube for a head, decides to give it up immediately for a fanciful one in the name of self-improvement, only to find himself unwillingly dealing with the consequences.

Waking the fluorescent lion[edit]

By Brian Gothong Tan - 7 min A series of tableaus exploring ideological fictions that are written on bodies. Singapore’s history is teasingly eroticized through a series of split-screen vignettes.

Katong fugue[edit]

By Boo Junfeng - 10 min A film adaptation of a short play about a boy with a hidden life and a mother desperately trying to reach out.

Short Circuit 3 (2008)[edit]

The third run of the highly popular event was held on Saturday, 8 November 08, again at The Substation.

Short Circuit 05 (2012)[edit]

ShortCircuit05-2012.jpg


Singapore's showcase of LGBT short films returns for its fifth installment, which continues to limn an extraordinary spectrum of LGBT experiences and perspectives. By turns heartwarming, funny, provocative and wistful, the selection is testimony once again to the vitality and range of our filmmakers.

THE LINE-UP

KRISTY | Marcia Ong | T | English A little girl who is in love with her favorite T-shirt is locked in a battle of wills with her mother, who wishes she would start wearing dresses.

SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME I Ezzam Rahman | 6" | No Dialogue

"Good things come to those who wait* - it is about what lies around the corner, the anticipation of it all, the yearning for something to happen. If only we knew when.

LABOUR DAY | He Shuming | 23" | Mandarin, Malay and English (With English subtitles)

Cik visits her old flat to collect rent from two foreign worker tenants - Zoe, a Malaysian-Chinese who dreams of being a star, and Purple, a study-mama from China who is hiding a secret from her son.

Trailer here.

SISTERS | Lincoln Chia | 9" | English and Mandarin (With English subtitles) The Chinese custom for bridesmaids, or '"sisters", to playfully impede a groom's progress on the morning of the wedding, as he arrives at the home of the bride to fetch her, takes on a dark, poignant twist.

TRANSIT | Regina Tan | 10" | Malay (with English Subtitles)

Sri, an aspiring dancer, reflects on her difficult circumstances as she seeks to embrace a selfhood that our society marginalizes and makes moral judgments on.

THIN AIR | Kirsten Tan | 12* | English A whimsical tale chronicling the final days of Hector, a wheelchair-bound old man who is occupied with fishing - from the rooftop of an apartment building in New York City.

SWING | Leon Cheo | 6" | English A few weeks after Wei Long and Daniel have broken up, Daniel asks Wei Long to meet him one more time.

CHANCRE | Loo Zihan 117" | English Chancre - a painless ulceration formed at the ons of syphilis; a transmutation of a memory couchec shame, Film includes text excerpts from Paul Gauguin's The Writings of a Savage and Walter William Skeat's Malay Magic. Excerpt here (note: graphic content).

TRAILER

You can purchase your tickets at $10 each, via PayPal at http://shortcircuitsg.tumblr.com/ and collect them at the door on 6th 3anuary from 6:30pm with the electronic payment receipt foi verification.

Proceeds will go to Young Out Here (YOH), a support group for LGBT youth in Singapore.

For more on YOH, visit

http ://y oung-out-here .blogspot.com/

Time: 2012-01-06, 20:00 - 23:00

Venue: Guinness Theatre, The Substation

Address: 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936 +65 6337 7535

TIcketing URL: http://shortcircuitsg.tumblr.com/

Website URL: http ://shortcircuitsg .tumblr.com/

Enquiries: shortcircuitsg@gmail.com

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Sylvia Tan, Fridae, "News around the world 11-Oct-06", 11 October 2006[1].
  • Alex Au, Fridae, "The cinematic road to the future", 16 October 2006[2].
  • PLU's Short Circuit 2006 Yahoo!Groups news list:[3].

Acknowledgements[edit]

This article was compiled by Roy Tan.