Let us introduce you to the Singaporean director Tan Wei Keong, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.
Born in Singapore in 1984, he studied animation at the island city-state’s Nanyang Technological University. In his films he animates fantasy worlds in which he explores his gay identity through personal storytelling. He also works as a media artist and was artist-in-residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and co-artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, both in California, USA.
A forest, a man, a suitcase. To walk, to hatch, to transform oneself. A discovery, discovering oneself? By combining various cinematic techniques, animation artist Tan Wei Keong creates a universe with a minimum of gestures in order to describe the complexity of a search. The repetition of gestures holds a magic of its own, and the exploration of space and ego is surprisingly reflected in the sound track and in the nakedness of the man. Freedom lies in the gaze itself.
What is your ambition in the film?
To match the equal amounts of hope and despair. The search for the idea of home and belonging is a cyclical struggle, and I want to tell this story that weaves in between fiction and personal history, and form a conversation with which people could empathise.
What do you like about the short form?
That there are no checklist that must be fulfilled – it is free-form and can give sound to a voice that might otherwise be inaudible.
What are your future plans?
I am researching for an early draft of a story that has been swimming in my mind for the longest time. In addition to films, I am continuing to develop and expand an ongoing new media art project called Foundin, a public art installation relying on human interactions.
24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.
Still wanna know more? There’s a Q&A with Tan Wei Keong on The New Current, too.