Wednesday, November 30, 2005

EXIT - Part 3

Director's notes - Part 3
My first draft was really awful as I was approaching the material from a macabre manner. I called upon my friend, Marcos Soriano, who is an accomplished writer in his own right, to write EXIT for me. During our collaboration, he came about an interesting plot which involved the CIA drug operation in Vietnam that was intercepted by the US army. From there, I found the angle that I wanted to approach which is that elusive gray area.

Of course, in the beginning we did not have a definite title for the material. We called it “Crossing The Line” for a certain camera technique that I employed in the film to suggest the shift of focus. EXIT came about because of the EXIT sign that begun the film. It would also be the last image to close the film. I intended it to be the book cover. There were long debates on whether to show the acting out of the crimes from Samantha’s part but that then we would have to show Ben’s crime too. Due to the nature of our limited budget film, I decided to play them through the dialogue spoken rather than showing the criminal acts.
to be continued...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ECHOES gallery

ECHOES - Part 2

Excepts from the script


IN THE BEGINNING... Fast cut of a LONG and NARROW CORRIDOR, deserted and silent ...THERE WAS NO EXISTENCE OF...Fast cut of another similar looking corridor, yet somehow different....TIME...A CREEPY looking SEMI-OPENED HALLWAY, the night wind is whistling.
One of the lights at the corridor flickers. The upwards-staircase remains empty. A faint smoke emits from the astray standing at one corner of the staircase. The leaves from the plants in the pots swaying a little due to the night breeze. We turn a corner into the door to the office.

The office is almost dead quiet.
The only faint sound that can be heard is a slow humming of air conditioning from afar. The paintings from the walls are faces of human starring right back at you, with almost fiery eyes that one can hardly decipher at this time of the day. All lights are out except for one wing at the far end. We pass rows of cubicles at both sides but they all look almost identical under such darkness. As we move closer towards the light, we see JULIA working at her desk.

This is the first Malaysian short film shot on HD format. The entire project was funded by MDC. I sincerely thank them for making it happened for me. I had mixed reviews for the film whenever I screened it, but one thing is for sure, I am glad that I took that journey and that one step forward in my filmmaking career and I am proud of that.

CHOICE - Part 2

Director's notes - Part 2
Firstly, I wanted to have a documentary-like style to it. Since I am approaching it from an outline only, the dialogues between the characters were going to be improvised all the way and the style would compliment the spontaneity. To accomplish that, I decided that the best choice of style was to refer to the “dogma”. I followed a few key points but not all of the ten rules under the “DOGMA 95”and they are hand held, real locations, and existing lights from the locations.

It was essential that the cameras be liberated from the confines of pan and tilt on a tripod. They needed to be able to move freely and follow the conversation. The other source that I referred to unconsciously was John Cassavetes’ approach and recently I read up on him again and his style struck a chord in the realization of CHOICE.

I wanted the cameramen to feel whatever the characters were feeling and project their feelings into handling the cameras and hopefully, conceptually it can transcend whatever emotions across to the audience. It only worked in a few spots. Only one of them understood what I wanted to achieve with that approach. The handheld approach also gives a psychological mirror to all the characters, the instability of their minds about identity and gender.

The jump cut editing style that I employed in CHOICE reflects the dysfunctional of the characters. I refuse the fades and dissolves as not to paint pretty pictures in the subject matters that were brought out.
to be continued...

Monday, November 28, 2005

EXIT - Part 2

Director's note -2
I was experimenting on shifting POVs or creating a gray area between the protagonist and antagonist. Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? Is Sam a bad person? Is Ben the good guy? Is Jeanne, the FBI rookie as innocent as she looks? Those questions form the basis of the narrative structure to EXIT.

Serial killers are fascinating subjects to be explored. Of course, today we are overloaded with films and TV series dealing with serial killings but when I started exploring the idea of making EXIT, fascination of serial killers in films was in the doldrums until “The Silence of the Lambs” was released. During the writing of EXIT, I delved myself into the world of serial killers with research of the subject matter. Terrifying questions start popping in my head during the research. Are we, human beings capable of doing such things to another human being without remorse and motive? Serial killers look like any other ordinary next-door neighbour of ours. Am I prone to be one? Another interesting part of my research is that there are very few female serial killers compared to men. I decided to take the other route as in introducing a female serial killer.
to be continued...

Sunday, November 27, 2005


ECHOES 2004 20 mins
Directed by: Patrick Lim
Screenplay by: Jennifer Liew
Genre: Psychological supernatural drama
Starring: Deanna Yusoff
ECHOES is about memories and their illusions, reflections, its resonance, rupture of time and the question of truth.Julia works late in her office one night and she starts to see things. An encounter with her two colleagues earlier is repeated before her eyes, a mysterious woman who walks pass her without responding to her and a little girl in black dress with black balloons. What is happening to Julia?
to be continued...


The making of CHOICE
CHOICE (April 2003) 20mins, directed by Patrick Lim
Director's note - Part 1
An Introduction
We, Malaysians as a whole are lost. Our national policy of our national language has been ever evolving. Is it Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Baku or Bahasa Melayu? The battle between the Government and the opposition over the true meaning of Islam has caused the government to overcompensate by regressing in its plight. Racial tensions are swept under the carpet by showing a superficial unified lot.English has been given an importance as we head into the globalized arena but are we ready to be part of the larger picture. Malaysia is in fact in a limbo state. So, where does that leave our youth?
The Beginning
That was the anchor to CHOICE but I needed to flesh out other social issues within CHOICE. Originally set to be a trilogy where I start with the middle (being CHOICE), LIFE and DEATH would compliment the social issues that we deal with.The idea of a girl torn between her wild free lifestyle and her upcoming marriage to a Malay man came to mind and I had the premise of a party among three friends as the basis. A party, with the right atmosphere and substance is a ripe place for a lot of things to happen. Immediately, I wrote an outline of CHOICE down and that was in early March 2003.For CHOICE to work, I needed to get actors who have been friends for sometime. There are many times in our own lives when reality becomes difficult to be differentiated from illusion, which is why the emotional content in CHOICE had to be truthful to its source.
to be continued...


EXIT, 1992
Directed by Patrick Lim
Director's notes - Part 1
EXIT is a short film about exploring that elusive gray area between what is right and what is wrong. My intention was to bring forth an idea that I have that is based on my observation of everyday life where a lot of the time, the line between right and wrong or what is truth or not, is blurred through a lot of other impending values and perspectives. Truth lies in the perspective of a person. Collective truth can be achieved only with a certain intervention (e.g. media). Truth to me is as elusive as the line between right and wrong.
To be continued...