How did Red Dot Cinema come about? by Tong, Founder
The story begins in Japan
I was living in Kyoto from 2009 to 2014 for 5 years, as a foreigner in a monoculture
society of Japan. However, growing up in Singapore which is a multicultural and
international city state, I thought I could bring such experiences to my friends in
Japan. Hence, I organised many multi-cultural meet-up events for my foreign and
Japanese friends, as a way for me to introduce in different cultures to them. One
of the major events were screening events of short films from different countries
around the world. I organised about 12 screening events per year in Kyoto, Osaka,
and Kobe, with audience from 30 people to over 100 people, in interesting places
such as mini-theatre, 100 year-old Japanese house, coworking spaces, and fashion boutiques.
The Beauty of short films
Short films are from 5 to 30min, usually made with very tight budget, hence a lot of creativity and "thinking out of the box" are needed to tell an interesting, engaging story from such limited time, money and resources. Compare to the usual commercial films, short films are able to better tell the stories of the people, the culture, social issues, and the messages the filmmakers wish to tell.
Lack of Asian short films
The screening events become very popular, with many good comments from the audience, such as "able to watch films they normally won't have a chance to see", "interesting films from different perspectives", innovative and creative", "able to understand other countries better", etc. However, slowly I began to realised that there is a lack of Asian short films from the selections I had. Most of the short films are from Europe and USA. Hence, as an Asian, I thought I should discover more interesting Asian short films to share with the rest. So, after returning to Singapore, I started Red Dot Cinema with my partner, Yun, focusing on putting Asian short films to be screened around the world.
What is Asia?
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent with 30% of the Earth's land area, and the home to the world's first modern civilisations. Asia is diverse, mysterious and fast changing, as the economy, and political landscapes continues to develop in recent decades. Although I grew up in Singapore where there are many races such as Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian, and many people from other Asian countries, who arrived in Singapore for work, and making it their new home, I have little idea about other parts of the continent, and cannot help but wonder "What is Asia?".
Therefore, I hope through Asian short films, we, and other people from around the world will discover Asia for themselves and have a truly Asian experience from our screening events we put up around the world.
How is Red Dot Cinema different from other film festivals?
Most film festivals have the films screened only in a fixed period at one location. Instead, we want to extend the lifespan of the short films by holding screenings across different countries, anytime, anywhere, by anyone, for everyone.
Instead of just coming for the films, we always have post-screening discussion with the audience, receive their comments and questions about the films and pass them back to the filmmakers. In this way, filmmakers will be able to know how their works are being perceived by audience from around the world.
Instead of the usual movie theatre, we encourage the use of creative spaces as the screening venue, such as cafes, bars, boutiques, museums, rooftops, outdoor, etc
How is Red Dot Cinema different from online streaming?
Red Dot Cinema is more than screening films, it is an event where people gather, meet and greet, and most of all enjoy some interesting films together from beginning to end.
Red Dot Cinema allow the audience to experience the films in full, listening to the stories of the filmmakers, and not to skip to the next one even if the first few seconds seemed uninteresting.
Red Dot Cinema is an event where organisers are feel to include other contents such as art exhibition, performance, food & drinks, music, games and discussion.
The Red Dot Cinema Story
About Yun, Curator
Yun, a Shanghainese, spent 4 years studying in Japan’s J.F Oberlin University, and
graduated with double degrees in Cultural Anthropology, and International Cooperation.
Upon graduation, she relocates to Singapore to join one of the biggest Japanese
F&B companies in Japan.
In 2015, together with Tong, she started working on a film project, Red Dot Cinema during her free time. She has a taste for short films and becomes the curator of the project by selecting interesting Asian short films into the programs. Very often, the programs are curated after going through hundreds of short films by herself.
With her father working in the film industry in Shanghai, Yun was exposed to films from Hong Kong, and Hollywood from a very young age. At the age of 10, she became a child film journalist who were invited to film festivals, and award ceremonies, press conferences to take photographs, and post questions to the movie stars, such as Andy Lau, Arnold Schwarzennegger, Tony Leung, Zhao Wei, and more.