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Boo Junfeng (standing) working on his segment for 7 Letters. The seven directors all found time between their own projects to contribute to the film, according to filmmaker and spokesman Royston Tan.
A film still from Eric Khoo's segment, Cinema, from 7 Letters.

Directors' gift to nation and charities

Jun 26, 2015 5:50 AM

SEVEN of Singapore's best-known directors are putting their collective creative weight behind an ambitious film project.

But they will not take a single cent back even if 7 Letters - helmed by Boo Junfeng, Eric Khoo, K Rajagopal, Jack Neo, Tan Pin Pin, Royston Tan and Kelvin Tong - becomes a big hit.

The film, which comprises seven segments each directed by one filmmaker - is set to hold its grand premiere at the refurbished Capitol Theatre next month.

Proceeds from the gala screenings taking place over three nights from July will go entirely to several charities picked by the directors themselves.

The beneficiaries are the Alzheimer's Disease Association, the Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association, the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, the Pertapis Senior Citizens Fellowship Home, the Singapore Buddhist Lodge Welfare Foundation, the Student Care Service and Transient Workers Count Too.

7 Letters' project leader and spokesman Royston Tan says that the film is meant to be the creative arts community's gift to Singapore - a "thank you" from the directors who feel they would not have achieved as much without the support and encouragement of the people around them.

"We know of many people among us who need our support to overcome their adversities too," he explains.

"They need help and we hope that Singaporeans can be inspired by these dedicated (charity) organisations and join us to extend a helping hand to those in need around us."

The tickets will not be priced; instead, people are encouraged to pay whatever they want.

"No amount is too small if it is from the heart," adds Tan.

There will also be three additional matinee screenings sponsored and organised by several corporations for special groups of senior citizens and underprivileged students. The film's commercial run is still unconfirmed.

Tan adds that the directors all found time between their own projects to contribute to 7 Letters. "I really thought it was going to be impossible to pull it off because we all had our own personal commitments and were making our own movies at the same time," says the 37-year-old, who put post-production works on his own upcoming film 3688 on hold for a month just to finish his part for 7 Letters.

Each 12- to 14-minute segment pays tribute to a different era and decade; with Tan's set in the eighties and entitled Bunga Sayang, after the popular Dick Lee ballad.

Despite the tight schedule everybody had to adhere to, the directors gave their best.

"We've pulled out our aces because this is the first time so many high-profile filmmakers have come together," notes Tan, who adds 7 Letters will not have an overdose of nationalism even though it is fully funded by the Singapore Film Commission.

He adds that the filmmakers asked for free rein from the start and the authorities respected that request.

"We're not trying to sell a history textbook here; this is a tribute to the different eras we all grew up in," explains Tan, who is also the only director on-board who has watched all the segments.

"I think everybody has been a little secretive about their works," he jests. "But that's only because we want to surprise each other later when we all watch the film together."

Ticketing for 7 Letters will begin on July 1, 2015, via the official website, and is open to all Singapore citizens and permanent residents