SINGAPORE: An Eric Khoo-directed film, originally slated for release under crowdsourced film-making contest Project Lapis Sagu, will not be included in the anthology due to concerns raised in focus group discussions, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) announced on Friday (Mar 31).
The film, which was done musical theatre-style, had depicted foreigners as zombies around a human, Singaporean protagonist. It was developed from an idea submitted by a laboratory executive Tan Zi Hui.
“MCI recognises that Eric and Zi Hui wanted to convey positive messages about overcoming prejudices against foreigners through mutual understanding and acceptance. Their film was done in a creative and light-hearted manner. However, focus group participants who viewed the film raised concerns that it might cause offence unintentionally if some of the scenes were interpreted out of context,” the ministry said.
It added that the decision to exclude the film was made in consultation with Khoo and Ms Tan.
Khoo had said that in tackling issues of social integration and prejudice against foreigners, he wanted to express that “fear of the other” could be overcome, “not in a preachy heavy-handed way but in a light-hearted, entertaining fashion”.
“Considering the contemporary wide appeal of zombies (e.g. Train to Busan) and musicals (e.g La La Land), I felt that audiences would be open to the sonic and visual entertainment, while being exposed to the underlying message of social integration embedded within the short film,” he said.
Ms Tan said it is a “pity” that the film would not be included in the anthology, but acknowledged that the film could be “misinterpreted in a drastically different way”.“I think this is enough reason to not release the film, as it may be used as a vehicle by viewers with ill intentions to propagate a divide between locals and foreigners in Singapore,” she added.
The anthology of films will be released on Apr 4.