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A ‘Writing Exercise’ that Became Singapore’s First Hollywood Horror Film!

By Flora  /  12 May 2016 (Thursday)
Source: Golden Village Pictures

After a 5-year hiatus, Singapore’s favourite local horror film director Kelvin Tong is back with his latest horror flick, ‘The Faith of Anna Waters’. The movie is co-produced by a Los Angeles-based label Highland Film Group, making it Singapore’s first Hollywood horror film!

“It’s a very small, modest film,” said Tong, whose past film credits include ‘The Maid’, ‘Rule #1’, and ‘It’s A Great Great World’. 

“I wrote the first draft of The Faith Of Anna Waters’ in Hong Kong and it was meant as a writing exercise. I told myself that I am just going to write something that I feel like writing, and I ended writing an exorcism film. When I showed it to a producer friend of mine who in turn showed it to a couple of studios; he came back and told me we had some interest back… and so we started working with the Americans.”

The Faith Of Anna Waters tells the story of a journalist Jamie Waters, who travels from Chicago to Singapore to investigate the mysterious suicide of her older sister Anna, with the help her ex-brother-in-law Sam. The movie stars Mad Men's Elizabeth Rice, established actor Matthew Settle, Singaporean actors Adrian Pang, Jaymee Ong and Pamelyn Chee.

Source: Golden Village Pictures

Having made box-office success with his past horror movies, Tong decided to take a risk with The Faith Of Anna Waters, tackling a different sub-genre: exorcism.

“I just really wanted to film another horror flick. For ‘The Maid’ and ‘Rule #1’, we’ve touched on supernatural subjects. The idea behind those films are about karma and retribution. When we talk about demonic possession, we’re looking at it differently. The demon can choose anybody, and it can be a good person too. So when I shot it, I wanted to be very careful and be sensitive to the topic because there are bits of it that is based on past exorcism cases.”

With a Hollywood company financing the film, Tong revealed he had written ‘many, many drafts’ to balance the pacing and scene logic of the movie as ‘it’s very different from Asian films’.

“‘Do I have to make it for a Western audience?’ Not really, but I did not make it for a Singaporean audience,” he shared, adding: “I actually think that audiences around the world, even those outside of America have become an American audience. It is the power of American culture and the American cinema that started from the 60s onwards. 

The American culture is so strong that we also understand a lot of it, that we can watch (American films) and understand, whereas the Singapore’s culture is not that strong yet… those idiosyncratic bits are out, that’s all,” the 44-year-old director explained. 

The Faith of Anna Waters opens InCinemas today!
(View showtimes here!)

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