CCA Previews ’18: Raffles Film Society

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By Elizabeth Xu (18A13A), Chairperson

We’ve been telling stories for a long time. From cave paintings to books to folk tales, our history and identity is built upon the stories of other people, and film is arguably the most influential medium of storytelling in the modern age. Combining every art form imaginable, it is a uniquely powerful narrative force and has the unparalleled ability to capture viewers both young and old.

At Raffles Film Society, we let you build your own stories. Every Wednesday, under the bright lights and high ceiling of the Art Studio, we learn to grapple with a different element in the multifaceted process of creating a film. Be it lighting, composition, editing, or scriptwriting, we are presented with a new challenge every week. External instructors such as Mr Liao Jiekai, Mr Tan Bee Thiam and Ms Nicole Midori Woodford – experienced, acclaimed and active in the Singapore film scene – are also routinely invited to help train us in elements of filmmaking such as storyboarding, composition or lighting.

Of course, no work can be created in a vacuum. We will also help to hone your eye for film through constant feedback and analysis of other’s work. Under the advice of our instructors Mr Chia Wei Hou and Ms Joanna Ng, we give feedback on each other’s work, and also watch and analyse films during session time. In addition, we visit film screenings in Singapore at locations like the National Gallery or Filmgarde. In doing so, we become more familiar with the local arts scene, enriching our outlook with a Singaporean perspective that many may not be familiar with.

Filmmaking is a fundamentally collaborative process. No film can ever be created alone, and here you will learn to work creatively with a group of likeminded people. Unlike other visual arts, filmmaking is a more tedious and tiresome process, with many different elements like lighting, sound and camerawork all coming into play at once. The shared experience of running under the blistering sun to get the right shot, or the pain of carrying many kilograms of equipment will inevitably bond the small batch of 15.

J1 Film Members Filming a Graduation Video Interview (2017)

However, this also means that this is not for the fainthearted! Filming spans many long days outside of session time, and even more hours have to be spent in the editing suite afterwards. Nevertheless, finally completing a piece of work creates a unique sense of fulfillment that is incredibly hard to recreate. Often, this filming is optional, and the value that each member gets out of this CCA is determined by how much work they are willing to put in themselves.

Members will get the chance to test their skills in various local and international competitions like the 48 Hour Film Challenge or the National Heritage Film Competition. They may also create films for various organizations or events in school such as the Open House Video or the Y6 Farewell Video.

Film Members Set Up in Preparation for a Shoot

The culmination of all this hard work is the Film Showcase in July, where the thesis films made by the J2s will be screened. On the final day of the showcase, when the stage lights dim, the projector comes on, and the silver screen flickers to life, it is often an emotional experience for all the filmmakers who have stayed many late nights and faced countless early mornings in order to push their works to the best they can be. We might be the only CCA to present our works on an empty stage, but the light that spills from the screen to flood the space in front is often more than enough to fill the theatre with warmth.

J2s on Stage During Question and Answer Segment of Film Showcase 2017

Anyone with a passion for film is welcome to apply! No prior experience is required. Auditions will be held by the ExCo along with our teachers in charge, and hopeful applicants should be prepared to answer a series of questions in an interview. Film has the unique power to bring people together through stories, and we hope that you too will choose to join us.

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