Spotlight: Singaporean Filmmaker Don Aravind on 2002

 

Don Aravind started experimenting with the video camera since the age of 14, where he was tasked to shoot school events. He has now worked on more than 25 short films as both screenwriter and director and currently directs for television and online content while still creating independent films. With awards from the Winton Train International Film Competition in Prague and ASEAN International Film Festival, his work ‘Drive’ has just been nominated in the Series Mania Festival in France. One of his contenders will be Nick Hornby’s ‘State of the Union’ which features Rosamund Pike and Chris O’ Dowd.

In collaboration with the Passion Made Possible campaign, Don gives life to the Esplanade through a story of how two individuals come together and grow as people and as musicians within the iconic building.

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1. How did you come up with the creative concept behind 2002?
The brief was to come up with a film that represented a space of significant cultural interest as well as a culture shaper. The creative team had already chosen theatre actress, Siti Khadijah, and the Esplanade as it is one of the most iconic theatre spaces in Singapore. I personally connect with the Esplanade and remember watching it being built during my schooling days. It was officially opened in 2002 which led on to me spending lots of time there. Hence, the title 2002. This film is based on a true story.

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2. The chemistry between the two lead actors was palpable. How did you come to cast them and did you hold a chemistry test?
I’ve worked with the female lead, Malene, before and I knew her strengths. Moreover, she could sing and I needed someone who understood music at the very least. I had a certain image for what the male character would be like and Prakash was a good fit. I auditioned them both and it worked out well. It really helped that they were friends.

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3. Did the characters have backstories, and if so, why were they forced to leave each other?
Yes, they did. The actors did their own homework and came up with their own backstories. They were forced to leave each other as life just happened.

6. How much of a backstory do you usually give characters when creating for a commercial project?
I don’t think I treated 2002 as a commercial project. This was really special, it needed to connect. The backstory was way larger than the film itself.

7. Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
I intend to spend some time writing this year.

8. What encouragement do you have for other storytellers who are passionate about making their work possible?
Anything is possible to create. More than passion, you have to have belief. It can be a real tough journey, but faith for your own craft should help you sail across stormy seas.

Watch ‘2002’ by Don Aravind (Singapore) on Viddsee:

This content is made in partnership with the Passion Made Possible campaign.

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