Spotlight: Singaporean Filmmaker Sabrina Poon on ‘In Generations To Come’

 

Sabrina Poon is a film director and producer, whose short films and mini-documentaries have been screened in film festivals like the Beijing Film Academy Awards. Many of these have also been featured in publications such as The Straits Times. We speak to her about ‘In Generations to Come’, a film she created under the Singapore Tourism Board’s Passion Made Possible campaign. The film features a dance maestro who takes on a new and dedicated apprentice and shows her passion in passing down the beautiful tradition to future generations.

1. How did you come up with the creative concept behind ‘In Generations To Come’?

This is my first time directing a film about dance. With 3 to 4 minutes to tell a story, I decided to weave the dance sequence within the story and across two different timelines. Besides the dance element, it is a short and sweet story of legacy passing to the next generation.

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2. Malini Bhaskar, who plays the apprentice, is notable in the classical Indian dance community and is also Santha Bhaskar’s granddaughter. Was the film created with her in mind or did you chance upon her?

When I first wrote the script, I wanted to focus on the relationship between the dance teacher and her dance student. I’m sure that anyone who picks up dance at a very young age will hold a very close bond with their dance teachers. I asked Santha to recommend one of her students to take on this role, because I wanted to capture a genuine relationship built over many years. Malini came onboard as she picked up dancing at a very tender age with Santha.

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3. Did you know much about classical Indian dance and how has your appreciation deepened after making this film?

I have learnt to appreciate dance after my own stint with ballet and jazz in the past. Working on this film certainly opened my eyes towards the classical Indian dance scene. Before the filming, I watched a dance performance by the Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, ‘Manohra’, and was absolutely impressed by it.

4. What message were you hoping to highlight in your final output?

Arts and culture is a form of legacy, but at the same time, we weave a part of ourselves into it when we pass it on to the next generation and that is beautiful.

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5. To budding filmmakers, what is your advice on shooting a convincing flashback scene?

Be very meticulous in the details and imagine the main differences between the past and present. Every flashback scene is different, so just focus on one message that you are trying to convey in the scene and bring that across.

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6. Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?

I am working on two short films as part of an anthology series. It should be out by March or April 2019 and I am excited to share it with everyone once it’s out.

7. What encouragement do you have for other storytellers who are passionate about making their work possible?

Hustle. I know it’s tough but you can be empowered when you hustle for your passion then it would hardly seem like work. I think our local appetite for new content and fresh perspective has widened and we are now more receptive to short films and stories these days, so if you have a story to share, hustle to get it made.

8. What is the one thing you would tell people not to miss about the arts and culture scene in Singapore?

The arts and culture scene in Singapore is scattered around every corner and sometimes the magic is in finding it yourself. People should come and explore the scene themselves because they’d be surprised to see what they might find.

Watch Sabrina’s short film here!

This post is made in partnership with Singapore – Passion Made Possible.

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