Spotlight: Singaporean Filmmaker Tariq Mansor On Walls

 

Tariq Mansor has been impressing audiences since his student days, clinching cINE65’s Best Student Film for his work ‘Going Away’. He graduated with a Diploma in Moving Images from Temasek School of Design and continues his work as a writer and director for commercials, branded content and short films. With clients like Ogilvy, Blk J, and Blacklabs, Tariq has also produced content for brands such as Prudential, UOB and Unilever, amongst many others.
As one of the filmmakers selected to collaborate under the Passion Made Possible campaign, we speak to him to get the scoop on what happened behind the scenes for his short film ‘Walls’. It’s a story of an average working professional who finds his passion for art reignited after he noticed some inspiring graffiti art whilst on his way to work. He also speaks about how it was like working with Zul Othman, a prominent Singaporean street artist.

1. How did you come up with the creative concept behind Walls?

I was looking for a story that was inspiring in its own quiet and subtle way. Street art is often viewed as a form of vandalism and when we think of graffiti, it’s always the idea of misfits trying to destroy public property. I thought it’d be interesting to explore the complete opposite of that destruction, in the form of a structured and well-established enterprise.

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2. What was the process and research behind coming up with Zul’s street art that became the centrepiece of the film?

I spoke to Zul about the story and the whole idea of how he (in my story), draws inspiration from objects, textures, colours and shapes from all around Kampong Glam. Zul then shared with me a recent project he did that had a similar idea – where people would tag him in an Instagram post and he would have to, somehow, incorporate whatever was in the photo into his art piece. This led to our idea of coming up with a piece of art that was a tribute of love for the Kampong Glam area, by using elements, cultures and people that help shape Kampong Glam.

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3. Could you share with us how you managed to capture the vibrant colours of the end frame while shooting at night?

As an art form, street art is colourful, vibrant and oh-so-edgy. We thought we could complement that with lights that we used for that scene. We threw in strips of coloured lights to augment the lights around the alley.

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4. Let’s talk about the main character in Walls, how did you come to develop his character? Does he have a backstory?

The main character is the hardworking professional we are very familiar with in Singapore. He was probably pressured into getting good grades in school, getting into a reputable local university and eventually landing a stable job with a sustainable income.

There is nothing wrong with that. But in pursuit of such goals, some tend to neglect their passion. In this case, it’s suggested that our main character is artistic as he is seen sketching and doodling on the napkin. Essentially this story is about this character reconnecting with his passion as well as his inner artistic self.

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5. Did you know much about the street art scene in Singapore prior to ‘Walls’? Has your understanding and appreciation for its role deepened after making this film?

I’ve always enjoyed looking at street art whenever I come across it. and I’ve even tried my hand at graffiti in my schooling days. However, it was only after researching for this project and learning about street art from Zul did I observe it differently.

Street art needs to be on the street so that in a way, it belongs to the people. You have to take a closer look at graffiti – it’s more than just fancy graphics and edgy characters. There’s always something more, an underlying message that touches on social or political issues. It could be a statement, or it could question the society we live in. As much as it is art, it could also be the voice of people.

6. Do you have a favourite piece of street art or a neighbourhood to recommend others to check out?

Yes. Take a walk along 222 Queen Street and there you’ll find the entire side of a building filled with graffiti. It also happens to be one of the locations the main character walks past on his way to work.

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

One of my upcoming projects includes a sci-fi short film about a girl in a fantasy-gaming world. I think that’s going to be quite fun!

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

I think it’s important to find the right collaborators. Like-minded and talented people that share the same passion are essential in making great work possible.

Watch Tariq’s short film here!

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

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