Director Ken Kwek pleased with success of Sex.Violence.FamilyValues ‘experiment’

Rahimah Rashith

It was never meant to get a full theatrical release but the breakout success of short film "Sex.Violence.FamilyValues" has convinced director Ken Kwek “there is a market for this kind of movie”.

The made-in-Singapore anthology of 3 short stories, despite running at only 47 minutes, has already chalked up a healthy S$10,000 on its opening weekend.

Previously banned, the local film sparked debate when the Media Development Authority (MDA) revoked the licence of the film less than a week before its original release last year. Now it will now get an extended run at Cathay for one additional week following sturdy box-office sales.

“The fact that the number of audiences has made Cathay expand screenings is obviously nice to me as a filmmaker,” Kwek told Yahoo! Singapore over the phone.

“But the film being 3 short stories coming in under an hour, it’s a weird thing, an unusual product,” the 33-year-old added.

Because of its length and format, Ken said “the idea was to always release it at foreign film festivals or maybe screen it at some private events.”

In the original segment of its three short films, ‘Porn Masala’ a scene pans out where a Chinese director played by Adrian Pang lets loose racial jibes at an Indian actor played by Vadi PVSS.

It was one of the scenes which prompted the MDA review but now five months later, the film which also stars Osman Sulaiman and former Singapore Idol star Sylvia Ratonel has gotten a new breath of life despite edits to its dialogue and a stricter classification.

Mature Singapore audience

Kwek also said he’s not surprised that movie-goers are mature enough to accept his film, which he said lampoons certain stereotypes and mocks cultural ignorance.

“I’m not surprised. I never felt that people were going to find it offensive,” he said. “I personally never had any doubts that Singapore audiences are mature enough for satire. It’s just a question of how entertaining they find this particular brand of satire.”

While he admitted the MDA review may have prompted curious viewers to watch the movie to find out what the fuss was all about, Kwen said the film deserves to be enjoyed on its own merit.

"I hope viewers can judge the film on its own merits as a narrative, and not merely as a yardstick for censorship."

“Interest in something versus actually watching the movie and then making your mind about it is different,” he says. “Clearly it has not stopped people from seeing it.”

Clearly though, Kwek is not sitting on his laurels and the young director has already embarked on his next project, a movie about drugs called “Trafficker” which will be directed by British cinematographer Larry Smith.

“Sex.Violence.FamilyValues” is available exclusively at Cineleisure Orchard. Watch the trailer below.

BANNED in 2012. BACK in 2013. Sex.Violence.FamilyValues - theatrical trailer

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