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Connecting emotion with narrative movement: `Room of 12878` director Sut ieng Lei | Q&A


BEST STUDENT FILM & BEST SCORE WINNER, August 2022
BEST STUDENT FILM & BEST SCORE WINNER, August 2022

Room of 12878

Directed by Sut ieng Lei


Overview:


In Buddhist education, people believe their souls will remain in a time loop if they commit suicide until they are meant to die. In this Film, I explored the idea of repetition and gestural movement. And try to make the connection between emotion and narrative movement.





 

Q&A with Sut ieng Lei


Sut ieng Lei, Director of Room of 12878
Sut ieng Lei, Director of Room of 12878

Q1: Tell us a little about Room of 12878, Winner of Best Student Film and Best Score in the festival.


In my film, I explored the idea of repetition and gestural movements. I aimed to make the connection between emotion and narrative movements.


Q2: Where did the idea for this film come from?


Buddhist education inspired me to make a film about a time loop. In Buddhist education, people believe their souls will remain in a time loop if they commit suicide before the time they are meant to die.


Q3: What were some key challenges when making this film? How did you overcome them?

I think the challenge is to focus on the narrative movement and explore my thoughts without many dialogues.


Q4: Tell us a funny anecdote or a memorable moment from making this film.


I have created a dance step with a tripod pulley while we were having a hard time staying up at three in the morning, trying to finish some shoots.



Q5: How did you get into the film industry?


I have always been interested in dance choreography while I was training for my dance performance degree at the University of Chichester in the UK. During the pandemic, I noticed the possibility that dance film could allow me to share my work with everyone worldwide. Then I chose to do a Master’s of Screendance at London Contemporary Dance School. I made my Screendance work, Room of 12878, in one of my units during my postgraduate course.


Q6: What films or filmmakers have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?


I was inspired by the choreographer, Lloyd Newson, who formed DV8 Physical Theatre. Their work challenges the limitations of dance by using the element of dance/movements, theatre, text, and films. I have always been interested in pedestrian movement that emulates everyday gestures and actions. I aim to use the body to tell a story/explore my thoughts through a film work.


Q7: Do you have a favorite film project that you have done? Why?


My favourite film will be Room of 12878 because in that I have broken out of my habit of using dancers in my film. Instead, I found a drama-based performer to explore the narrative movement, which helped to tell the story of my film. And at the same time, the use of dialogue allows the audience to understand the film not just with the body of the performer but also with the texts.


Q8: What advice would you share with a new filmmaker about filmmaking or the industry?


I think it’s just to explore what is in your brain. Just do it and enjoy the process of making a film.


Q9: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?


In my next project, I would like to challenge myself to take risks to explore the ideas of using dark humour.


Q10: Where can people find out more about your work?


I constantly update my work (not only films but also photograph and dance choreography work) on my Instagram account, @ashleyxaina.




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