Scala’s Post-screening Q&A and Panel
Perspectives Film Festival is proud to invite Ananta Thitanat, the director of Scala; Chew Tee Pao, the lead archivist at the Asian Film Archive; Ben Slater, script editor and writer for features like Camera (2014) and Malam (2020); and Wong Han Min, a philatelist and reputable collector of film memorabilia with extensive knowledge of Singapore’s social history, in a panel discussion on the death of cinema and its spaces. The panel will happen immediately after the screening of Scala, and will run for an hour beginning with a short Q&A session with director Thitanat. The topics covered are an extension of the themes in Scala, and include: cinema as an institution, cinema as a physical and spiritual entity, and cinema in the age of streaming.
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About the film
Amidst the pandemic, Bangkok’s Scala, the last standalone theatre from the glory days of 1960s Thai cinema, closed its doors to the public. Director Ananta Thitanat, who grew up in the nearby Siam cinema house where her father worked, documents this quiet tragedy through the intimate lens of her nostalgic attachment towards the disappearing space. Delving into the stories of the in-house workers who raised her, Thitanat’s debut feature humanises a public space with her personal history and includes a subtle commentary on present-day Thai politics.
Running through the film is a thread of unresolved loss; the collateral emotional damage that results from the physical dissolution of an institution while its memory is still alive—when an unyielding timeline doesn’t align with the natural ebb and flow of memory.
Ananta Thitanat grew up in the Siam cinema where her father worked. The military crackdown on the Red Shirts protests in 2010 inspired her and Abhichon Rattanabhayon to start making their first short documentary together that year. Since then, she has worked with Abhichon as an assistant director and cinematographer. SCALA is her first feature film.
Chew Tee Pao
Chew Tee Pao has been with the Asian Film Archive (AFA) since 2009. As lead Archivist, Tee Pao plans AFA’s preservation strategies and oversees the development of film collections, as well as curating various film programmes to showcase these collections. He also selects and oversees AFA’s film restorations, including works like Mike de Leon’s Batch ’81 (1982) and Dharmasena Pathiraja’s Bambaru Avith (1978), which was selected for Cannes Classics in 2020. His publications on film preservation include an article on NANG magazine and a co-written chapter on “Independent Digital Filmmaking and its Impact on Film Archiving in Singapore” for the book Singapore Cinema: New Perspectives (2017).
Ben Slater’s writings on film have been published internationally and include the book Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (Marshall Cavendish: 2006). He’s a script editor for films and has written the features Camera (2014) and Malam (2020). As a full-time faculty Ben has taught at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for twelve years. He is currently writing a creative non-fiction book called LOST FILMS that investigates the power of cinema through stories of loss.
Wong Han Min
Wong Han Min is a philatelist and collector of ephemera relating to Singapore’s social history. His collection of film-related memorabilia is particularly outstanding, and has been featured in various publications. Wong has given talks and held exhibitions of his collections both locally and overseas, and has collaborated with the Hong Kong Film Archive on the “The Foundation of Run Run Shaw’s Cinema Empire” exhibition in 2014 and “80 Years of Cathay Organisation” exhibition in 2015.
Zachariah Wee – Programming Executive, PFF22