After some last-minute drama, when Iraqi filmmaker Mohanad Hayal was detained overnight by Singapore immigration at Changi Airport (his visa had a spelling error), the first workshop of the 2nd Asia Pacific Screen Lab (APSLab) began at the Temenggong Artists-in-Residence in Singapore last week (Jan 11-16).
As in the previous year, two filmmakers were sponsored by the APSLab to attend a scriptwriting workshop helmed by script doctor Jan Fleischer (who consulted on several films by Stephen Frears and was Head of Screenwriting at the National Film and Television School in the UK). The selected filmmakers were Mohanad Hayal (Iraq) for his script on a day in the life of the Iraq War and Jakeb Anhvu (Vietnam/Australia) for his story on refugees. Their mentors were the veteran directors U-Wei bin Haji Saari (Malaysia) and Bui Thac Chuyen (Vietnam) respectively, who spent afternoons with the young filmmakers in project discussions.
The week-long training ended on Jan 15 with a public screening and discussion of U-Wei's Hanyut (2013). APSLab is a NETPAC initiative to identify new Asian talents with the mentoring by seasoned Asian directors. APSLab co-founders Park Kiyong, Herman Van Eyken and Philip Cheah were also in attendance. Filmmaker Hayal was pleased with the workshop as he felt that U-Wei had given him new possibilities for his opening scene. For filmmaker Anhvu, he looked forward to visiting Bui Thac Chuyen's film school in Hanoi where he hoped to conduct further background research for his script.
Report by Philip Cheah
Addendum: If you are ever detained overnight at Changi Airport, you can look forward to a cup of clear soup. That's what Mohanad Hayal got.