Dated: 7 February 2007

Talented Singapore director’s next film to be a musical set against the colourful and culturally unique backdrop of Chinese 7th month ‘getai’

Zhao Wei Films, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures, Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), Scorpio East Pictures and Infinite Frameworks (IFW) are proud to announce that they will be collaborating to produce talented Singapore director, Royston Tan’s next feature film, 881.

881 tells the story of The Papaya Sisters, played by Mindee Ong (Moulmein High, Birthday) and Yeo Yann Yann (Singapore Dreaming), two childhood friends who grew up mesmerised by the glitter and glamour of ‘getai’ (song stage). The musical will feature glitzy costumes and lavish choreography, with the actors breaking out often into songs to express their emotions. All the numbers in the film are from the treasure trove of the late Chen Jin Lang, a Singapore ‘getai’ songwriting legend who passed away in August 2006. MediaCorp artiste Qi Yu Wu (The Peak) and ‘getai’ veteran Liu Ling Ling will also star in the film.

The director, Mr Royston Tan, comments “881 is my third film and as a director, I have always wanted to surprise people with different ways of storytelling. 881 will be Singapore’s first musical film and I hope to bring out the beauty of Hokkien songs and ‘getai’ through this brand new interpretation. The film will infuse ‘getai’ elements with modern cutting edge editing style, and let audiences see ‘getai’ in a different light”.

The five partners will co-invest in the film, budgeted at around S$1 million, with Eric Khoo’s Zhao Wei Films and MediaCorp Raintree Pictures serving as producers. Infinite Frameworks will provide post-production support, including visual effects and design. To be shot on High Definition (HD), the film will be in Mandarin and Hokkien. Production is expected to commence in early March and will be co-distributed by Scorpio East Pictures and Golden Village Pictures in Singapore in the 3rd quarter of 2007 when completed.

Mr Eric Khoo, Director of Zhao Wei Films, comments “I have been a great admirer of Royston’s short musical films and it brings me much joy that he is finally making a full length song and dance number, 881!”.

“MediaCorp Raintree Pictures has been working with local directors long before we started on our collaborations with regional filmmakers. We have worked with Eric, Jack, and Kelvin among others. Recently we have also started to work with first time directors for regional co-productions. I have always wanted to work with Royston. With this project, we are not only working with Royston for the first time;it is also our first venture into a musical. Besides this genre which is challenging in every aspect of filmmaking, the subject matter is very close to my heart. I hope we can add value to bringing Royston and his movie to a wider audience both within Singapore and to the key global markets. It is also a pleasure to work with Eric Khoo and his team again and we are very happy to have the support of MDA, Scorpio East and Infinite Frameworks” says Mr Daniel Yun, Managing Director of MediaCorp Raintree Pictures.

Mr Man Shu Sum, Director of Broadcast and Film Development, MDA, comments “Our collaboration with Zhao Wei Films, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures, Scorpio East Pictures and Infinite Frameworks on this significant project is an important step for our local film industry. We are proud to support this film not only because of its unique storyline, but because it celebrates Singapore’s identity and promotes local talent. We are delighted to be a part of Singapore’s first musical feature film and we believe its story has a wide appeal with potential to garner attention from local and international audiences”.

“Scorpio East Pictures is proud to invest – not just in Royston Tan, Singapore’s own critically-acclaimed, young and very talented director – but also in Singapore’s local film production scene. 881 brings together the best and most experienced from the industry, including award-winning veteran Eric Khoo (Zhao Wei Films) and pioneering movie-maker, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures. With them, as well as Infinite Frameworks and MDA behind this project, Scorpio East Pictures have full confidence that 881 is going to be yet another winner” says Mr John Ho, Chief Executive Officer of Scorpio East Pictures.

Mr Freddie Yeo, General Manager of IFW, comments “Infinite Frameworks (IFW) is proud to once again have the opportunity to collaborate with Zhao Wei Films, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures, the MDA, and new partner Scorpio East Pictures for the production of Royston Tan’s 881. Shooting on HD format will allow IFW greater flexibility to produce stunning visuals that is synonymous with the glitter and glamour of a ‘getai’ and we look forward to crafting a visual treat for the audience”.

For more information, please contact the following:
Ms Ang Hwee Sim
Snr Manager, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures
DID: +65 6350 3211
Mobile: +65 9732 7905
Fax: +65 6251 1916

Mr Gary Goh
Producer, Zhao Wei Films
Tel: +65 6735 7053
Mobile: +65 9855 6073
Fax: +65 6735 1181

Ms Nicole Batchelor
Asst Manager, Communications
Media Development Authority
DID: +65 6837 9957


About Zhao Wei Films

Zhao Wei Films, helmed by Eric Khoo and James Toh, is committed to the nurturing of local talent. Its maiden film, Mee Pok Man (Venice Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, both in 1995) provided a jolt to the local scene in 1995 when it paved the way for the resurgence of film making in Singapore. Its second film 12 Storeys, was the first Singapore film to be invited to the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. In 1998, it also produced the ground breaking TV series, Drive, which was shot on film and showcased budding young directing talent with a different director for each episode. Zhao Wei Films’ recent feature film productions include 15 (selected for Venice Film Festival in 2003 and Sundance Film Festival in 2004), Be With Me (Opening Film of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2005) and 4:30 (selected for Berlin International Film Festival in 2006). Today, Zhao Wei is active in producing motion pictures, television commercials and other media content.

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About MediaCorp Raintree Pictures
The pioneer in Singapore movie industry, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures was set up in August 1998. Working with local and regional talents, it has produced over 20 movies of diverse genres, including the award-winning I Not Stupid, The Eye, Infernal Affairs II, Turn Left Turn Right, Homerun (which won the first Golden Horse Award for Singapore) and The Best Bet. Its latest productions include the internationally acclaimed horror film The Maid, I Not Stupid Too, One Last Dance (which competed in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival). MediaCorp Raintree Pictures is focused on producing an international hit that will break into key markets all around the world.

MediaCorp Raintree Pictures is part of MediaCorp. As the largest broadcaster in Singapore and one of the region’s most renowned broadcasters, MediaCorp offers a complete range of media businesses: TV, Radio, Entertainment Productions, Movie Productions, Newspapers, Magazines, Electronic Media and other broadcasting services. MediaCorp’s vision is to become one of Asia’s top media companies by delivering valued content to the world.

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About Media Development Authority of Singapore
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003 to champion Media 21, a blueprint to transform Singapore into a global media city. Media 21 seeks to create a vibrant media environment by establishing Singapore as a media exchange, exporting Made-by-Singapore content, internationalising local media companies, nurturing local media talent and developing digital media.

About Scorpio East Pictures
Scorpio East Pictures - A subsidiary of Scorpio East Holdings Ltd, was incorporated in year 2004 for content-production (co-investment in film productions), acquisition and distribution of films for video and theatrical releases. Our first collaboration, with MediaCorp Raintree Pictures for the film – I Not Stupid Too – saw huge success as the 2nd film in history to gross more than $4million in Singapore box office alone. Indeed, we are very honoured and proud to have been part of this project. We believe that our next collaboration with MediaCorp Raintree Pictures on the movie, 881 along with Eric Khoo, will also see resounding success.

Building on our network of strong relationship with our partners, suppliers and customers, Scorpio East Pictures strives to entertain the world of film viewers by bringing in more exciting films from around the world.

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About Infinite Frameworks
Infinite Frameworks (IFW) is an award winning post-production and animation facility based in Singapore specialising in editing, visual effects, animation and design for TV commercials feature films, documentaries, broadcast design and long form 3D animation. A full-fledge HD facility, its in-house talent pool have been involved in crafting numerous award winning projects such as Eric Khoo’s Be With Me, Kelvin Tong’s Love Story and Saga Picture’s epic documentary Ghost Fleet – Zheng He. IFW has also been recognised for its craft in advertising awards such as D&AD, New York Festivals and Cannes. It is currently in production for MDA and Mediacorp Raintree Pictures’ Sing to the Dawn, a 3D animated feature film slated for release in 3rd quarter 2008.

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The Seventh Month. The only month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar when the Gates of Hades are thrown open, and ghosts, spirits and all departed souls make their annual pilgrimage back into the land of the living.

In the seventh month, Chinese folks in places like Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong burn incense and joss sticks, conduct prayers and make offerings to the returning dead. In Singapore, however, they take the business of placating and entertaining the spirits one step further. They have "getai" (song stage), makeshift concerts which pop up all over the island.

Each year, more than 500 of these concerts take place during the Hungry Ghosts Month. Entertainers lined up include comedians, magicians, opera performers and singers with garish costumes and even more elaborate dance choreography.

Royston Tan's new movie 881 unfolds against this unique cultural backdrop in Singapore. It is the story of Mindee and Yann Yann, two childhood friends who grew up mesmerised by the glitter and glamour of getai. They are The Papaya Sisters, two of the showiest performers on the circuit because the "song stage" with all its pomp and pageantry is a respite from the emptiness and dreariness of their own lives.

881 will mark yet another breakthrough for Royston, whose first feature film 15 is a visceral and gritty look at teenage delinquents. His second film 4.30 - about a latchkey kid and his Korean tenant - surprised audiences with its pared down, meditative and almost lyrical story-telling.

This new film is a musical, with glitzy costumes and lavish choreography. The actors often break into song to express their emotions. All the numbers in the movie are from the treasure trove of the late Chen Jin Lang, a Singapore getai songwriting legend who died in August 2006. A cross between Dancer In the Dark and Moulin Rouge, 881 will also feature documentary-style (ie "live") footage which captures the fever and excitement of actual getai performances.

The 30-year-old Tan has been heralded as Singapore’s most promising young filmmaker and the latest cult icon for Singapore. He has collected over 43 international and local film awards for his work to date. In 2001, he won the 6th MVA ASEAN Director of the year, Silver Award. In 2002, the Singapore National Arts Council named him Young Artist of the Year. In 2003, Netpac Jury recognized Royston Tan as one of Asia’s most promising talents.

Tan’s first full-length feature film 15 adapted from his award winning short of the same name won the Netpac Fipresci World critic award at the 16th Singapore international film festival, it broke the festival’s record as the fastest selling local film in the history of the festival. 15 was also the first ever Singaporean Film to be selected in the Venice Critics’ Week competing in the Lions of the Future Award. In 2004, 15 was also the winner of Special Jury Award for Deauville Asian Film Festival as well as Best Director Award in Buenos Aires.

In 2004, Royston Tan was named as one of the “Top 20 Asian Heroes” by Time Magazine for being bold, brave and remarkable in his field. Tan’s willingness to push the creative envelope has made him a hero to the city’s independent artists. A filmmaker with a huge cult following around the world, his retrospective show 0104, a showcase featuring all his award winning short films over the last 10 years have traveled to ICA London, Chicago, Japan and Singapore with overwhelming response. In 2006, Royston Tan’s second feature film 4:30 became the first Singapore film to be funded and co-produced by NHK Japan. The film held its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. 4:30 then went on to bag wards such as the NETPAC Award at the 26th Hawaii International Film Festival, Grand Prix Award for Best Film at the International Film Festival Bratislava and the Best Film Award at the Rome Asian Film Festival.


mobj.997.mindee.jpg MINDEE ONG ( 王 欣 )
This talented singer/host/actress first boomed onto the Singapore entertainment industry at just 17 years old in 1996, when she placed as the youngest finalist in a Talent Search Singing Contest. She has performed on a number of popular television shows and lent her voice for the Tsunami fundraising compilation album HOPE, earlier this year. Mindee has also hosted several mandarin variety programs such as Travel Hunt and Comedy Night soon after.

Mindee ventured into acting and landed a lead role for a popular local Mandarin TV sitcom, Jian Jian Da Jia Le, as well as the popular teenage drama, Moulmein High. Other acting credits include the local tele-movie Coming Home, as well as First Touch. Earlier this year, she made her mark in the lead roles for the short films, Birthday (Winner of Best Short Film at the 2005 Bangkok Film Festival) and Buy Me Love (Winner of MDA Film Fiesta – Professional category). She was also seen on stage, Mandarin musical, Lao Jiu and Stranger At Home earlier this year. Mindee is managed by Fly Entertainment.

mobj.998.yann.jpg YEO YANN YANN ( 杨 燕 燕 )
Born in Malaysia, Yann Yann has been acting in Singapore since the late 90s. Graduate of the Theatre Training and Research Programme, she played the much coveted role of Edward in Michael Chiang’s Private Parts to rave reviews at the Esplanade Theatre. Best known for her strong acting, she was also in a string of other productions by The Theatre Practice, including Women, Lim Tzey Chien, Tartuffe, Tiger Tall, Tempest and Red Hawk. She has also worked with Toy Factory Ensemble on Thunderstorm and Comedy of Mistakes, and The Finger Players’ Big Bully and Dragon Dance. Other theatre credits include The Necessary Stage’s co production with Malaysia, Separation Forty in September, as well as Boxing Day. She was last seen in Theatreworks’ A Beautiful Companion as well as Dramabox’s Stranger At Home. She was also involved in the English musical, The Admiral’s Odyssesy for Action Theatre last year.

Yann Yann has also appeared in a variety of Mandarin television sitcoms and dramas in Singapore like Buo Yin Ren &Feng Niao. Effectively bilingual, Yann Yann is also the resident host for Brand Power, a commercial interstitials series on television.

In addition, she has also completed two independent films, Singapore Dreaming starring opposite Lim Yu Beng and The GhostBoys by Cinepede Productions. Yann Yann is represented by Fly Entertainment.

mobj.999.qiyuwu.jpg QI YU WU ( 戚 玉 武 )
Qi Yu Wu hails from Guangzhou and was the champion as well as Mr Personality in the China Round of Asian Star Search in 1999, Singapore’s regional talent search contest. Prior signing to MediaCorp Studios, he was a model and had played the lead role in a Guangzhou TV serial. Despite his youth, he is on the fast track to success and has already gathered a large fan base, having been voted one of Singapore’s 10 Most Popular Male Artistes in the country’s 2004, 2005 and 2006 Star Awards. Most recently, he was also included in the Asian Stars of Tomorrow feature of Screen International (October 6, 2006). His made his acting debut in the TV series Master Swordsman Lu Xiao Feng which was followed by Dare to Strike, a blockbuster co-production in which he co-starred with several of Hong Kong’s veteran actors. Lead roles in several other TV series include Brotherhood, Beautiful Illusions and The Peak. He also has a starring role in the feature film, The Leap Years, scheduled to be released in the first half of 2007. Touted as one of the most popular ge tai emcees in Singapore, Liu has worked with many ge tai veterans in the likes of Lin Li, Chee Chiong Fang, Lin Ru Ping and the late Chen Jin Lang. On television, she has collaborated with popular TV comedians like Jack Neo, Ah Nan and Selena Tan. Bestowed with the title “Queen of Comedy”, Liu is a familiar face amongst her avid ge tai fans, her role in the film will definitely strike a cord in the fans. ​

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023