What to watch on your commute

Published on 31 August 2018

The award-winning short film, The Drum, is featured on the curated video platform Viddsee.

By Tan Ying-Yan

If you are looking for respite from all things Crazy Rich Asians, including Henry Golding fan fiction, try another made-in-Asia film, The Drum.

Directed by homegrown film-maker Ler Jiyuan and co-written by Singapore novelist Dave Chua, the short film tells a riveting and tender if somewhat offbeat story about a retiree in his 60s, who is dealing with the onset of a later-life crisis and comes into possession of his ex-tenant’s tabla, a traditional Indian drum.

The work recently took Gold at the inaugural short film awards by Viddsee, a Singapore-based curated video platform started in 2013, and with a billion views since.

The 25 min film was originally commissioned for Silver Arts 2016, a festival organised by the National Arts Council that brings the arts to seniors. It played a handful of times on the big screen in 2016, but Viddsee has given the work a new lease of life, allowing anyone on the go to snack on its rich storytelling for free.

The Drum’s revival on Viddsee, a Netflix of sorts for the Asian short film industry, is perhaps a sign of good things to come.

Video consumers, commuters and film-lovers can now take their pick from a variety of short films, across genres and topics, and watch them at their convenience. One can even create customised video playlists on Viddsee, à la Spotify; as a bonus, the videos play offline too.

For aspiring film-makers and storytellers, platforms such as Viddsee, which support original short films, is also a boon.

Ler, who has mostly worked on TV dramas and telemovies, found the experience of working on The Drum, his first short film in a decade, liberating. He says the relatively lower budget of short films allows makers to take more risks, be experimental, and honest to one’s creative voice.

He says: “I think stories about the elderly in Singapore are particularly important because of our ageing population. The issues they face need to be brought into public consciousness.”

Watch The Drum and other short films here, or from the Viddsee App at www.viddsee.com/mobile.

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