Sidney Chan


Reel serious

Article from the Sun daily by Denissa Goh (posted on 17 March 2016)

IN contrary to The Grim Film’s poignant short films and laugh-outloud videos on YouTube, who would’ve guessed that its director Sidney Chan’s true passion lies in horror?

Like every other curious kid, Chan watched the popular Japanese supernatural film Ju-On (2002) when he was 12, discovering his fascination in fear, and later, his calling in film.

Chan always found ways to allow film to fit into many stages of his life.

Establishing HELP University’s inaugural Psychology FilmSociety proved that studying a completely different degree could not suppress his passion for cinema.

In 2014, Chan’s Delete wasselected for the ‘Three Doorsof Horror’ omnibus, a platform founded by local director James Lee for upcoming filmmakers to showcase their creativity through horror short films.

In the same year, he finished as a runner-up at the Astro Circle Sundance with Fish Lantern.

The 26-year old’s latest achievement includes bringing home the second prize at the 2015 Berjaya Youth Short Film Competition with A Gift of Gab .

Could you elaborate on how horror films reeled you in?

I love Asian horror films. When I first watched Ju-On, I was terrified but at the same time fascinated. I got braver watching it over time, and I began playing horror video games like Fatal Frame, and seeking for more Asian horror stuff. At that time, I felt that local horror films weren’t living up to expectations and it got me thinking, “What if I create something that could challenge foreign horror films, and lift up the name of the Malaysian film industry?”

What has been your proudest moment in film-making?

I was selected as one of the directors for the Three Doors of Horror series, and Delete was screened for one session at MBO Cinemas in Citta Mall. Having my film screened in theatre
was one thing, the other was having film veterans watching it! The entertainment scene is something I have always wanted to venture into, so that was one of my greater achievements. To
be able to make that horror film, be part of that horror series, and contribute to horror cinema.

What keeps you going?

I guess it’s the sense of reward that you get when the actors you cast get to use your film to help themselves in future casting. It’s also rewarding because you did it for the people around you and the friends
who believed in your work – when they watch the film develop and start smiling when it’s near completion, the feeling is priceless!

Film pet peeves?

When people criticise actors such asKristen Stewart, for example, becausethey say she can’t act. I’m very muchagainst that – everyone can act, it depends on how you position them ina film and the characters they play.

Who do you intend to inspire through your films?

Young people, especially YouTubers who aspire to be film-makers, have to understand that the story is more important than the quality of the camera, and that it’s necessary to be confident. There’s a difference
between a YouTuber and a filmmaker, and a lot of film-makers look down on the YouTube scene because they question the former’s professionalism in the field. The tragedy is that film-makers are respectable,
but YouTubers’ works can be marketable too – and I want to bridge that gap. I want to prove that YouTubers can have substance too.


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