Away and Apart

A Short Film and E-mail Interview

Our first featured short film at Unseen, Away and Apart by Colin Huang explores in gentle tones and touches the familiarity of homesickness shared by Singaporean youths who travel and live abroad for their studies. In the accompanying e-mail interview, Colin shares how literature and the literary remain early and present influences in his work as a practicing and aspiring filmmaker. Away and Apart was submitted as an entry for ciNE65 IV.

UNSEEN
In your opinion, is the short film a form of poetry? Can it, or should it, by extension, be considered literature?

COLIN
Yes it is. I would call it a poetic film. It draws parallels and in some ways uses rhythm and rhymes in the form of editing and the juxtaposition of images. Whether it is a form of literature though, I don’t think so. They might draw inspiration from each other but they are inherently different art forms. Perhaps a script can be considered literature, but I feel that the final film is more than that.

UNSEEN
Why do you choose the visual form as your primary medium to tell a story, as compared to just text?


COLIN
I feel that text uses the power of words to draw an image in the reader’s mind. Authors, poets and even playwrights or screenwriters, they aim to evoke imagination in their readers minds. But I love the power of creating the world for my viewers. To allow them instead to imagine the ramifications of the world I created. In short, I prefer to directly show them what I want them to see and allow them to straightaway ponder about what I’m trying to tell them.

UNSEEN
What were you trying to avoid doing / trying to highlight differently from other films/writings/presentations of homesickness in ‘Away and Apart’?

COLIN
I don’t think I actively avoided anything in particular. The film was made simply to convey how much we missed everything that is what made home home for us. We wanted to make something together while being separated by such a large distance. In a way, the film was made perhaps to make us feel more connected to each other.

UNSEEN
How would you describe your current relationship with literature in general?

COLIN
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book, but I’ve been going back to poems and prose.

UNSEEN
How did/does literature / literary studies influence you in your filmmaking work?

COLIN
Literature was one of the biggest influencers to me in my filmmaking work, more so perhaps than film itself. I grew up reading books. Literature was my best subject in secondary school. In literature I learned to read more into each sentence that is written, each action that is emphasized and each vocabulary that is chosen. These minute attention to details and the underlying meaning that they hint to allowed me to try to do the same in my filmmaking – even if I’m not so successful yet.


COLIN HUANG studied at Singapore Polytechnic for a Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media. He is currently based in Taiwan, pursuing his Masters in Fine Arts in Filmmaking degree at Taipei National University of Arts. He is majoring in Directing.

Photo Credit: Colin Huang (from Away and Apart)

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