Coming Home - Trailer (Short Film)

 It's been the craziest winter.  And finally we are back in production for Coming Home again.   We are happy to announce we are just one shoot away from shoot completion.  We hope to have the film out sometime in May.  In the meantime, enjoy our trailer.


The Toll by Loudspoken

While waiting for the results for the National Film Challenge (should be in two weeks or so), I decided to dabble into a side project (something dark and creepy) which seems pretty appropriate since this was created during a raging storm outside,  this is my first collaboration with "Loudspoken".    I've been expanding my explorations into different scores and sounds, so here is a short clip based on richer sound textures.  

Music composed & performed by Loudspoken
Directed, DOP & Edited by Monica Eng
Acted by Margaret Grace

Mommy - Short film for the 48 hour film Project 2013 (Best of Screening - Audience Award)



This is a way overdue post.  So here we are on my 5th film project in Chicago.  I wasn't quite sure if I was going to do this at first.  It was a 3 days away from project start date and I have not got a team together.  

Fortunately, Meetup had organized a 48hour film project meet up just 3 days before the project and I was able to gather a team of passionate like minded people together just in time for this little challenge.

Friday evening, filled with excitement, we went to collect our genre.  Praying hard that we will not get the much dreaded Musical genre.  Luck was on our side that day.  We got Dark Comedy.  Essential elements for the shortfilm were Character- Michelle/Michael Madigan.  Prop- Remote Control and Line - "Why didn't I think of that?"

I really couldn't have asked for a better team...everyone was so supportive.  We met up that night, brain-stormed, worked around what we've got, got the shoot schedule and rough script out.  The lines were really pretty much improved as we went along.

Saturday shoot started early.  Everything went really smoothly, nobody had a nervous breakdown.  Valerie and Sandra did an amazing job acting their parts of a pair of psychotic mother & daughter.  

De Lois, John and me worked through the night editing and composing music, designing sound effects for the film.  I was really moved by their dedication to this despite the fact everyone was working on volunteer basis.  With lots of coffee and nuts we pulled through the night and was able to make it to the submission, one of the first teams to submit infact.  

We made it to the Best of Show, 12 films selected out of all the films submitted for this project.  And we also won the Audience Award.  I'm terribly proud of my team.   


Object of my Affection - My First Shortfilm

I have finally got around to blogging about my first shortfilm.  What started as a coffee table conversation inspired this shortfilm.  I was really fortunate to have a wonderful team who helped me materialise this twisted little joke into film.  

Special thanks to the very talented Actresses Margaret Grace, Rachel Greisinger & Diane Eve, editor Matt O'Shaughnessy for agreeing to help with Editing at such last minute notice.

Bevlyn Khoo & Dean Augustine for being so supportive with the music part. 

 Zoe Kristen for Makeup,

Chris Weiher & Justin Richey for production sound



'unspoken' is the second personal project I am doing in Chicago.  It's another one of those spur of the moment, i-just-have-to-do-it thing.  Perhaps I've been hit by a bout of motivation.   Pre to Post production took 6 days, storyline was only finalised on the morning of the shoot.  What started off as a rip-off from 2046 turned out to be something quite different in the end.  Thanks to Sam Sam for reminding me to do something original.  

With the help of some wonderful people, we were able to pull it off despite the short time notice.  I am deeply thankful to Jon & Anita for doing this for me despite being 4 months pregnant and with such short notice.  Zoe for showing such enthusiasm and arranging her work around the shoot.  Caitlin for being such a wonderful assistant.  Donna, Janet & Marson for letting us use their apartments despite given 30mins notice.  Dee for patiently going through songs selection with me and being stern with his critics.  Jyh Yang, Bryan & Brian for being my 3rd Eyes and giving me such useful feedback for my first cut.   And last but not least, Rupert for being such a calm and good boy during the shoot.

The shoot was surprising smooth despite how unprepared I was.  The precious lessons I have learnt through the last two shoots were priceless.  I cannot wait to do more.  

So here is, unspoken.


YAY!!!! Fallen, my first self directed,shot,edited video is finally out of the oven.  Never thought video editing was this fun!!  I've enjoyed every bit of this little production from start till end and cannot wait for more!  

My heartfelt gratitude to 

Kathryn Cesarz for being so tolerant, professional, STRONG and beautiful
Zoe Kristen for waking up so early and getting the makeup pristinely done despite having to go to work right after that.
Justin Richey for assisting and driving us to Gary.  

This shoot wouldn't be possible without anyone of you.

THANK YOU! 谢谢! Tack så mycket!!

Shoot at Gary, Indiana

The day started out pretty pleasant.  Although it was a little chilly, the sun was out and sky looked clear.  I was excited.  My first testshoot in Chicago.  Kathryn arrived early in the morning for her makeup session with Zoe.  Makeup was beautifully done and we were all excited about the shoot but more so the trip to Gary, a defunct town.   There were so much abandoned and burnt down buildings around it almost felt like apocalypse had hit and we were in the middle of "Walking Dead".  It was BEAUTIFUL!!! ...well I do have a deep love for abandoned buildings.  And this is a town FULL of that.  It probably have to do with my curiosity of everything.

It turned out to be a much colder day than we had expected.  I felt really bad having to subject Kathryn & Justin to such torture.  It was very cold and at some point Kathryn had to pose pretty much naked on a slab of ice cold stone.  

Here is the tip of the iceberg of our day.  More to come once I get around to editing the rest of the stuff! :)

A huge huge THANK YOU to

Kathryn Cesarz for tolerating the cold, beautiful poses , getting tortured & "holding it in"
Justin Richey for all the heavy lifting, driving, candle dripping and taking such good care of our model.
Zoe Kristen for waking up real early to do the makeup despite having to go to work after that.


Dripping Wax

Have been feeling a little bit uninspired lately.  The cold and the lack of creative stimulation has left me feeling a little dull.  On Tuesday, I decided impulsively, Lets take a crazy possibly unworkable idea and do a test shoot!  And let's hit while the metal is hot.  Do it this week!  With the help of some very wonderful people I've befriended in Chicago we managed to materialise this crazy little idea.  

I wanted to do a shoot that involves fire.  Had a little Brain storming session with Justin (Photographer).  We went from setting mannequins on fire to thinking of ways to set the model on fire.... after some thought we decided we should not try to kill anyone during the shoot.  And decided to turn the model into a candle instead.   We would melt tonnes of candle on the model and kinda do a candle mould on her.  Sounds simple enough.   The only model I had in mind was Kathryn, she has this ethereal beauty about her that would fit this whole theme perfectly.  Sent her a msg and she was in on the shoot within 5 mins.   I was happy.  I mean how often do you actually get everything going right within 30mins of coming up with an idea.  

I was filled with excitement.  We made plans to meet up at Justin's place to "drip hot wax" on Kathryn.  It was an unnerving experience.  "Will I hurt her?  Will the wax form into the perfect shape I have imagined?  Can we remove it without breaking it? I wanna do a shoulder piece and head piece....How can I do it?"  I must agree we were a little over optimistic.  I imagined the candle would burn faster and that with vaseline & powder as a barrier, the pain would be nothing.   I was wrong.  So poor Kathryn tolerated almost 5 hours of torture as we stood there and slowly dripped bout 4 boxes of candles on her shoulder.  


My First Winter (Chicago 2013)

I have always imagined winter to be so pretty and romantic.  Maybe a little cold but u know, pretty snowflakes, making huge snowman and snow angels,  stepping on light fluffy snow, walking down a white park enjoying the view of frozen lakes and snow covered branches.  It was perfect in my mind.  

Then I experienced my first Chicago winter.  It wasn't at all what I had imagined.  The brutal cold, erratic weather, snow, rain, sleet, snowish rain...all in one day, resulting in massive amount of black sludge and ice on the floor.  Walking was a problem for me as I was not used to walking on slippery ice.  I find myself slipping and almost falling many times.  Luckily, no accidents yet (touch wood).  It's so cold most days I rather prefer to be indoors.  Walking the dog was no longer fun as I have to layer and layer for a 5mins walk.  Breathing was a problem somedays, it's so cold your lungs and nose hurts.  Sometimes I can't feel my face after 10mins outside.   But there were the days when it was as I have imagined.  -2 celsius became very pleasant after a week of -24 celsius.  And light snow flake days, everything is just powdery white and sparkly in the night.  Those days makes it all worthwhile.

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This was the last shoot I did before leaving Cyprus in August 2012.  It was a collaboration with Mary Savvidou, my dear friend whom I was fortunate to live with for 5 months.  Underwater shoot was not as easy as it seems.  We were very fortunate to have a friend loan us his pool and even more fortunate to have the guidance of a free diving instructor and most fortunate to have a model who could free dive and stay underwater for longer than normal.  We took turns to shoot videos and photos during the couple of hours.  It was a cold summer day in the mountains.  Water was cold...we were all cold.  We took turns to hold each other down underwater.  Tiring but massively fun experience.  Dinner was amazing cos we were so hungry at the end of it and could eat a pig.  Literally....we did have a gigantic porkchop size of my arm...each.

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This is a B/W version of the previous image.  I kinda like it better B/W

This is a B/W version of the previous image.  I kinda like it better B/W

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Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm

I draw inspiration from music.  All my works always link back to a song I listen to over and over and over again.  I start my conceptualisation process with a piece..... 

This piece is just addictive and I want to "shoot" this song so much.