EXCLUSIVE: Filipino production house Daluyong Studios, founded by Alemberg Ang, a co-producer on Japan’s Best International Feature Oscars submission Plan 75, is partnering with Tan Si En’s Singapore-based Momo Film Co to co-produce a slate of features and documentaries.
The joint slate includes feature films Don’t Cry, Butterfly, from rising Vietnamese filmmaker Duong Dieu Linh; and Tropical Rain, Death-Scented Kiss, directed by US-Singapore animation filmmaker Charlotte Hong Bee Her; as well as short film and feature Bold Eagle, directed by the Philippines’ Whammy Alcazaren; and documentary feature Tens Across The Borders, from Sze-Wei Chan.
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Daluyong previously partnered with Tan Si En and Anthony Chen’s Giraffe Pictures on Some Nights I Feel Like Walking, from Filipino filmmaker Petersen Vargas, which is currently in pre-production. The project, about a teenage runaway who falls in with a group of hustlers, won the SEAFIC Award at the 2019 Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab and was also presented at Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) and Cannes Cinefondation Atelier.
Ang and Tan said they’d decided to extend their partnership further as they share a mission to amplify the voices of emerging Asian filmmakers and present authentic stories from across the region.
“Daluyong Studios’ Alemberg Ang and I share similar passions about working on projects that empower and give voice to minorities,” said Tan. “I’m thrilled to continue our relationship to co-produce projects, and we can’t wait to keep pushing forward.”
Ang explained that co-production funding programs from organizations including the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have recently given a huge boost to collaboration among Southeast Asian producers. “I can’t find a better partner than Tan Si En. Her taste is impeccable and her work ethic is truly admirable,” Ang said.
Set in Hanoi, Don’t Cry, Butterfly revolves around a middle-aged housewife who discovers her husband is cheating, but instead of confronting him, uses voodoo to lure him back. The project has won awards from the Script to Screen workshop, organized by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), Locarno Open Doors and HAF. Tan is producing with Tran Thi Bich Ngoc for Vietnam’s An Nam Productions, with Ang on board as co-producer.
Tropical Rain, Death-Scented Kiss won the fellowship prize at the Singapore International Film Festival’s film lab. The hybrid animation is described as a “lesbian dime store romance set in a Singapore teeming with spirits.” Also producing are Giuliana Foulkes for Chicago-based Total Blur Productions and Jerrold Chong for Singapore-based animation studio Finding Pictures.
Currently in production, Bold Eagle is about an anonymous online sex worker “who seeks validation from his cat as he wonders if he can amount to something more than just a pretty face”. Alcazaren is an award-winning production designer who recently worked on Carlo Manatad’s Whether The Weather Is Fine, while his credits as director include Never Tear Us Apart.
Tens Across the Borders follows the LGBTQ trailblazers building the vogue and ballroom scenes in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. The project, which recently filmed in New York before moving on to the Philippines and Norway, won the DOK Leipzig Accelerator Prize at Indonesia’s Docs By The Sea and also has funding from Busan’s Asian Cinema Fund and the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival.
Daluyong started out by producing small arthouse films in the Philippines through grants from local festivals including Cinemalaya, QCinema and Cinema One Originals. The company’s first productions won awards in the Philippines and premiered at festivals including Busan, Tokyo and Torino.
After ten years, the company rebranded as Daluyong and started developing international co-productions, working mostly with new talent and tackling social issues including violence against women, LGBTQ rights and mental health.
Ang and fellow Filipino producer Will Fredo’s Fusee co-produced Chie Hayakawa’s Plan 75 with Japan’s Loaded Films, Urban Factory, Happinet-Phantom Studios, Dongyu Club and WOWOW. The film won the Camera d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival and also screened in Toronto.
Tan has worked as a producer on Kirsten Tan’s Pop Aye (2017), Anthony Chen’s Wet Season (2019) and Chen’s segment of anthology The Year Of The Everlasting Storm, which premiered at Cannes last year. She was also a co-producer on Sorayos Prapapan’s Arnold Is A Model Student, which premiered at this year’s Locarno.
In 2018, she founded Momo Film with Singapore writer-director Kris Ong. Last year, Singapore-based Beach House Pictures, part of Canada’s Blue Ant Media, acquired a majority stake in Momo Film, which is now expanding its slate of scripted series.
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