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| Tuesday, November 29, 2005

HONG KONG actor Andy Lau thinks very highly of local film-maker Kelvin Tong.

The latter was hand-picked by Andy's production company Focus Films and Star Chinese Movies Network (StarHub Ch 62) to helm one of the six short films for the Focus: First Cuts regional film project.

At a press conference last Friday, Kelvin expressed surprise that he had been picked.

'I was like, 'Huh? Why would Hong Kong want us? I mean, you are talking about Hong Kong, they are way beyond us (in movies) What use can we be of to them?'

Then when the 33-year-old presented his first idea to Andy and other bigwigs in Hong Kong, they were so impressed that they decided to make it into a full-length feature instead.

That is how The Pool Chronicles, a chick flick about women and nine-ball pool, got on its way to a bigger platform. The feature film is in pre-production now.

Speaking to The New Paper later, Kelvin said: 'They just got really interested and asked if I had more ideas. I was like, 'Of course! Where do you want to start?''

He then whipped out his script for Love Story, a story about a writer who blurs the lines between fiction and reality in between chasing skirts and churning out prose.

That idea was approved, and the project started rolling last Wednesday.

Chinese singer-actor Allen Lin takes the lead as the writer, while local actors Evelyn Tan, Ericia Lee, Tracy Tan, Amanda Ling, Benjamin Heng and Ben Yeung co-star.

When asked his impression of Andy, Kelvin said: 'He's a very tall and good-looking boss. A very nice man. His initiative is a good push for the film industry.'

He also added that Love Story was a 'vacation' for him after his horror flick The Maid, which was released in August.

'I've always wanted to do something about writers, and about love. Writers are egocentric and self-destructive, yet beautiful. And you can do so many things through their sheer creativity,' said the former Straits Times film reviewer.

He was quick to add that the story was not based on his life.

Kelvin likes his cast to be of a mix of old and new, experienced and inexperienced.

He said: 'I chose actors I had worked with before, because it's like working with old lovers, you can communicate in shorthand... But I also like using completely unknown actors. If you keep using only the experienced ones, then it feels so much like work. But with complete newbies, it forces me to see movies from their fresh point of view and reinvent myself.'

But as highly as Andy thinks of him, chances of him appearing in a Kelvin Tong film are slim.

'I tend to use people around me. I'd prefer to, like say spot a Malaysian actress and cast her in my movie and she gets big. I like to think local. But while I'm a local person, I still hope to score beyond Singapore.'

news from: The New Paper (Singapore)