Remembering Where The Heart Is with Tang Kang Sheng

Tang Kang Sheng’s Remember was one of the most personal films entered in the WHERE THE HEART IS competition, and received a Special Mention from the Jury.

The film is one of 19 playing in a series of openair screenings at Martin Place at the Sydney Film Festival this month (details here.)

The film is an attempt to hold on to a memory of a disappearing estate that the filmmaker lived in since he was a child. As everything in life changes, the film tries reconciling the person we become versus who we were. Nothing in the past changes but how we choose to reflect will affect our future. It is dedicated to his family who never fails to remind him of that fact.

Joe Lawlor on Remember: “Employing a family album of evocative photographs, REMEMBER skilfully attempts to reach back into a personal history. The effort to reach back is both courageous and illusive. Illusive, because for all their resonance the photographs aren’t enough. Something more is needed. Words. And not just any words, but words which conjure up a specific place.

Remember is a thoughtful reflection on the tension that exists in all of us. The tension between who we are now and where we have come from so that we may better forge a future for ourselves. What made this film so strong for us is that the narrator recognises how both the past but also specific places mark us and how place is central in that act of remembering.”

Says Kang Sheng: “The film was made as my grandmother’s estate was being en bloc and all the residents were slowly disappearing before the end of the year. I always wanted to capture what I felt was special about the estate growing up there. So, borrowing a Canon 550D from a friend of mine, I went down to find most of the flats already emptied and some structures already disappeared.

The first version of the narration was a cliche description about the disappearing estate, I did multiple takes of it and was not happy. So I took awhile to ask myself why I was really remembering all these things, and I realize it was more than just nostalgia. It was about becoming a version of myself that was just as happy as I used to be, and that now with all the cynicism that sets in with growing older I might have lost it along the way.

Seeing the film now is quite surreal, though i still remember the process and the rush for deadline,all I that is just in the background to what I feel is truly a film more than just for the competition but a reminder to myself. I am still surprised that people have a such response to it and am still very appreciative of kind words towards it.

Since the competition I have been writing short scripts and been trying to get them made, hopefully soon.”

Tang Kang Sheng has been trying to get short films off the ground with friends of his since 2008. A special interest in human connections and memories is what he tries to explore in his films. He is currently studying at the Nanyang Technological University pursuing a degree in Digital Filmmaking.

Find out more about the WHERE THE HEART IS competition here.

See Edwin Soedarmadji’s The Neighbourhood Shops are Where The Heart Is here.

Visit the WHERE THE HEART IS vimeo channel here.

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