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Kat Goh big debut!

Writer: Elaine Ewe


Kat Goh was among the crew present in Malaysia to promote her new family comedy "Dance Dance Dragon" at TGV Sunway.

When Kat Goh decided to take on "Dance Dance Dragon" by veteran filmmaker Kelvin Tong and veteran radio presenter Marcus Chin, she was concerned about living up to expectations. "Dance Dance Dragon" is her feature film directing debut, after working as an assistant producer and having directed "Swimming Lesson", a short film which went on to win the Best Short Film and Best Director Award at the 2009 Singapore International Film Festival. But when the filming started, Goh forgot all about the pressure, and concentrated on doing what she does best – directing a story about relationships, between family, friends and lovers.

When the movie premiered in Singapore's cinemas, its comedic and heart-warming moments were well-received, which led to the movie's prolonged screenings that began from 19 January till now. Goh candidly admitted that there is a lot of different between directing "Dance Dance Dragon" and "Swimming Lesson", particularly in the pressure for box office earnings, but her main concern is getting a movie out that audiences can relate to.

Cinema Online had an interview with Kat Goh recently at Fullhouse Lifestyle Store and Cafe, Sunway Pyramid.

Q: Kat Goh, how do you feel about your feature film debut?
Goh: Well, to be honest, I was quite nervous as there were a lot of things to take care of, such as meeting audiences' expectations, budgets and so on, but at the same time, I've been involved in quite a lot of productions previously to be professional about it. Once I started shooting, I forgot about the stress and just did my thing.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect for you in directing "Dance Dance Dragon", as opposed to "Swimming Lesson"?
Goh: The most challenging aspect for me would be finding the actors. For me, I would always decide on the actors first before shooting the movie, so as long as I don't find the right actors to their characters, the movie cannot start shooting. I also needed to find actors that audiences can relate to, as opposed to high-profile stars.

Q: How about managing the budget of SGD 1.2 million?
Goh: Oh, it was also hard, but we managed to keep to the budget all the same. I can't recall what the exact amount of the budget was, but we ended up making the film with SGD 1.2 million. Most of the sponsors are familiar with me and my work, so they were willing to green-light most things I needed. The only problem was that we had only 16 days to shoot the movie, so the pressure was on there instead.

Q: Are you satisfied with the outcome of the movie?
Goh: Yes, I am. I mean, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was perfect as I felt that there were things that could be improved upon in the script and the way it was shot, but cast-wise it was perfect. I'm really happy with my team.

Q: What was working with the baby like?
Goh: Oh, you mean Nigel Yo! He's a very good baby, unlike most babies. He actually looks at you when you are talking to him, as if he understands every word. It was very easy to manage him, even though he was only 5 months old at the time of shooting. Now he's about 7-8 months old. Plus, his mother was with us the whole time.

Q: What would you say is your directing style?
Goh: [Laughs] Oh dear, this is difficult to answer because I have not really shot enough films to decide. But, [pauses] I would say that I love to shoot films about relationships. In fact, I try to centre my films around them, because to me, relationships are very important, be they between siblings, a parents and child, or husband and wife. I mean, it's always very interesting to see these dynamics because with every person it's different for them.

Q: What would be your dream project?
Goh: I hope to shoot an animated film someday. But I know it's going to be a very difficult thing to do, because it opens a whole different set of problems, such as creating characters, because then I would not be directing people, but computer-generated imagery.

Q: What is your favourite movie then?
Goh: My favourite movie would be any Miyazaki movie. I've watched almost every Ghibli movie, from "Princess Mononoke" to "Spirited Away", to "Ponyo". I haven't watched the latest, "The Secret World Of Arietty" yet though.

Q: Are you worried that the film will lose its focus when the movie is released in Malaysia, as it is not during the Chinese New Year holidays?
Goh: Not really, because my film is not really about Chinese New Year. That is just the backdrop. It is mainly about family and their relationships. The message I'm trying to deliver is about young Singaporeans' aversion towards having babies, but as they are older, they want babies, which becomes difficult for them. So this movie is to show that having babies may not be such a bad thing after all.

Q: Thank you so much for your time.
Goh: You're welcome.


Cinema Online, 07 March 2012

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