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Meet Bertrand
Q What inspired you to be a filmmaker?
A I'm inspired by bad films. Every time I see a bad film, I'll think to myself, "if such a moron can make a film, then why not me!" Thus a lot of films inspire me because 90% of films made are rubbish.
Q You took a 3-year Film Sound Video in (Singapore's) Ngee Ann Polytechnic. What's one lesson you've learnt that you wish they had taught you in film school?
A That you don't learn how to make films from being in film school. You learn how to make films by experiencing life.
Q Did it ever surprise you that you'd turn out to be such a successful filmmaker?
A My surprise is that you're labeling me as "a successful filmmaker". I don't think I've done enough good work yet to be labeled as one. I want to do more. Much more.
Q We understand that your first-ever filmmaking device was a dingy old Super VHS video camera. Today you're in the process of making a short film with a mobile phone. How far do you think technology has come?
A When I first started out some 6 years ago, even a 2 megapixel digital camera was a technological marvel! If you'd told me then that I'll be making a film off a mobile phone, I would have thought you were crazy!
Q You are a World Fest Houston International multiple award winner. Amongst other critical acclaims, your award-winning Birthday short film was, in fact, the only representative from Asia at the famed Venice Film Festival. How did you take to such international recognition?
A I don't really give it much thought really. I'm a film director, not a celebrity. I'd rather just concentrate on the work. Giving lots of interviews and posing for cameras is not really my thing. Directors do the work, and actors get the recognition. That's how it should be, and I'm happy with that status quo.
Q Your commercial work is wide and varied – you've done ad campaigns for Coca-Cola, StarHub and BreadTalk. So which do you prefer – making professional material like commercial ads or art-house films?
A I love them both. I don't really look at whether a project is commercial or art-house, but whether it has the potential to be good or bad.
Q Your accident has been a shock to the entire film community, but your road to recovery has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. What life lessons have you picked up that would, from now, inspire the making of future films?
A I'm afraid that there are really no positives to take from my accident. There is nothing to learn from having to endure so much pain and suffering.
Q Did you find it surprising that people from all around the world had rallied round you upon hearing your story? The Bertrand Lee Appeal had even individuals and organizations from even as far as the US contributing to it! Do you have anything you might like to say to them?
A Beyond surprise, I am also very touched and moved that so many people actually know or care enough about me to show as much love and encouragement as they have. All I want to say is, I determined that the support shown for me will not be in vain.
Q How did you manage to get the beautiful results from the camera? (can talk abt process too, lighting setup, any lights etc, makeup)

First of all, I must give credit to the people who helped make this project what it is: Joseph Lee, my frequent collaborator who shot the clip, Gary Juay, who did the styling and casting, my fiancée Janice and my sister Bernice for coordinating the whole project and putting up with my tantrums, The Observatory for providing the wondering music to the clip, Geoff and Chris for helping to scour for talent, and the talent herself, Laryssa, simply for being beautiful.

When all these elements are right, and they come together nicely to support an idea, the final product will be pretty good. It doesn't really matter what you shoot on.

If we go into technical details, the only thing we made sure we had was a lot of light. And that the set was very bright. Video tends to be more pixilated in low light, so we made sure to avoid that. We shot the clip in my living room which has an entire windowed wall with nice sunlight in the morning. Shoot at the right time, and the result can be magical.

Q Is it very different from working with traditional devices ie film camera?

The trick here is to utilize your advantages. No doubt a film camera will produce better quality images, but the drawback is that it is usually bigger, bulkier, heavier. If I had used a film camera, I would not have been able to film the clip with the same handheld fluidity.

I don't see the sense in using a camera phone to take static shots. It just was not made to do that.

Q How does the story fit into the theme of 'My discovery'?
A People are my greatest interest. When I see an interesting face or character, I can stare into the face for hours and hours trying to find out as much as I can about the person. I tried to replicate that obsession, but from the point of view of a boyfriend obsessing over his girlfriend.
Q How do you feel abt doing this project?
A The first thing I felt was fear. I had not shot anything or even seen a proper movie for almost 2 years, what if I had forgotten how to make a film! But soon the desire to get some semblance of my old life back was so strong that it overcame the fear and I decided to just plunge into doing it.
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