My Takeaways from “The Journey of Ilo Ilo”

Just attended a talk by Anthony Chen and his team. They shared about the pre-production, production and post.

What I really got out of the talk are some really simple but important points.

  • If you want to capture a particular something for your film, make sure you go all the way to get it the way you want it to be. Anthony was looking for a very particular HDB apartment with a balcony that has exactly that 90’s grill pattern, and he and his team went through 500 blocks just to find it.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your script. It has got to be near perfect when you shoot it.
  • Make a film only when you really want to make it, not because you want to sell it.
  • Getting a RIGHT sales agent is critical to the marketing of your film. Anthony’s script was noticed at Tokyo Filmex when it got an award and he was keen to hire Memento Films International to be the sales agent. The agent knew exactly which film festival to send the film to and which not to. They even indicated to Berlinale that if Ilo Ilo did not make it for Golden Bear shortlist, take it out of the panorama program.
  • Before you talk about all of the above, you better have a solid idea/story that you want to tell. Why worry about the market or funding when you got nothing.

Congratulations to Anthony Chen and his crew for being the first from Singapore to win the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2013!


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