The Rights Stuff


MPA hosts Philippines film delegation in Singapore

By The Rights Stuff — 5.12.2018

On December 5, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) hosted a film delegation from the Philippines to attend a special lunch reception and Masterclass from Australian filmmaker Alister Grierson (James Cameron’s Sanctum, Kokoda, Tiger). With the Philippines identified as this year’s Singapore Media Festival’s Country of Focus initiative, a large delegation of independent filmmakers and leading film production companies visited Singapore to attend both the Festival and the Asia Television Forum & Market (ATF). The delegation is led by Liza Diño, Chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

Director Alister Grierson, visiting Singapore from Australia, has enjoyed a filmmaking career involving both large studio and smaller independent films. During his Masterclass, he engaged the audience with a breakdown of his approach to directing James Cameron’s Sanctum – a story of expert diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) on his exploration of the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caves. On one such expedition, Frank is joined by his teenage son, Josh (Rhys Wakefield), and financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd). When a flash flood cuts off their exit, they are caught in a life-or-death situation. With supplies dwindling, the divers must navigate a treacherous labyrinth to find a new escape route or die in the process. Grierson took us into the world of preparation and research, creating his own 3D modeling to plot the intricate cave shoots in 3D. Sanctum was one of the first films to test ground-breaking 3D camera work, made all the more challenging by the underwater scenarios. Sanctum has mesmerising shots of divers floating in the big, blue void; claustrophobic squeezes into dark underwater tunnels; and a fumbling, painful death scene.


Grierson screened his career-starter short film Bomb, which won Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival attracting over 90,000 people to the live competition in Australia. He talked through his World War 2 movie Kokoda – a film about the poorly-trained Australian forces sent to face the Japanese army on the Kokoda trail in New Guinea in 1942. Grierson shared tales from his latest indie film, Tiger and provided telling insights into the development of his new China-coproduction Hellfighters.