Her award-winning film career dates back to … Nova Scotia Child Care, Lifestyle News

Thanks to the nights spent working as a security guard during his NS days, Samuel Delitans Lee is now able to handle night shoots very well.

“To this day, I’m grateful for what national service has taught me,” said the 29-year-old, who was in the 8 SIR.

Regularly assigned to guard, Samuel had plenty of time to plan his future films and ideas. And when his commanders found out he had media training, they offered him the opportunity to be part of the media team.

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“I learned new skills and time management in the military, balancing call times at 6:00 am and not editing until after 7:00 pm,” says Samuel.

“There were times when I had to serve Media IC during the day and continue my on-call duty through the night. But because of my passion, I didn’t regret the job. This experience taught me a lot about resilience and perseverance.”

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Today, the action filmmaker has made not one but four award-winning shorts: Rescue Before Dusk, Star Wars: The Awakening, Timecase, and his latest film starring ex-commando Jonathan Cheong, Deadlock which has won the Samuel Award for Best Director in the World. Singapore Carnival Film Award.

The film itself won the Outstanding Crime Film award and Jonathan won the best actor award.

He also started his own production company, Littleworks Productions in 2011 while pursuing a film, sound and video degree at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

He originally wanted to be an actor, but found his true calling was behind the scenes after he began studying film.

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The three best films that influenced him: The Man From Nowhere from Korea, The Raid Part 2 from Indonesia and the live-action film adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin from Japan.

Additionally, Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, Kim Jee-Woon, and Bong Joon-Ho are Samuel’s favorite directors.

We talk to the director / editor about his work on Deadlock, his thoughts on the less popular aspects of cinema, and the challenges of being a local director.

PHOTO: Samuel Delitans Lee

Samuel, you are an “action film director”. How did quick punches and flying kicks become part of your repertoire?

I really like stunts and flips. But they are not rooted in the fight.

As an action movie director, before I move on to whimsical flips and wireworks, I need to learn how to make punches and kicks look good on screen. Every fight scene will have quick punches and flying kicks, but the quality of the action is up to me.

I wanted to become an action film director just because the action genre is considered the most difficult genre in Singapore. Action films are extremely rare in Singapore and very ambitious. This is the most disastrous journey in business terms to get into the action genre.

But consider this, what if we were able to create our own identity out of this genre? When people see such a movie, they will think, “This great movie … is made in Singapore”. Thailand has its action movies, the Koreans have their gangster movies, Indonesia has their The Raid movies. And I wanted to stand out and create my own style.

I deliberately chose the more difficult trip, knowing full well that there will be enormous inconveniences and challenges in my path. I still believe that in Singapore, a gem has not yet been found.

PHOTO: Samuel Delitans Lee

You’re definitely on the right track, having won a Best Director award for Deadlock. Congratulations! What was the biggest learning lesson for you while working on the film?

Thank you! The biggest learning lesson is adaptability. Work and manage with people with different skills – be it stunts, cameras or lights. We all have different talents. As a director, I do my best to put people where they can be great or where they can grow.

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PHOTO: Samuel Delitans Lee

You also made your first music video, the official MV for the movie’s theme song with FRGN and Charles ENERO. How was it different from working on an MV?

Working on a MV requires you to think hard and quickly. Sometimes FRGN and Charles would ask a question and I would create a scenario in my mind whether this idea would work or not. I have to respect the schedule but also be open to suggestions.

Usually when I plan a short film I almost have a fixed shot on what needs to be done. As it was my first MV, I had complete freedom. As an editor too, I will plan in my mind whether a particular shot will work or not.

Many distinctions for Samuel's short film,
Lots of accolades for Samuel’s short film, Timecase. PHOTO: Samuel Delitans Lee

As a director and video editor, what do you think is the least popular aspect of cinema, and why should people be more aware of it?

I think the two least popular aspects are stunts and film editing. Most of the time, when a movie goes well, very few thanks go to the editor who puts all the shots together and the stunt job that sells the action. Even in a movie, when a character falls down the stairs or gets hit by a car, it’s the montage and stunts that sell the impact.

I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘The writing is good’, ‘Oh, the camera work is crazy’, ‘That’s great direction’, or ‘Look at the beautiful visuals’.’ But I rarely hear the words “Editing is top notch” or “This is a great stunt job”.

People won’t notice a good editing or stunt job unless it’s done very poorly. Imagine having a great movie where the cut is horrible or the actress falls flat on a sidewalk with no waterfall. Can you imagine how angry his fans could be?

PHOTO: Samuel Delitans Lee

What are the main challenges of being a local director (and video editor) in Singapore?

You are pretty much on your own. You first learn to write, produce, make props, direct and edit your own film. Not many people will believe your dreams and ambitions.

Once you’ve made a few movies and established yourself, you end up comparing yourself and competing with your friends in the same industry. Everyone has their own bowl of rice to plan for.

I haven’t had the pleasure of having a large pool of friends to start my career. I had to constantly believe in myself, overcome doubts on a daily basis and see each failure as an opportunity to be better.

PHOTO: Samuel Delitans Lee

READ ALSO: From Aerospace To Photography, Content Creator YK Explains How He Finds Creativity In Everyday Life

This article first appeared in Wonderwall.sg.



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