Ngee Ann Poly Students’ Documentaries on Channel 5

(From left to right): Craig McTurk, Muhammad Farhan, Vahona Chiam, Kris Chua, Lee Jing Wei, Nivash Joyvin, Eric Darmadi, Russell Goh, Ashiq Noor Imran, and Minister of Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary

It started off as an assignment for their Documentary Production module, but months later, their documentaries were broadcasted on national television in Singapore.

Two teams of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) students from the School of Film & Media Studies (FMS) were chosen to work with Mediacorp to produce an episode of YXY: Youth by Youth, a new series on Channel 5’s On the Red Dot, which premiered on Dec 2, 2016.

The series also features three other episodes that were produced by Mediacorp and students from three other local institutes of higher learning.

This collaboration was launched by Mediacorp to let Singaporean youths present issues that they felt were pertinent to them through their own perspectives.

“We started this project to give a voice to our youths, let them flex their creative muscle and talk about issues that are important to them. We wanted them to turn the cameras to themselves and frame those issues in a way that is relevant to them,” said Ms Susanna Kulatissa, Deputy Chief Editor of English Current Affairs at Mediacorp.

The two teams from NP worked on the episode: Passion Pursuits.

It centres on the theme of youths working towards the goal of developing their craft or using their interest to benefit others.

The first half of the episode follows two young musicians, Quek Jun Rui and Thong Wei Ling from the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, who chose to pursue classical music alongside their education.

The other half of the episode features Camellia Abd Gani, a volunteer who brings her cats to homes for the elderly and disabled. She enjoys doing so, and believes that it also brings joy to those she visits.

Both documentaries were first conceptualised and made for the students’ Documentary Production module. It was then further refined and adapted to fit Mediacorp’s format and broadcast style, which proved to be an uphill task.

“The students had to work with an external client for the first time, which is never an easy task. It involves compromise, meeting deadlines, and receiving feedback from people outside of the FMS ecosystem. Students struggled with trying to remake their original films and repackage them for a TV audience,” said Mr Craig McTurk, the NP lecturer who supervised the students.

Despite the difficulties, the students relished the opportunity to see their documentaries shown on national television.

“It was a very good first experience. The amount of work and having many late nights was all worth it in the end, just to see our final product on television. They [Mediacorp] were understanding about how busy we all were and very patient with us,” said Vanoha Chiam, 21, a student in one of the two NP teams. – JOSHUA ANG

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