Jason Lee (in grey shirt) with his cast and crew of The Viewing.
22 April 2020
Jason Lee, a Year Three Sociology student and aspiring filmmaker has a COVID-19 story to tell.
This aspiring filmmaker’s “spider-senses” tingled when he saw an opportunity to “make a film that’s real and from something that [he] could observe”. With support from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), his team produced The Viewing, a comedy short film about a paranoid Singaporean who prepares overboard when she has unexpected visitors during this period of uncertainty.
Set against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 situation, the film explores the theme of xenophobia – a topic Jason has always been interested in discussing.
Far from being an amateur, The Viewing is Jason’s ninth filmmaking endeavour since his first attempt at 17 years old. Although filmmaking is known to be incredibly challenging, Jason loves the stylistic expression and creative freedom films afford him.
To him, “that’s where magic can happen”. Being passionate and hopeful, Jason continues to chase his dreams through Little Penguins, a Singaporean production house he founded in 2017.
Watch Jason’s short film The Viewing.
10-in-10 (10 questions, 10 minutes)
1. Full Name
Jason Lee Meng Hon
During filming, people usually call me either Jason or director. But that’s boring. So on my social media accounts, I’m @jasonmakesfilms!
3. Year of Study, Faculty/School
Y3 FASS Sociology
4. If I were a superhero, I would be…
Spiderman because I like how he’s the everyday neighbourhood superhero.
5. Draw a self-portrait:
I can’t draw, else I’ll end up looking like a stickman!
6. Blank canvas - filmmaker's boon or bane, and why?
I think that blank canvases are great because there’s so much freedom to express! It’s like writing a secondary school composition without a topic, and you can self-design something out of it. Besides, I think that there’s where magic can happen!
7. Your favourite film genre and why?
I don’t have a favourite in particular, because I like films not because of its genre but its style. But to answer the question, I am more inclined towards horror because we get to experience the thrill and fear in the safest manner, but I have yet to muster the courage to make one.
8. What made you want to explore this theme in the short film?
I didn’t set out to make the film specifically to explore this theme. I just wanted to make a film that’s real and from something that I could observe. At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of fingers were pointing towards Mainland Chinese and I have heard stories of how Mainland Chinese who were in Singapore became subjects of target. It’s saddens me deeply because not only are they far from home, they have innocently become the object of discrimination. It’s unfair to them, and this naturally became a part of my script.
9. Share your typical day during circuit breaker.
I am someone who likes keeping myself busy, and I try to involve myself with different things to do in the day. I run a small e-commerce business on the side and have been more involved in designing the marketing collaterals. The rest of the time is spent on writing new scripts, with my parents and exercise with my friends on Zoom. Then typically at night, I would house-party with my friends.
10. What’s the first thing you want to do after circuit breaker ends?
I want to meet my friends because I miss the physical companionship from many of them.