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Royston Tan On His Interactive Film High, And The New Movie He Can’t Complete Because Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

The filmmaker also tells us about the old buildings stock footage he’s been collecting.

Royston Tan On His Interactive Film High, And The New Movie He Can’t Complete Because Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

For Singapore’s first interactive film, High, Royston Tan has to shoot multiple endings, something he’s not used to doing, not even for his own feature narratives, from his coming-of-age debut 15 to the ge-tai themed 881 to the enigmatic drama 4:30.

“My endings have always been a little bit ambiguous,” Tan, 43, tells 8days.sg over the phone. “I left them open-ended because I want the audience to decide for themselves — what is the ending about?”

“In a sense, you can call them interactive but in an unconventional way,” adds Tan, who calls the anti-drugs abuse short "an interactive film for the Tinder age”.

In High — a collaboration with the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) — viewers get to choose the fate(s) awaiting Nick (Titoudao: Inspired by the True Story of a Wayang Star’s Shawn Thia), a young bloke who’s introduced to the destructive world of drugs and hard-partying by Sienna (Naomi Yeo), a woman he meets on a dating app.

​​​​​​​It’s a choose-your-own adventure narrative similar to Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch: every decision made by the protagonist — or rather the viewer on his behalf — takes him down a different path, on a journey can be either very bland or destructive.

All in all, there are four endings in High.

Here, we ask the director if the interactive component might be a tad gimmicky and get in the way of the anti-drugs message.

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