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.