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Full Version: Ilo Ilo director Anthony Chen down to only $250 in bank account
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Monday, Nov 18, 2013

Singaporean director Anthony Chen may have won critical acclaim on the global stage, but the real shocker is this internationally-feted film maker has only $250 of savings in his bank account.

According to Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, 29-year-old Chen only earned an estimated $20,000 over a four-year period while he produced and directed his award-winning debut feature film, Ilo Ilo.

In contrast, Ilo Ilo has gone on to bag a string of 15 international awards, beginning with the Camera d'Or award for best first feature film at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier in May. In October, the drama won the Sutherland Award for Best First Feature at the BFI London Film Festival, beating 11 other films from around the world.

The film snagged three more awards, including for Best Feature Film and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 43rd Molodist International Film Festival in Kiev, Ukraine, Best Narrative Feature Film at the Philadelphia Film Festival in the United States, and another three awards in Hungary at the 10th Miskolc International Film Festival, winning prizes for exceptional performance, enterprising film and genuine talent.

Child actor Koh Jia Ler, who plays one of the leads in the movie, also won the Best Actor award at the 9th Eurasia Film Festival in Kazakhstan.

It also earned a bumper crop of six nominations for the November 23 Golden Horse Awards, with nominations for best feature film, best new director for Anthony Chen, best supporting actor for Chen Tianwen, best supporting actress for Yeo Yann Yann, best new performer for Koh Jia Ler and best original screenplay for Anthony Chen.

The 25-strong cast will also be flying to Taiwan on their own budget to attend the Golden Horse Awards.

But Chen has no regrets. He said jokingly: "I feel like I'm selling myself for the film!"

To date, local box-office receipts for the movie, which cost $700,000 to make, totalled about $900,000.

Chen told Lianhe Wanbao that he had a shock when he found out that his bank account was left with $250 when he wanted to do a fund transfer on a publicity trip in Hong Kong.

But he said: "I won't complain, and I have no regrets. Everyone else thinks that with all the awards I was given, I would be very rich, but that's not the reality!"

Chen, who began producing his own short films when he was about 19 years old, has been through days when he was on a shoe-string budget. He added: "I don't have very much money to begin with, nor very much savings. This is normal to me."

Even though Chen's feature film, Ilo Ilo, has been well-received overseas, and despite the box-office earnings, he has not gotten back much earnings from it, as he is the film's only 'investor'.

Film's only 'investor'

He revealed that he has earned only $20,000 in director's fees in the last four years. This is from the time he wrote the script, to preparation, filming, publicity and entering the film in various film competitions.

His biggest expense is on clothes. Chen said that even though there were clothes sponsors for red-carpet events, he still had to wear 'decent-looking' clothes when meeting with the media for interviews. These expenses, he revealed, were paid for by himself.

And for his next trip to Australia this evening, he will be making a trip to the malls first to get some clothes first, as he prepares to meet the media Down Under.
MDA or Nat Art Council will give grants one.
Gov got money to throw. Esp at confirmed success.
Just cut 10% MDA funding to mediacorp can fund a lot of indie
Great entrepenuer... I'm wowed and humbled by these kind of people rather than those born with silver spoon and has backstops.
This is an example of why and how come he is not encouraged or supported by our GOV.?
maybe he dont have 4A and 2 S-paper for A-levels...haha