October 2015 | Issue 20
Meet our students: Gong Haoran & Tan Guan Zhong
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By Ang Hoe Khoon

Executive, Communications & External Relations

Film critic Roger Ebert once said, "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it", a philosophy both Gong Haoran and Tan Guan Zhong, two avid film-makers, wholeheartedly embrace.

Gong Haoran
Class of 2020
"I want my audience to feel, learn, and take away something. How audiences are able to relate to the film is simply beyond a nice story."

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Haoran (front right) and his crew with actors for one of his many films

Having always been interested in telling stories through pictures, Haoran became fascinated with film-making and started exploring it as a medium to share his ideas during Junior College.

"I want to be able to achieve a level of professionalism where I am able to recreate the emotions that I have and create a connection of emotions and thought that simply goes beyond the story." It was this drive to create that has led him to produce a number of films, most notably, Frozen In Time, a short film about dementia, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Health.

Even though Haoran and his team were eventually successful in securing sponsorship, they faced countless rejections from various groups and actors in the process of doing so.

"No one was willing to sponsor a random group of 17-year-olds with little to no professional experience. Some of the actors we approached were unwilling to work with us as we could offer little with the tight budget from our own pockets. With the sponsorship, we had more freedom to develop our ideas and execute the film that we had in our minds," said Haoran.

So what has he taken away from all this? "There are many things I've learnt from filming such as team work where you need to put yourself in others' shoes and to be accepting and able to empathise. Communication of ideas and the planning of schedules and time have also really helped me in school. I have also learnt to not be afraid of rejections and failure, but more importantly, to pick myself up from them and move on," said Haoran.

With his entry into LKCMedicine, Haoran has taken time off his filming to focus on his studies, but that has not stopped him from generating new ideas for future films. Watch one of Haoran's films, Frozen In Time, here!

Tan Guan Zhong
Class of 2019
"The films and videos I do are a personal investment, where I want to show an idea or feeling that I had."

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 Guan Zhong in the midst of filming

The moments, laughter, and memories that Tan Guan Zhong and his friends shared were preserved in a simple montage that he produced after an Overseas Community Involvement Project during his secondary school days. With his montage being well received by his friends and teachers, he was soon approached to do another one, this time for the graduating batch of his school.

It was seeing the excited and happy faces of his schoolmates that encouraged Guan Zhong to take film-making up as a full-time hobby. From there, he has gone on to produce a number of films, from montages to promotional films.

For Guan Zhong, coming up with different ideas for his film projects is one of the hardest parts about filming. "All my ideas come to me spontaneously, and at those times I would need to immediately record them down lest I forget. The triggers can be music, seeing things around me, or even random musings," said Guan Zhong.

But being a medical student has turned out to be an unexpected source of inspiration. For example, his experiences during Hospital Week in his first year of medical school inspired him to do a video of life as a diabetic. "The diabetes video was something I wanted to do to show how hard life for a diabetic is," he said.

Now, Guan Zhong finds his experiences as a medical student are influencing him more and more. "I am looking to explore the idea of a life of a medical student, from parodies about student life to the challenges and sacrifices they make on the road to be doctors," said Guan Zhong.

Watch his video on the life of a diabetic here!