We are delighted to feature another Alumnus in the film industry: Fareed Singh Kairon (Class of 2014). After GIS, Fareed pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A), Directing and Theatrical Production, Screenwriting at EICAR.
Fareed, can you summarise some of your achievements to date?
Since graduating from EICAR: The Film and Television School of Paris, I have had lots of professional working experience on productions all across Europe – ranging from short films and music videos in France, to a feature film “Berlin I Love You” shot in Berlin, Germany, where I was an on-set runner.
I also served as a P.A on an episode of the BBC TV show ‘Killing Eve’, which was also shot in Berlin. I have also made several short films of my own, which have received acclaim and had great success at film festivals, with my latest film winning awards across Europe. I also work as a freelance editor, have written several acclaimed short films and have also written a few feature films on spec!
When did you decide you wanted to get into film-making, and how did you begin?
I knew I wanted to make movies ever since primary school in GIS. I spent my Secondary years and Sixth Form making small short short films with friends, whilst juggling all of my homework and other school commitments.
After GIS, I decided to go somewhere as far from South East Asia as possible, to gain as much exposure to a totally new environment. I ended up choosing Paris, France, because it really is the birthplace of cinema. Paris seemed to fit in line with my sensibilities as a storyteller, which were always more inspired by the more avant-garde European stuff.
So, I went off to Paris and began studying in EICAR, one of the few English-speaking film schools in continental Europe. There, I began an intense, hands-on 3 year course on directing and film production, where I got to work on several short films in various capacities, ranging from director, editor, gaffer and even electrician!
Film school can only be rewarding if you give yourself over to it fully, so that meant extra hours in the editing room, shooting personal projects on the side along with your graded school films, and attending as many shoots as possible to make connections. Sooner or later, people start to take notice and choose to join your crew because they see you’re taking initiative.
What did you get up to after graduating?
I ended up graduating film school having already directed 5 short films, with 2 of them finding major success in various film festivals around the globe. Since then, I’ve had internships with various major feature film and television show productions across Europe, ranging from Germany to Denmark.
Through making my short films, I was able to build a “team” of invaluable crew members whom I hope to work with on my feature films in the near future. This is perhaps the biggest success of all: acquiring great people who will follow you anywhere to make a movie. Filmmaking is a very personal experience, and your crew really does become your family. The greatest gift of all is having people you care about by your side.
Fareed, can you tell us what you have been working on lately?
I recently finished shooting a music video for an Italian hip-hop artist, and am working on the edit for a new short film. On the side, I am co-writing 3 feature films, one of which I intend to direct in a couple of years. It’s very much my intention to make feature films in Europe or in the States, and perhaps in time, come to SouthEast Asia to lend my voice to the film scene here. So, I’ve got lots going on!
How do you feel GIS prepared you for your journey into film-making?
My former English Literature teacher Andrew McConchie was incredibly supportive towards me and really helped encourage me to pursue my passion. He taught me all the way from Year 10 until year 13, so I learned a great deal from him. Also, Ms. Lee, who was my drama teacher: Drama class was the closest I came to some kind of film class! I got the chance to learn how to work with actors, make notes on a script, so it was very important to me. Ms. Lee was very enthusiastic and always championing us to embrace our imaginations. I’m very grateful to her. Then there’s Ms. Leng, who was my form tutor from Year 12 to Year 13. Those were very crucial years for many personal reasons and Ms. Leng was always very caring and understanding throughout. I have so many fond memories of her and my A-Level class!
Do you have any advice for current GIS students who are interested in pursuing a career in film?
Make movies! Find ways to keep your passion alive! Film-making is all about productivity, so the more you keep shooting, the better you will get. Even if it means using a small cheap camera, or your smartphone, try to find ways to keep making stuff. The best thing is to force your friends to be actors and make short films! Then edit them, and show them to everyone! The more you do this, the more you will discover your sensibilities and nothing is more interesting than your distinct point of view. Even if the film doesn’t turn out great (which they almost never do), there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a finished film come together. Especially when you did pretty much everything yourself. So go for it, just make some movies!