Utter 2017

Utter is an annual Singapore Writers Festival initiative which showcases the best of Singapore writing and celebrates its potential to be adapted into different media and across languages, giving audiences fresh perspectives and a deeper understanding of our home-grown authors. In this year's edition, Utter 2017: SingLit Unearthed, we highlight the remarkable poetry and stories of four highly-distinguished writers—JM Sali, Gregory Nalpon, Tan Swie Hian, and former deputy prime minister S. Rajaratnam. They have been adapted with nuance and sensitivity by veterans K. Rajagopal and Lee Thean-jeen into live-action short films, and with boundless imagination by Henry and Harry Zhuang, and Jerrold Chong into animation shorts, respectively.


Utter 2017 celebrates Singapore writers published before 1986. Come hear from the writers, directors and producers on the joys and challenges of adapting SingLit.  




Standard: $10
Singapore Writers Festival passholders and Singapore Film Society members: $8


Friday 29 September, 7.30pm – Golden Village, Suntec City
*Post-screening dialogue with K. Rajagopal, Lee Thean-jeen, Henry & Harry Zhuang and Jerrold Chong

Saturday 30 September, 7.30pm – Golden Village, Suntec City
*Post-screening dialogue with K. Rajagopal, Henry & Harry Zhuang and Jerrold Chong




Adapted from the book by J.M. Sali

Written and directed by K. Rajagopal

Cast: Viknesh Jaivant N, Zee Wong, Dhivyah Raveen


Synopsis: This is a love story about an Indian man who meets and falls in love with a Chinese woman in Singapore by chance, but she discovers that he is actually married back home in India. Told from the perspective of the writer—who is played by more than one actor, and who also plays the character—the film blurs the lines between roles, reality, time and space. The words and text of the writer also interplay with the sound of silence and the actions of the actors and characters. 




Adapted from the short story by Gregory Nalpon

From the book “The Wayang at Eight Milestones” edited by Angus Whitehead

Published by Epigram Books


Written and directed by Lee Thean-jeen

Cast: Jae Liew, Brian Ng, Karen Tan, Catherine Sng, Zemily Leaw.


Synopsis: When Margaret, a kindergarten teacher, admonishes her six-year-old student, Ee Leng, for bringing a dog to school one morning, she is shocked to find a death threat on her desk at recess time. This sets off a chain of incidents that spirals into tragedy in a surreal meditation on the pressures of living in a contemporary urban society and the impact they have on both the young and the elderly. 




Adapted from the short story by S. Rajaratnam

From the book “The Short Stories and Radio Plays of S. Rajaratnam” edited by Irene Ng

Published by Epigram Books


Directed by Jerrold Chong

Written by Jerrold Chong and Jia Lee

Voice Talents: Sivakumar Palakrishnan, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai


Synopsis: A husband and wife grapple with the tragic death of their firstborn as they await the arrival of their second. Their recollections reveal a dark, repressed history within the shared space they call home. Adapted from S. Rajaratnam's short story of the same name, “What Has to Be” explores the dysfunctional relationship between two grieving parents as they confront the inevitable truth of their unborn child.




Adapted from Tan Swie Hian’s poetry

Directed by Henry & Harry Zhuang


Synopsis: A school of fishes is washed up on a barren island. While the other fishes choose to swim back to the sea, one redfish decides to venture deeper into the barren island.