Saturday, August 21, 2021

Local Animators Shine At Singapore's National Day 2021

It is one of the stalwarts of Red Dot Island's National Day celebration for about 4 decades. Every year, a new National Day song will be written and performed. Some of the songs are quite forgettable, but there are few that never fail to stir the spirit of our island's people.

Dick Lee's “Home” is a number one favourite for most people. So is the straightforward, no holds barred rousing anthem like “We Are Singapore”, which was written by Canadian advertising guy Hugh Harrison, who was working for McCann Erickson during the 1980s.

This year's National Day song, composed by local singer-songwriter Linying and music producer Evan Low, is like a breath of fresh air. “The Road Ahead” sounds youthful. Even so, it was able to touch the hearts of all generations with its underlying message of hope and encouragement for an uncertain future. During a stubborn and invasive pandemic like this, “The Road Ahead” soothes the soul.

The accompanying music video for “The Road Ahead” is a joy to watch. Red Dot Diva has put it on repeat several times already! The video shows Red Dot Island's rising talents Linying, Sezairi Sezali, Shye-Anne Brown and Shabir Tabare Alam singing the ballad. Blended in these live actions scenes are amazing and colourful animation footage that evoke the feelings of nostalgia, hope and the spirit of unity.

The music video is a collaboration between Zhao Wei Films and indie animation studio Finding Pictures. And if you have not watched it yet, where have you been?

WATCH: “The Road Ahead” music video

Animation is such back-breaking work, so huge kudos to the animators at Finding Pictures involved in this special project. Red Dot Diva thought they put so much love into it. There were different animation styles used in the video, but yet, they all came together again at the end of the clip. The story-telling was visually dynamic, and the details nestled within were mind-blowing.

To take a peek at what went into the making of the video for “The Road Ahead”, take a look at this behind the scenes clip:

Wait. There is more. Two more original songs will be featured in this year's National Day Parade (NDP)! The NDP live performance segment did not happen on 9 August, the actual date of National Day. Due to Covid-19 safety restrictions, the NDP will happen on 21 August instead, when a higher percentage of the population has already been fully vaccinated.

Breathing City”, written by Sezairi and Charlie Lim, is a beautiful ode to our garden city, and a call for patience as we plant seeds which will bear fruits in the future. The lyric video directed by Zhuang Brothers, features a light-hearted, breezy series of animation by Weaving Clouds. Watching it makes Red Dot Diva feel happppyyyy.

The other original song is “Spirits Anew” by Aisyah Aziz and Rhaun. Art by Howie Kim and motion graphics by Chap Heng accompany the uplifting song in the lyric video that takes one on a dreamy fantastical journey.

Local film-maker Boo Junfeng (Apprentice) takes over the reins of this year's NDP, which is held live at The Float with about 600 performers on site. To help keep everyone safe, the performers have been fully vaccinated. Other performers will be on four other sites. In addition, the parade will also integrated pre-recorded segments, and for the first time, augmented reality and fully animated films will be featured!!

Local studio Robot Playground Media is the animator of the 14-minute film, which will take centrestage at this year's NDP. Robot Playground Media makes beautiful (and Red Dot Diva says, it is more like I-can-cry-gorgeous-beautiful) animation short films. Head to their social media websites, and you will see emotionally touching stories about family, friendship and empathy.

The animation studio has also collaborated with Malaysia company The R&D Studio and video-sharing platform Viddsee, to launch SPECTRUM - an anthology of 7 short animated films.

To get a taste of what's in store at NDP 2021, take a look at this teaser:

It just goes to show that there is pool of super talented animators and film makers here on the island that so many people are not aware of. Red Dot Diva is over the moon that they have the chance to shine, and shine brightly, at this year's National Day celebrations!

Here's to their continuing success for the wonderful work they do, as they make Red Dot Island stand proud in the field of animation.

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