Stories > Celluloid Connections
A repository of culture glowing from the fifth floor of the dimly lit Golden Mile Tower, arthouse cinema The Projector screens indie films from around the world.
BY CARA YAP
PHOTO THE STRAITS TIMES/SPH
he dull concrete, Brutalist architecture of Golden Mile Tower may appear to be foreboding, but what’s to be found within is anything but dismal. Occupying its fifth floor is the country’s only independent arthouse cinema, The Projector, which opened in 2014 following a successful crowdfunding mission. Its Singaporean founder, Karen Tan, aimed to improve the cultural landscape by breathing new life into some of the city’s forgotten buildings – the weathered 1970s Golden Mile Tower was an obvious choice.
“It looked like it had so much potential. So my business partners and I decided to set out to re-invite people back to this once-popular space that had been forgotten,” said Tan in an earlier interview.
While its retro-style interior is scented with nostalgia, the cinema’s two formerly abandoned halls – with a combined seating capacity of 430 – are reserved for forward-thinking foreign and local films across genres. From award-winning Iranian dramedy Taxi Tehran to local filmmaker Boo Junfeng’s The Apprentice, and a showcase of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s works, the features unspooled here represent a diversity of cultures and ideas.
These provoke both local and foreign audiences to view the world through different lenses. For instance, Taxi Tehran is a window to the lives of ordinary people living in a region not understood by many.
The Projector’s regularly held panel and Q&A sessions with directors also facilitate cross-cultural dialogue. During its Mexican Film Festival, for instance, director Patricia Martinez de Velasco was present at a panel discussion on gender equality in the Latin American and Asian film industries. The Projector has also held screenings for the Singapore International Film Festival.
Post-screening, punters can head to two bars, which host live musical performances, to discuss Wes Anderson over wine. The venue is also home to a co-working space, where creatives can incubate new ideas for, say, the next Sundance Film Festival darling.