2014 Film Festival Programme – Sunday 19th October 2014 @ 11:00
The Hive
World Premiere
2014, Canada, 13 min 23 sec
Director: Stephen Chen
Two men communicate their desires publicly yet silently when they are interrupted by a third. An anagram of “napkins”, SPANKIN transposes the gay hanky code of the 70s onto contemporary coffee culture. While humorous in content, SPANKIN elucidates the real racial relations in LGBT communities.
Inspired by the criminalisation of homosexual behaviour in Russia, India, Nigeria, and Uganda in 2013, SPANKIN revives the handkerchief code formulated during a similar period of suppression in North America to remind audiences of the never-ending struggle, the poignancy of connection and secrecy amidst repression, and semiotic slide of symbols.
Director Bio
Stephen Chen is a multi-disciplinary artist, having been an avant-garde concert pianist, fine-art photographer, filmmaker, performance artist, poet, composer and opera singer. Despite studying film and photography in Singapore, his focus shifted to more immediate performance forms due to discomfort with the collusion of media and the fascist regime.
After fleeing and settling in Canada, Stephen’s interest in the social and political potential of visual media was revived when John Greyson created the role of St. Caesura in FIG TREES (2009) for him. Stephen’s work is often allegorical, integrates social concerns with pedagogy, and hybridizes forms to make them expressive. Central to his work are institutional structures of thought, and Man’s relationship with his surroundings – be it environment, cities, people, or objects.