Unsung Voices 2 – “Sing Our ‘What Ifs’ Out Loud” by Betty Xie

dir. Betty Xie
Part of Shorts Presentation: Unsung Voices 2 screening at Reel Asian on Wed Nov 6







what if we make a short in which there is only one scene. Two girls meet in a cafe, and just talk. “
“who are the two girls?”
“they come from different cultural backgrounds, but they don’t fit the stereotypes.”
“So they come to tear down the facades of each other? ”
“—and the facades of cultural stereotype itself.”

The conversation above took place between my roommate Claudia during last summer in our living room. It was one of those hot afternoons that were apt for enjoying a cup of coffee and crafting some creative bubbles, purely for the sake of intellectual pleasure.

Little did we know that a year later, this idea came into being through Reel Asian’s Unsung Voices Summer Video Production Workshop. With the support of the workshop and the guidance from the two mentors, Aram Collier and Tony Lau, I wrote, directed and edited a ten minute short about two girls meeting up in a cafe to uncover a case of mistaken infidelity. Claudia, having supported the development of my story every step of the way, performs the role of one of the female protagonists.

Much could be highlighted from the process–the exciting opportunity to learn about screenwriting, cinematography and editing, the phenomenal teamwork pulled off by the Unsung Voices cohort and my talented friends, the intense experience of working under tight shooting schedule etc. All in all, however, fundamental to my understanding and appreciation towards the workshop is its daring faith in creative vision. In less than two months, I have witnessed how a single idea of mine blossomed into a full-fledged production. For youths who aspire to become filmmakers and yet bear uncertainty toward their own creative capacity, there is nothing more important than a platform that believes their seemingly dismissible “what ifs”

I cannot wait to see the six short films made by my Unsung Voices fellows during the Reel Asian Film Festival in the coming November, and I look forward to hearing the many ideas—the dramatic, funny, offbeat or experiment “what ifs” –that future Unsung Voices workshop will nurture.