Yeo Siew Hua, the Singaporean director whose “A Land Imagined” won the Locarno Film Festival’s top prize in 2018, has cast acclaimed Taiwanese actors Lee Kang-Sheng (“What Time Is It There?”, “Days”) and Wu Chien-Ho (“A Sun”) in his new “Stranger Eyes.”
The film, a thriller with domestic surveillance at its core, is currently shooting. It is set to wrap post-production by early 2024 and start a festival run thereafter. International sales are handled by France’s Playtime.
The Golden Horse-nominated Wu plays Darren, a struggling young father whose baby daughter has gone missing. When mysterious footage appears of his private and intimate life, Darren suspects that his neighbor Goh, a supermarket supervisor, is the voyeur linked to his daughter’s disappearance. Goh is portrayed by Lee, who is best-known for his three-decade-plus collaboration with Golden Lion-winning director Tsai Ming-liang. Increasingly frantic, Darren takes it upon himself to stalk Goh, meaning that the hunted becomes hunter.
“It’s about ways of seeing — each other, how we look at each other and how we perceive ourselves to be seen, as a voyeuristic thriller, as a surveillance thriller,” Yeo told Variety last year.
Other key cast include newcomers Anicca Panna and Xenia Tan, and veterans Vera Chen (“Boluomi”) and Pete Teo (“Barbarian Invasion”).
The film is structured as a Singapore-Taiwan-France-U.S. co-venture. It is produced by Fran Borgia for Singapore’s Akanga Film Asia (“A Land Imagined”, “Tiger Stripes”); Stefano Centini for Taiwan’s Volos Films (“Tomorrow Is a Long Time,” “The Settlers”); Jean-Laurent Csinidis for France’s Films de Force Majeure (”Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege,” “A Holy Family”); and Alex C. Lo for the U.S.-based Cinema Inutile (“Club Zero,” “The Settlers”).
“Stranger Eyes” is co-produced by Dan Koh (“A Land Imagined,” “I Dream of Singapore”), and its cinematographer is Hideho Urata (“Plan 75,” “Last Shadow at First Light”). The production designer is James Page (“Apprentice,” “A Land Imagined”). The editor is Jean-Christophe Bouzy (“Titane,” “Raw”).
The film has received the support of several international film funds and project markets. These include Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), France’s Aide aux Cinémas du monde (CNC), the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), as well as Purin Pictures (Thailand).
“Stranger Eyes” won the HAF Fiction Award at the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) in 2020, and participated at Talents Tokyo (receiving its Next Masters Support), Rotterdam’s CineMart, Busan’s Asian Project Market, Taipei’s Golden Horse Film Project Promotion and Venice Gap-Financing Market.
“We have been following Akanga Film Asia’s production slate for some time now and have always been impressed by the quality of their output. We are proud to be onboard ‘Stranger Eyes’ by Yeo Siew Hua. This is typically the type of crossover thriller that will be on the map for both A-list festivals and distributors around the world,” said Playtime CEO Nicolas Brigaud-Robert.
Borgia’s Akanga is a prolific and successful outfit. It is also behind Thai director Aditya Assarat’s “The Thonglor Kids”; Singaporean filmmaker Siyou Tan’s “Amoeba,” an exploration of Singapore’s societal and cultural expectations through the lens of a misfit in an all-girls’ school; and Ash Mayfair’s upcoming “Skin of Youth.”