The Last Artisan [Latent Image Productions] 2018
Premiering December 2018
Dismembered limbs. Topless mermaids. Crabs with human heads. These Chinese folklore-themed statues, in all their surreal, grotesque glory, are seared into the minds of visitors to Singapore’s Haw Par Villa. But no one knows them as well as Teo Veoh Seng. Decades ago, he started out as an apprentice at the park, which opened in the 1930s; now, at 83, Teo has finally decided to retire. Though his successors prepare for his departure, what will be lost when the master craftsman steps down?
Interspersing interviews with animation, this documentary weaves personal and national histories into a portrait of an unlikely Singapore hero. It sheds light on an artisan whose quiet dedication has preserved a uniquely charming slice of a city hounded by rapid urban developments.
Paul wrote original score for this alongside composer Al Lethbridge. The score features repurposed singing bowl recordings (beautifully played by Mark Beumer) as well as strings and classical guitar.