Kelvin Tong

Kelvin Tong Weng Kian (Simplified Chinese: 唐永健) is a Singaporean film director, screenwriter and producer.


Kelvin's passion for theatre and filmmaking began in his secondary school days in Victoria School.[1] He went on to study at Victoria Junior College and law at the National University of Singapore. After a short nine-month stint with law firm, Drew & Napier, following his graduation from law school, Kelvin started out in the film business as a film critic, writing reviews for The Straits Times from 1995 to 1999.[2][3] He made a short film, Moveable Feast, in 1996 with Sandi Tan and Jasmine Ng Kin Kia.[4] His first feature, co-directed with Jasmine Ng Kin Kia,[5] is “a motorcycle kung-fu love story”, titled Eating Air, which was received respectably.[3]

His next film, The Maid, a horror thriller, made a bigger impact, breaking the box office record in Singapore for the horror genre, making S$700,000 on its opening weekend. Hailed as the first Singaporean horror film, The Maid won the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation Asian Film Award at the 10th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. It was produced by MediaCorp Raintree Pictures.

He next directed Love Story, which combined three short stories that examined different aspects of love. It was screened at the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival.[6] The film was produced by Hong Kong-based Focus Films.

In 2007, he directed the horror-comedy Men in White, about four ghosts struggling to survive in Singapore, and which examined the Singaporean obsession with superstitions.[6] It was produced by Innoform Media.

In 2008, he directed the crime thriller, Rule No. 1, produced by Hong Kong-based Fortune Star. He also plans to direct a film called Bed, a comedy drama set in 1960s Singapore when the city-state's education system switched from Chinese language to English.[3]

Tong says his influences range "from Lars von Trier to Stephen Chow".[3]

With his brother, producer Leon Tong, Kelvin has his own production company, Boku Films, enabling him to independently develop his film projects.[2][3]

In a 2007 interview, Kelvin Tong said he is still learning his craft: "It is one thing to talk about films as a journalist, but it is fascinating that many of the decisions that make a difference between a good and a bad film are made in front of a monitor, often in a fraction of a second."[3]

In 2014, Tong became the first Singaporean director to helm a Hollywood film when he started shooting The Faith of Anna Waters (2016), a horror film starring Elizabeth Rice, Matthew Settle and Adrian Pang.[7][8] He also shot a short film as part of the 7 Letters omnibus to celebrate Singapore's 50th anniversary in 2015.[9]



In June 2010, Tong was part of a group of Singapore filmmakers to protest the Asian Film Archive's head Tan Bee Thiam's supposed conflict of interest. Their letter led to Tan's resignation as executive director in September.[10]


  1. Defying Definition – book profile from the WritersNet books and publications directory
  2. 1 2 Bed, Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum; retrieved 26 November 2007
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kelvin Tong remains hard to predict, Patrick Frater, Variety; retrieved 26 November 2007
  4. ""Moveable Feast" in Yamagata International Film Festival catalogue". External link in |website= (help)
  5. Elley, Derek. "Review: 'Eating Air', in competition Rotterdam International Film Festival Young Tiger Awards". Retrieved 26 November 2007. External link in |website= (help)
  6. 1 2 Kelvin Tong's new film to touch on superstitious side of S'pore society, Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia, 16 October 2006; retrieved 26 November 2007
  7. Loh, Genevieve Sarah (2 September 2014). "Hollywood horror flick to be shot in Singapore by Kelvin Tong". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  8. Yip, Wai Yee (22 September 2014). "Director Kelvin Tong's Hollywood horror film will showcase taste of Singapore". Singapore Press Holdings. The Straits Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  9. Chan, Boon (21 August 2014). "7 directors, one film for Singapore's 50th". Singapore Press Holdings. The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  10. Frater, Patrick. "Filmmaker protest movement leads to Tan's AFA departure". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 4 January 2016.

External links

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