Distance / Kong Jian

A lone middle-aged woman grapples with grief and a new chapter in life after her mother passes away. While trying to sell her family home, her mother's spirit comes back to ensure everything remains the same. Set amidst the constantly reconstructing landscape of Singapore, 'Distance' explores the intricate ties that bind us to people and spaces.

  • Grace Swee
    Director
  • Grace Swee
    Writer
  • Apoorva Charan
    Producer
  • Chia Choo Sian
    Key Cast
    "Eileen"
  • Loh Heng Joo
    Key Cast
    "Ma"
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    空间
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Mystical Realism
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 7 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 15, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Singapore
  • Country of Filming:
    Singapore
  • Language:
    English, Other
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Columbia University
  • Singapore International Film Festival 2018
    Singapore
    Singapore
    December 3, 2018
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • 39th Film School Fest Munich
    Munich
    Germany
    November 23, 2019
    German Premiere
    Special Mention
  • Film Pipeline
    Los Angeles
    United States
    December 10, 2020
    Winner of Best Short Film
  • 26th Women Makes Waves International Film Festival

    Taiwan
    July 4, 2021
Director Biography - Grace Swee

Grace Swee is a Singaporean filmmaker, based in New York. Her shorts have screened at various international film festivals. Her most recent short, ‘空间 Distance’, received a Special Mention at the 39th Film School Fest Munich. In 2018, her project was selected for the South-East Asian Film Lab, led by regional mentors to develop as a first feature.

Grace is a film graduate from Columbia University, School of The Arts. She enjoys telling stories of different genres, expounding on family relations, deep character studies, with a touch of magical realism.

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Director Statement

In this film, I explored the responsibilities women, place on themselves. They take on caregiver roles and struggle with self-actualization in the midst of societal and familial expectations.

For women, family plays an especially important role in determining how their identities are formed and how they live their lives.

I am interested in telling stories about complex family relationships. In the summer of 2017, I interviewed a few women in Singapore who took upon themselves to be the main caregiver to their ailing parents. They were usually unmarried and/or the eldest in the family. Through speaking with them, I found that the main reasons were filial piety and duty. As much as love is present, there is also a sense of 'bearing the burden', which they obligingly submitted themselves to.

'Distance 空间' was written from that space of love and hate, of wanting intimacy yet feeling trapped. That very fragile thing called – family.