TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding



Siyou Tan


Choo (16), a dropout, returns to her elite all-girls Chinese school. Her little rebellions against tyrannical teachers attract the admiration of three other misfits. She’s drawn to them too and confides about the ghost in her room. The new friends’ idea: using Sofia’s camcorder to evidence the ghost.
On a field trip, they meet an unlikely kindred spirit – a disobedient Old Man. Inspired by his stories about the triads that ruled the streets of colonial Singapore and defied the authorities openly, they decide to form a gang. But how do you form a gang in modern Singapore, where even chewing gum is illegal?
As they take over school corridors and city streets with their gang activities, buried national histories start to surface in unexpected ways. The four also uncover hidden dreams for future selves that deviate from the expected path.
But after the teachers discover the camcorder and the girls are accused of being real gangsters, the four are separated and closely monitored. As the exams get closer, unspoken rules around social class and status threaten to tear them apart. Choo feels isolated in her refusal to conform to the pressures of a system obsessed with creating obedient citizens. But she fights back. After the exams, Choo gathers the gang for one last fantastical hurrah.


This film started from a desire to investigate a story I told myself as a teen – that I was an amoeba. I was closeted and felt shut out from a society that prized conformism above all. The amoeba’s simplicity represented my denial of all the parts of myself that I had to bury, in order to fit into the structure around me.
Amoeba is my way of coping with the loss that came with the burial of my identity in teenhood. As part of a generation that grew up in a young country that replaced its history with a manufactured narrative, I want to explore how we can create our own stories to counter the narratives imposed upon us. Both as citizens of a small nation, and as individuals in intimate friend groups.
I see the film as a dark absurdist comedy, mostly with tight, fixed framing to evoke uneasy amusement. I’m planning to work with non-professionals as I’m interested in their identity formation as they “become” the girls of Amoeba, a process that involves a form of posturing. Because the act of becoming, and being, is deeply intertwined with the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves.

In a repressive city-state, four classmates at an all-girls school rebel by forming a triad gang.
Siyou Tan

Film Director, Scriptwriter

production notes

produced byAkanga Film Asia
35 Kelantan Lane #02-02
208652, Singapore

total production budget
€ 620,000.00