Saturday 17 October 2020

Amos Yee's surprisingly wholesome first claim to fame: Winning a New Paper short film contest at 13 that led to role in Jack Neo movie

So Amos Yee is back in the news again.

Amos Yee had allegedly exchanged nude photos and "thousands" of messages with a 14-year-old Texas girl while he was in Chicago.

Posted by The Straits Times on Friday, October 16, 2020

It seems like we have been hearing about the damn kid forever.

Actually, not forever. You probably first heard about him in 2015 when his video rant against Lee Kuan Yew went viral soon after LKY's death.

But that wasn't the first time Amos made the news.

In 2011 when he was 13, he won Best Short Film and Best Actor for his film titled Jan in The New Paper FiRST Film Fest.

Amos Yee could not find anyone to act in his three-minute short film.

So he played all four roles in Jan, which tells of a boy trying to get three friends to help save a girl diagnosed with cancer.

The 13-year-old said: “I couldn’t find any actors who were willing to help me and I thought a one-man job would impress the judges.”

And impress them he did: He won the Best Actor prize as well as the Best Short Film award at the inaugural The New Paper FiRST Film Fest (FFF) on Thursday night.

The Best Short Film prize came with a trophy and $5,000 worth of prizes from Sony.

Yee not only acted in the film, but he also wrote, directed and edited the short, which was shot in his bedroom over a few nights.

Not bad for someone with no previous film-making experience.

Speaking to Life! after the awards ceremony at Mandopop club Shanghai Dolly, the student from Zhonghua Secondary said he has been bitten by the directing bug.

“Right now, I’m going to make more videos and put them on YouTube and hopefully, continue making films,” said Yee, who plans to emulate the cinematic styles of his favourite directors Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg.

The judges for the competition, which drew 160 entries, were directors Jack Neo and Wee Li Lin, head of film distribution and programming for Golden Village Pictures Maria Lorenzo, TNP film critic Jason Johnson and co-founder of Sinema Old School Nicholas Chee.

Jack Neo was one of the judges of the film fest. This led to Amos being in Neo's 2012 movie We Not Naughty.

At the time, the precocious teen appeared to have a promising career as a child actor.

Three years later, all that would change as Amos Yee became the Amos Yee we know today.