If you recently saw a short film screened before your usual blockbuster at a Golden Village cinema that very likely brought you to the verge of tears, it might be Chiak. The eight-minute story tells of a son’s struggle with his father’s dementia, as they take steps towards emotional recovery.

First-time filmmaker Joshuah Lim decided to participate in the GV25 Film Shorts Competition alongside two other teammates on a whim, despite their lack of experience or funding – but their end product has clearly captivated hearts. Chiak not only clinched the winning title, but also serves as a reminder for everyone that there’s hope even in the darkest of times. A cancer survivor himself, Joshuah’s personal journey motivated him and his team to depict an accurate portrayal of battling illnesses.

Ahead, the 22-year-old delves further on how he turned his pain into positivity.

Congratulations on winning the GV25 Film Shorts Competition! How was the entire experience like for you?
Thank you! I think it was an amazing experience with lots of ups and downs, but a great opportunity that Golden Village presented all of us aspiring filmmakers with. This experience really allowed me to discover more about myself, especially in the medium of filmmaking.

What was your reaction upon knowing that you had won?
As we had no prior experience in filmmaking, we did make some elementary mistakes as a result. I was really shocked as I honestly didn’t expect to win – this was the first short film I’ve ever directed, and also considering that the works of the other finalists were really good as well. Overall, I feel really honoured to have won the competition, and it’s a dream to have my very own film screened in the theatres!

How did you first come to discover your passion for filmmaking?
From the moment I started watching movies! I’ve always enjoyed the idea of purposeful storytelling, and personally, film is a great medium to tell a story.

What inspired you to participate in the competition?
When I was undergoing treatment for leukaemia last year, I had a new perspective of life and felt so inspired to live to the fullest. Shortly after my bone marrow transplant, my teammate Alvin approached me regarding this fantastic opportunity, and we just decided to go for it!

Moonmen (L to R- Joshuah, Wesley, Alvin)

How did your team come up with the idea behind your short film Chiak?
We really wanted to do something that would touch the hearts of the audience and drive home a meaningful message. Alvin and I both have relatives who suffer from dementia – we could see the struggle they go through on a day-to-day basis, and how time to them seems fluid. With that, we decided to go with the idea and the rest is history.

Having experienced your own battles with a disease yourself, how did that influence the story behind Chiak?
I could definitely relate to it on a more personal level as I was able to see the similarities of the struggles between the family, and myself faced in a situation like this. I guess you could say I was able to catch a heartbeat for this film too.

What do you hope people will take away with them after watching Chiak?
I hope people will be encouraged to separate the disease from the person, and to remember that our love for the patient should be the foundation of all the care we give when things get difficult.

What motivated you to fight through your health battles and pursue this passion project?
I went through a spiritual revival whilst battling cancer. I came to terms with who I am, and I realised the need to live a purpose-driven life. I am very thankful to God, my family and friends for the support and love they have provided me with. That was what kept me going, and gave me the strength to strive on and take delight in my work.

What is your ultimate dream goal you hope to achieve in the future?
I want to change lives. I hope to leave a legacy that inspires people to be contented with themselves in this fast-paced world.

What’s a piece of advice you would like to share with readers who are also struggling with their personal health battles?
Take your time to process what is happening. Allow yourself to feel everything, but at the same time never lose hope. Find joy in the little things, because laughter goes a long way. Most importantly, do not let a disease or a bad health situation define you, or take charge of your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Continue pursuing your dreams and live fearlessly.

This article was adapted from Vol.30 Issue 1 issue of Teenage.

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