Summerdaze began its life as a short film, just short of four minutes long, first released by Telescope Studios in collaboration with fashion house The Authority and Director Martin Hong.
It starred Singaporean actor Alfred Sng and Cambodian actor David Eung as two best friends falling in love against the epic natural beauty of Jeju island. The short film – a quiet, emotional experience – garnered over three million views on YouTube and Facebook and the demand for more inspired the producers to start a crowdfunding campaign for a full web series based on the film.
The producer and director of photography for Summerdaze, Jeremy Kieran Ng, mentioned in an interview with Ignite Media that the support for the short film surprised them, especially the kind of international support that it received from other South East Asian countries and the United States. Responding to the wide demands for more of the story, it was in 2020 that Telescope Studios decided to make Summerdaze into a web series, with the same cast and a story that would be totally different from the original, channeling a vibe that is closer to a fluffy love story inspired by popular Thai BL series.
This inspiration and the change in direction is clear from the crowdfunding trailer (https://youtu.be/b1BX103ZSHg) released in October of this year. The story is now of an actor who plays a queer character to redeem himself for a social media faux pas, and how he falls in love with his on-screen love interest. The trailer comes along with a link to an indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/summerdaze-the-series–2#/) with the aim of raising money to produce the series through crowdfunding. While the goal is quite high – 400,000 SGD, it is pretty much the only way a series like this can be made in a country where the chances of getting sponsorship for a BL series are little to none.
Singapore isn’t really the place that comes to mind when you think of BL. The country still has a very conservative stance about the LGBTQ+ community as is evident through the reticence of the authorities to remove section 377A (which will be familiar to any resident of a country previously colonised by the British) of the penal code which criminalises homosexual acts. Despite repeated efforts by local LGBTQ+ rights activists, the government has been firm on its stance not to repeal it. Besides this, there are active restrictions on the depiction of homosexuality in Singaporean media, all coming together to reflect a society where change, if it comes, will come slowly.
So far, the crowdfunding project has attained less than half of its required goal, but there are hopes that Telescope will be able to convince some sponsors to get onboard and make the series a reality. The most recent update from the producers shares a fun promotional video with the cast members and promises to deliver at least the first two episodes and hopefully this will get more sponsors on board.
Personally, I think the series has a lot of promise to be entertaining, the cast seems to be charming and intelligent and the team behind the series seems determined to make their work see the light of day, which is promising in itself. Beyond that, it cannot be denied that a series like Summerdaze is important. It represents a kind of resistance to the conservatism and homophobia that Singaporean society tends to reflect, an opportunity to question these colonial-era beliefs and definitely a great step forward for LGBTQ+ representation in Singaporean media.
☆ Krishna’s Sidenote-
We are sharing some interesting tidbits about the cast of this upcoming web series!
● David Eung as Evan
A child actor turns into a teenage heartthrob, always in the limelight. Evan is under the prestigious talent management company “Lumiere Entertainment.
● Alfred Sng as Kai
Kai is an aspiring actor. Talented, emotional and street-smart. He is under on the C-list talent agency “D’ Entertaiment”.
● Jon Louis as Lucas
Fourth year university student. Charming, serious, highly motivated. A perfect role model and a brotherly figure to Kian.
● Tasha Low as Leah
Child actress turned into teenage idol. Beautiful, free-spirited, and intelligent. Daughter of A-list celebrity couple. A childhood friend of Evan.
● Aimal Haikal as Summer
An up and coming makeup artist, who is a huge fan of Evan. Sassy, energetic, kind, koreaboo and optimistic about life.
● Paul Lee as Russell
A highly sought out Director after his debut film won awards overseas. Eccentric and artistic. Passionate about filmmaking.
● Patricia Mok as Aileen
She is the Manager/Model trainer/salesperson at D’Entertainment, a C-List talent agency. Exaggerative and hardworking. Uncouth but well-meaning. Out of touch with current trends but earnest about her job.
● Irene Ang as Caroline
She runs Lumiere Entertainment with an iron fist and manages top tier artists like Evan and Leah. Poised, fashionable and intimidating.
Keep watching this space as we bring you further updates about this Singaporean BL show!