Interview: Singapore filmmaker Ray Pang

I feel very fortunate whenever I receive recognition for the amount of work I’ve put in. It’s motivating to know that hard work pays off.

I’ve been rejected multiple times, made mistakes, and in many occasions, failed to impress.

Everyone has a passion, and because of how society is and the pressure to survive, may have to make sacrifices for their passion.

My biggest wish is that I can wake up every day doing what I love most and be proud of it.

Having my film Closer to Me as the only Singaporean candidate at the Louis Vuitton Journeys Awards 2012 makes me very proud. Although we’re a young nation, I believe we have the potential to be world class; our works have shown maturity.

I hope the sustainability of a filmmaker or an artist in Singapore improves. They usually need day jobs to support their passion for the arts. If we want to develop more talented individuals, we need to help them concentrate on what they do best and give them the freedom to practice their craft. Censorship restricts the full potential of creativity.

Filmmaking was the only thing I did that did not make me weary. I’ve always loved telling stories and became addicted to creating and making things happen on screen when I started working with film in my teenage days.

My favorite themes to shoot are faith and betrayal.

You never know what you will get until you try. This is a motto I live by every day.

To me, being able to balance health, work and the rest of my life is a measure of personal success. The other thing is being able to leave my comfort zone to do something.

When I need a break, I travel. I always find new inspiration when I’m traveling. My favorite city to escape to is Taipei—I love the food, beer and compassionate people.

Spending time with my family and dog works too—it helps to stop for a moment and appreciate how important life is. A simple experience such as this never fails to put a smile on my face.

If I could say something to my 18-year-old self, it’d be, “I know it’s hard to keep doing what you love but it’ll be worth it—you’ll be happy and may even be an inspiration to someone else.”

Before I die, I want to be a grandfather, travel the world with my family and attain international success.

Bullies and arrogant people make me angry.

If I could have lunch with anyone in the world, it would be with my all-time favorite film director Martin Scorsese.