The Projector

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The Projector's Redrum with its red and black upholstery. Photo from TheSmartLocal.

The Projector is a movie theatre located on the fifth floor of the Golden Mile Tower. It was one of the screening venues for the 2014 and 2015 Singapore International Film Festivals. The theatre curates and screens arthouse films. Described as “Singapore’s first alternative cinema”, The Projector strives to provide a different cinematic experience as compared to other commercial theatres.[1] As of October 2019, The Projector has 22.5k followers on Instagram and 30k followers on Facebook.[2][3]

History

Golden Mile Tower housed the Golden Theatre and presently, The Projector. Photo from FARM.SG.

Golden Theatre (1973 - 2014)

Before The Projector was established, the space at Golden Mile Tower was home to Golden Theatre, a S$20 million cinema project by Choy Gay Theatres.[4] Opened to the public in 1973, Golden Theatre was heralded as the largest cinema in Singapore and Malaysia with a seating capacity of 1,500 seats in its only hall.[5] During the 1970s and ‘80s, Golden Theatre was a popular haunt for Chinese films.[6]


Golden Theatre's crowd tapered off during the 1990s as movie-goers chose to visit the newer theatres in shopping malls. As a result, Golden Theatre was renovated to become a multiplex. Its large single hall was subdivided into smaller ones and its circle seats became Golden 1 and 2. During this time, the cinema screened ‘adult’ films before interests waned. Before it ceased operations, the Golden Theatre was showing Bollywood films. [7][8]

Background

The lift landing of Golden Mile Tower leading up to The Projector. Photo from FARM.SG.

The Projector was opened to the public in December 2014. In 2017, it was reported that The Projector is listed as a private limited company and did not receive aid from the government’s public arts grant.[9]

Founder

Karen Tan is the founder of The Projector. She is also the founder of Pocket Projects, a creative development consultancy and asset management company.[10][11] At Pocket Projects, Tan and her team aimed to transform old neighbourhoods into inclusive community-driven spaces by “breathing new life into some of the city’s iconic and forgotten buildings”.[12] The Projector was one of these said projects.[13]


When Tan was first introduced to the space in January 2014, it was in a state of disrepair. According to Tan, she did not intend to save independent cinema through The Projector. However, she did yearn to provide a platform for smaller indie films to reach out to its audience in Singapore.[14][15]

Renovations

The Projector's old cinema hall seats. Photo from Pocket Projects.

Pocket Projects collaborated with FARM, a cross-disciplinary practice, to redesign the old theatre interior and The Projector’s new brand image.[16] For example, the old flip-up chairs were repaired and reupholstered and the paint on the armrest was stripped back to reveal the original wood.[17]


Together with her sister, Sharon, a former urban planner with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), and Blaise Trigg-Smith, co-founder of Pocket Projects, Tan turned to Indiegogo for crowdfunding. The team needed additional donations for The Projector’s events space and two digital projectors.[18][19] Through crowdfunding, they raised S$77,500 in two months from more than 400 donors. The total donations surpassed the team’s target amount of S$65,000.[20][21] Moreover, through crowdfunding, the sisters gave the donors an emotional stake in the business.[22]

Launch

The Projector opened its doors in December 2014 as one of the five screening venues for the 2014 Singapore International Film Festival.[23] It was then officially relaunched in January 2015, with the tag-line: “Not your average cinema”.[24]


Initially, The Projector had the help of Luna Films to curate its film programme. Luna Films is a film consultancy known for programming a series of Japanese Film Festivals.[25] As of October 2019, The Projector independently curates its programmes to showcase indie films, foreign films, cult favourites, classics, arthouse films, horror films, local flicks, retrospectives and special themed nights.[26]

Facilities & services

The Projector's Blue Room with its blue and grey upholstery and blue lighting. Photo from TheSmartLocal.

Adopt-a-seat

The Projector tries to establish an emotional relationship between its patrons and the cinema through the “adopt-a-seat” initiative. By paying a S$120 fee, the donor can get their name or a short statement stencilled on a seat in The Projector’s cinema halls.[27]

Cinema halls[28][29]

The Projector consists of three rooms that function as both events spaces and cinema halls. The three rooms are named simply after colours that is echoed in each cinema hall's interior.


The Green Room is a single-screen classic cinema hall filled with 230 seats. It is the main screening hall for The Projector’s films. The Redrum has a seating capacity of 200 and features a stage. Its name pays homage to the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film ‘The Shining’. This cinema hall also functions as an events space. The Blue Room, with a capacity of 100 seats, functions as an events space for smaller intimate live events such as music gigs and comedy nights.

Intermission bar

The Intermission Bar serves food and beverages for patrons of The Projector. Described as a foyer cafe, the Bar also organised and hosted various events such as thematic film quiz night and music gigs.[30][31]

References / Citations

  1. Tan, Dylan. “Movie fans relive the classics at The Projector”. The Business Times. October 16, 2015. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  2. The Projector. Instagram. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/theprojectorsg/
  3. The Projector. Facebook. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/TheProjectorSG/
  4. “Another Golden Mile landmark”. The Straits Times. August 15, 1973. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  5. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  6. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  7. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  8. “About”. The Projector. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from theprojector.sg.
  9. Lui, John. “The Life interview with Karen Tan: Woman behind arthouse cinema, The Projector”. The Straits Times. March 6, 2017. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from straitstimes.com.
  10. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  11. "What We Do". Pocket Projects. Accessed on 11 October 2019. Retrieved from: https://pocket-projects.com/about/what-we-do/
  12. Yu, Geoffrey. “Interview with Karen Tan”. The Business Times. June 25, 2017. Accessed 13 September 2019. Retrieved from Pocket Projects.
  13. "The Projector, Singapore". Pocket Projects. Accessed on 11 October 2019. Retrieved from: https://pocket-projects.com/projects/the-projector-singapore/
  14. Yu, Geoffrey. “Interview with Karen Tan”. The Business Times. June 25, 2017. Accessed 13 September 2019. Retrieved from Pocket Projects.
  15. Lui, John. “The Life interview with Karen Tan: Woman behind arthouse cinema, The Projector”. The Straits Times. March 6, 2017. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from straitstimes.com.
  16. FARM Projects - The Projector”. FARM. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from farm.sg.
  17. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  18. Loi, Rachel. “Golden Theatre goes indie”. The Business Times. November 7, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  19. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  20. Lui, John. “The show goes on”. The Straits Times. August 19, 2015. Accessed 13 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  21. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  22. Lui, John. “The Life interview with Karen Tan: Woman behind arthouse cinema, The Projector”. The Straits Times. March 6, 2017. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from straitstimes.com.
  23. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  24. “About”. The Projector. Accessed 13 September 2019. Retrieved from Facebook.
  25. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  26. “About”. The Projector. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from theprojector.sg.
  27. The Projector. “Adopt A Seat”. Facebook. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from Facebook.
  28. “About”. The Projector. Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from theprojector.sg.
  29. Lui, John. “Rebirth of Golden Cinema”. The Straits Times. November 6, 2014. Accessed 12 September 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  30. “About”. The Projector. Accessed 13 September 2019. Retrieved from Facebook.
  31. "Intermission Bar - at The Projector". Accessed 10 October 2019. Retrieved from Facebook.