Tropical Talent


By Rigche Ma

Asian Fusion boldly traveled to the near-end of the civilized world (because civilization ends when the subway does), to 77th Street, Brooklyn, to investigate rumors of an underrated actor. On the set of the film, “Underpaid Narrator”, and amidst a very friendly production crew – which reminded us, somewhat, of a utopian Benetton advertisement come to life for its colors – we track down the element creating a stir right here in New York City, the recognized capital of the world.

Kiat-Sing Teo hails from the tropical town of Singapore, a small republic in Southeast Asia, about 8,300 miles away. She’s tiny like her home country, but boy, can she roar! It was in the script, of course – it’s her party and whom she thought was a good friend – played by Benjamin Holbrook (who also directed this docu-comedy) – was smoking something and causing eerie havoc with a Oujia board, fist fights, screams and shivers (that’s all we’ll give away). Needless to say, there are big plans for the film. But suffice it to say, this will be seen in the festival circuits (like many of her other films). Such as the famed “Basket Bronx” (directed by the remarkable Rosete Brothers, who claim more than 100 awards in film festivals worldwide, and whose works can be seen in more than 90 countries). Shot entirely in Brooklyn, Basket Bronx was released by Canal + Spain, selected for more than 60 festivals and won over 20 international awards within the first nine months of distribution. In this piece, Kiat-Sing stars as one of the leads and only female character, a mystical girl with mysterious martial arts skills. Lately, another of her shorts, “Priceless Things” was accepted and will premier in the prestigious Aspen Shortfest (recognized as one of the world’s “50 Leading Film Festivals” by IndieWIRE) and the Boston International Film Festival.

One is almost fooled because Kiat-Sing appears cute as a button, like any lead in a K-pop group, complete with the indis- pensable Dolly Wink extended eyelashes. However, observe her perfect control in front of the camera, holding you spellbound by the maturity of her craft and weight of her experience, you might suspect she is a force to be reckoned with. Quite spot on. Her face might already be etched subliminally into your subconscious, if you are into Def Jam Rapstar and constantly exposed to the morphing Harajuku face on the menu page. Or, you might have seen her hosting an episode or two of the Daytime Emmy-nominated “Gourmet Diary of a Foodie” on PBS.

This tough cookie has been in dramas, sit-coms and tele-movies that have been aired on almost all the major channels of her country – where she is remembered, among many things, for her leading role as a runaway in the drama Crunch Time, (and this drama is remem- bered for beating the ratings of the rival televi- sion station – though the stations have since made peace and merged). Prolific, she has also graced the big screen and her other works have played in Malaysia, India, Portugal, France, Italy and the United States.

But enough already! Before we get completely intimidated by her credits and cred- ibility, we snap back on the set of Underpaid Narrator:

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