Tribal SG pushes into the documentary space with Michelin-star chef André Chiang

Creative agency Tribal Worldwide Singapore has launched its first feature documentary and theatrical release, “André & his olive tree”. Co-produced with Singapore-based production house, AMOK, the film will premiere in Taiwan today, followed by screenings at 47 domestic theatres. Taiwan holds a special meaning for the chef as his birthplace and home to his latest restaurant RAW.

Seen through the lens of Michelin-starred chef André Chiang, the 104-minute film follows the culinary superstar as he returns his coveted accolades and closes the doors to his beloved eponymous restaurant in Singapore for the last time. The film is said to incorporate the chef’s octaphilosophy and shine the spotlight on Chiang as a chef, artist, boss, and husband to Sudarampai ‘Pam’ Chiang, who had an equally strong presence at restaurant André. In a statement to Marketing, the spokesperson said that although the agency did not set out to do a documentary film initially, as it developed the story, key events such as the last day of operation and Chef Andre's relocation happened and it felt right to bring these moments "live" to people around the world.

As an agency, we have always been adventurous in the way we tell stories and we are continuously experimenting with different formats to tell authentic stories.

In the press statement, Tribal Worldwide mentioned that its producers were already in talks with major industry players to screen or distribute the film in several regions. The spokesperson also told Marketing that the agency was currently in negotiations with several distributors about releasing in Singapore theatres commercially, adding that in September, the film would be shown in Texas and Iceland as part of the San Antonio film festival and Reykjavík international film festival (Official Selection). It was also explained that the marketing efforts to promote the documentary included media previews and screening slots with meet-the-chef opportunities in Taiwan to hear more about the filmmaking process and Chef André’s story. 

The film’s Singaporean director Josiah Ng also takes the role of head of film and social content at DDB Group Singapore. Through this film, he hopes to portray a raw and emotional moment of an iconic personality in the culinary world searching for purpose and chasing perfection. “This film, which was two years in the making, is an important one because it challenges our obsession with results and perfection. It also brings us back to a place where we realise what truly matters – our family, our home, our roots,” said Ng.

Jeff Cheong, deputy CEO of DDB Group Singapore and the film’s executive producer said the agency loved telling stories. He added that over the last two years, Tribal Worldwide had become more adventurous in various storytelling formats from telemovies to 40-episode drama series and producing short films with student filmmakers. “We want to continue to create stories that draw people in and are glad to announce that we’re embarking on two more film projects," Cheong explained. Meanwhile, Yeh Yilan, a food and travel writer said the film was not just about chef André, but also a depiction of young chefs who had fire, enthusiasm, and passion hidden in their eyes, actions and tears.

Separately, recently, Tribal Worldwide got appointed by Singapore's JTC Corporation to strategise and implement customer experience strategy that would transform JTC's digital presence, and provide a frictionless end-to-end customer experience for the government agency.

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