(Singapore, 5 March 2018): Raffles Hotel Singapore is pleased to announce the release of ‘We Were Built’, a short film directed by Singaporean award-winning film-maker and director, Kirsten Tan.  The moving and emotive short film draws inspiration from a close reading of the history of Raffles Hotel Singapore, with a focus on its close bond to the history of Singapore and its proud literary heritage. The film’s title comes from a poem of the same name, specially commissioned by the hotel and penned by writer-poet Amanda Lee Koe, Singapore’s youngest Literature Prize Winner.

Kirsten Tan is a highly regarded home-grown filmmaker, collecting over fifteen international awards, with her works showcased at over 60 international film festivals. In 2017, she became the first Singaporean to have her debut feature film compete at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival; it subsequently won the Special Jury Award for Screenwriting. She was honoured with the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council, the highest accolade for artistic achievement for young art practitioners in Singapore.

 ‘We Were Built’ was conceptualized through Kirsten’s personal and close interaction with the hotel which she experienced during her stay at Raffles Hotel Singapore. Speaking on her experience at the hotel, Kirsten said, “The moment I stepped in, its distinctive quality is inescapable: you feel like you’ve been transported to a different time altogether. Corinthian pillars, a tinkling piano, dark wood patios, a scented pillow. I wanted to capture that aura of lyrical timelessness, that sumptuous pause that counteracts the hectic fever of modern life.”

“Like many Singaporeans, I’ve felt special reverence for Raffles Hotel through the years: a magical oasis in the heart of Singapore. I’ve always been particularly moved by the proud literary history of the Raffles – it hosted and inspired world-famous writers from Somerset Maugham to Rudyard Kipling. This film is an ode to these writers, to Time, to Raffles’ exquisite affiliations with these great minds through the 130 years of its existence. Raffles Hotel is a landmark and a constant, quietly and proudly bearing witness to our shared histories and futures. It was imperative for me to illustrate how she stands silent, strong and storied – as elegant, eternal and essential as Time itself,” said Kirsten on her inspiration of the film. “We’re also deeply honoured to have legendary Chinese American movie star, Lisa Lu, who performed in acclaimed titles like The Last Emperor and The Joy Luck Club, make a special appearance in our film,” she added.

Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Hotel Singapore, said, “The film perfectly captures the hotel’s storied history, and offers viewers a glimpse into what it means to be a guest at Raffles Hotel Singapore. We would like to invite the public to view this short film and accompany us, as we journey through time, and discover the story of how a national icon came to be.  This story of Raffles Hotel Singapore continues to be told, while we anticipate the beginning of its next chapter, when the newly restored icon is unveiled later this year.”

‘We Were Built’ can be viewed here.

Raffles Hotel Singapore is currently in its third and final phase of its restoration, which sees the full closure of the hotel before its planned reopening in the second half of 2018. During the closure of the hotel, signature Raffles experiences will be showcased at 3 Seah Street and will remain open throughout the restoration. These include Singapore Sling that will be served at a cosy 15-seater Long Bar Pop-Up as well as souvenirs and mementoes that will be available at the temporary Raffles Gift Shop.


About Raffles Hotel Singapore: Opened in 1887, Raffles Hotel Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world. Till today, its architecture is perfectly preserved both inside and out, giving it an intoxicating blend of luxury, history and classic colonial design. Within its walls are more than a hundred expansive suites, framed by polished teak verandas and white marble colonnades, clustered around lush tropical gardens.  Each is serviced by the legendary Raffles butlers and offers every modern convenience necessary.

Raffles Hotel Singapore is currently undergoing a careful and sensitive restoration that is being carried out in three phases. The hotel is now fully closed with a grand reopening planned in the second half of 2018. The Raffles Gift Shop continues to be in operation at its temporary location on 3 Seah Street, around the corner from the hotel.

The restoration of Raffles Hotel Singapore is designed to ensure that we retain what is so special about Raffles – the ambience, the service, the charm and the heritage of the hotel. It is also designed for Raffles Singapore to stay relevant and distinctive by moving with the times and with its guests and adapting to the changing needs of the well-travelled and Singapore’s community. For more information on our restoration, please visit www.rafflessingapore.com

About Raffles Hotels & Resorts: Raffles Hotels & Resorts boasts an illustrious history and some of the most prestigious hotel addresses worldwide.  In 1887, Raffles Singapore set the standard for luxury hospitality, introducing the world to private butlers, the Singapore Sling and its enduring, legendary service.  Today, Raffles continues this tradition in leading cities and lavish resort locales, enchanting travellers with meaningful experiences and service that is both gracious and intuitive. Connoisseurs of life choose Raffles, not merely for its aura of culture, beauty and gentility, but for the extraordinary way they feel when in residence with Raffles. Each Raffles, be it Paris, Istanbul, Warsaw, Jakarta or the Seychelles, serves as a venerated oasis where travellers arrive as guests, leave as friends and return as family. Raffles is part of AccorHotels, a world-leading travel and lifestyle group which invites travellers to feel welcome at more than 4,200 hotels, resorts and residences, along with some 10,000 of the finest private homes around the globe.

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