Member Hweiling Ow’s and Peter Haynes’ animation Cheng Beng has received funding from the Unreal Engine Real-Time Short Film Challenge! Unreal Engine selected the project, alongside another film project from Australia, out of a short list of six others.
Unreal Engine is a 3D computer graphics engine developed by Epic Games. It hosted its inaugural film challenge in 2020. As part of the challenge, applicants receive free online animation training with the software and create pitches for their shorts. Winners (two teams from NZ, four from AUS) then secure funding and the opportunity to showcase their projects to major studio content development executives.
While a great opportunity, the challenge is rigorous as the funded projects only have eight weeks to produce their finished shorts.
Hweiling (Incubator 2021), a producer, director and actor, teamed up with Peter Haynes, who spent lockdown mastering the Unreal Engine software. Fellow DEGANZ member Léah McVeagh is producing the project with executive producer Morgan Leigh Stewart.
Cheng Beng follows the efforts of a lonely man in the afterlife as he communicates with his family on Earth through the Taoist ritual of zhi-zha. While his family continuously offers him material goods, all he truly desires is a dog to keep him company. This film explores Chinese tradition and afterlife through the narrative and its use of animation to visually inform the world.
The team has just completed the film’s voiceovers, including Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and English.