Producer hopes to inspire with 5-part Web series on special forces selection

6 days ago 38

SINGAPORE - About 120 candidates showed up at the Special Forces Leadership School at Pasir Ris Camp in 2019 to take part in a gruelling two-week selection exercise.

Only a few of them passed the battery of tests for the Joint Special Forces Selection (JSFS), and even fewer will emerge as an elite special forces trooper after the eight-month Special Forces Qualification Course.

And for the first time, a camera crew was allowed to film the JSFS for a five-part Web video series titled Uncommon Grit.

The first episode was released on April 28, and new episodes will be released every Thursday on the Ministry of Defence's Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages.

Mr Mano Mahendran, 53, producer of the series, had been intrigued by the unit since he was a young recruit doing national service.

But he said the idea for a series about them came in 2009, when he first saw the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) up close during the annual multi-agency Exercise Northstar training exercise, which he was tasked to film.

"Up until then, I had only seen them from afar, so I wanted to get up close and know the real people behind their extraordinary capabilities and get answers to that perennial - why they do what they do."

Mr Mahendran, who also produced two 2018 web video series on strenuous training in the Naval Diving Unit and Guards military formation, admits the short time span made filming a challenge: "There were no rehearsals or do-overs and my team had to react and adapt quickly on the ground when things changed unexpectedly."

Asked about what he has learnt about the SOTF from the project, he said that he was struck by how humble yet quietly confident the soldiers were.

He added: "But at the same time you know that with a flick of a switch they will become the soldiers they have been trained to be."

The senior video content producer at So Drama! Entertainment also said: "They may be a small unit but it's about one soldier having the ability to do the job of a few - much like a force multiplier."

Mr Mahendran also described the bond between the soldiers to be "second to none".

"I think most im...

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