The 25th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) unveiled the titles of 147 feature and short films from 50 countries, meticulously selected from over 1,000 entries received by the festival.
SGIFF, to be held from December 4 to 14, focuses on groundbreaking Asian cinema and discovering new film talents from Southeast Asia (SEA). SGIFF is known for its dynamic film programming and commitment to the development of a vibrant local film culture.
This section celebrates Singapore cinema, and the offering this year illustrates the festival’s commitment to growing the Singapore film community. It features a cross section of the local film community, from festival regulars Royston Tan and Kan Lume, to innovative filmmakers such as Lei Yuan Bin and Liao Jiekai.
Directors Rick Aw and Jason Lai will showcase their debut features – Standing in Still Water, and Ms J Contemplates Her Choice with singer and actress Kit Chan in her first lead role in a feature film.
Fans of the art rock, experimental and electronica band The Observatory can look forward to a documentary by Chris Yeo, The Obs: A Singapore Story. Meanwhile, for something lighter, opt for director Han Yew Kuang’s Rubbers, a sex comedy starring actress Yeo Yann Yann.
Silver Screen Awards
In addition to the Asian Feature Film category, the competition section introduced a new component this year, the Southeast Asian Short Film category. In total, 30 films have been nominated for the awards, including 19 for the SEA Short Film category.
Zhang said: “By introducing a regional short film category, our intention is to discover new filmmaking talents who have great potential at the start of their career. In short, the festival aims to play a role in identifying and forecasting the next generation of filmmakers who possess star quality.”
Highlights of the Asian Feature Film category include Alive, a three-hour movie shot under harsh winter conditions, sees director Park Jung-bum acting as the protagonist. Meanwhile, female director Natsuka Kusan will have her first debut feature Antonym, a drama that revolves around human connection. Another film to look out for is the understated W, Chonlasit Upanigkit’s directorial debut.
• Following its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival recently, Décor (Filmmaker in Focus) by Ahmad Abdalla El Sayed Abdelkader, will have its Asian premiere at SGIFF.
• Stage Sisters (Classics), made at the cusp of the Cultural Revolution, is a renowned Chinese film and among the most acclaimed works of award-winning director Xie Jin.
• From What is Before (Asian Vision) by Lav Diaz will be a rare film experience given its five-hour length.
• Court (Silver Screen Awards) by Chaitanya Tamhane centers around the justice system in India.
• Nidhanaya, The Treasure (Classics) by Lester James Peries, a rare 1972 masterpiece, was originally thought to be lost but a copy was later found in 2013 and restored.
• Lei Yuan Bin’s 03 FLATS (Singapore Panorama) is an intimate yet quiet and observational documentary that invites audiences to observe the lives of three very different women without any prejudice.
• The Kalampag Tracking Agency (Imagine) curated by Shireen Seno and Merv Espina, scrutinizes the video art scene in the Philippines.
• Mandala (A Tribute to Im Kwon-Taek) is prolific South Korean director Im Kwon- Taek’s first masterpiece about enlightenment and the self.
• The Voice of the Voiceless (Cinema Today) by Maximón Monihan tells the story of human trafficking and the hearing impaired, and interestingly carries no dialogue.
• Andrea Capranico’s The Undertaker (Documentary) will have its world premiere at
SGIFF, examining the lives of a community who make cemeteries their home.
• In the Absence of the Sun (Closing Film) by Lucky Kuswandi, was selected as the closing film for its outstanding display of filmmaking craft, particularly given it is only Kuswandi’s second feature. The film touches on contemporary Indonesia’s social
issues with a good balance of hope and optimism.
It has been two years since the last festival was held, and the local and regional film community, as well as the supporting industries have welcomed its return.
In celebration of the Festival’s launch, international stars like Zhang Ziyi, John Woo and Juliette Binoche will walk the carpet, joined by local and regional stars like Adrian Pang, Epy Quizon and Ken Kwek. Other celebrities in attendance include Unlucky Plaza cast members Judee Tan and Pam Oei, actor Tong Dawei of The Crossing, as well as Mike Wiluan, SGIFF Chairman, and Wahyuni Hadi, SGIFF Executive Director.
About the Singapore International Film Festival (4 to 14 December 2014)
The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. Founded in 1987, the festival has become an iconic event in the Singapore arts calendar that is widely attended by international film critics, and recognized worldwide for its focus on Asian filmmakers and the promotion of Southeast Asian films. The SGIFF is committed to nurturing and championing local and regional talents in the art of filmmaking. The festival serves as a catalyst in igniting public interest in the arts, and encouraging artistic dialogue and cultural exchanges.