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What You Should Know: The 26th Singapore International Film Festival!

By InCinemas  /  20 Oct 2015 (Tuesday)

The 26th edition of Singapore’s most celebrated film festival, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) returns this November with more than 150 film screenings and public programmes. 


Following its highly successful comeback last year, the South-east Asia’s longest-running international film platform will be held from Nov 26 to Dec 6, 2015.

“We received about 1400 films this year from all over the world. From there, we selected 146 films from the entries. There are 22 Singaporean films and 75% Asian films,” said SGIFF Executive Director, Yuni Hadi at the press conference held at the ArtScience Museum this morning. 

She added: “The thing I am most excited about is the opening film because it sets the tone of the whole festival.” 

Opening this year’s festival is ‘Panay’, a film by Taiwanese directors Cheng Yu-Chieh and Lekal Sumi. The film tells the life and predicaments faced by Taiwan’s indigenous communities on land rights, and will mark its International Premiere at SGIFF on 26 November 2015.


Other highlights of the festival include Eric Khoo’s premiere of ‘In The Room’; a masterclass by renowned Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul; the Silver Screen Awards; and the inaugural Cinema Legend Award where internationally acclaimed actress Michelle Yeoh will be in Singapore for an ‘In conversation’ session on December 6. 

This year, SGIFF will present 146 feature and short films from 51 countries, across 11 sections – Opening, Special Presentation, Silver Screen Awards, Singapore Panorama, Asian Vision, Cinema Today, Spotlight on Mexican Cinema, Imagine, Classics, Between Visible and Invisible: Alternative Vision of Chinese Independent Documentary and Tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf – showcasing the region’s story in film.


Special Presentation

3 film screenings fall under this category: ‘The Laundryman’ by Lee Chung; ‘In The Room’ by Eric Khoo; and ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ by Matthew Brown. 

Khoo’s erotic drama ‘In The Room’ is one of the highly-anticipated films for it contains all the hallmarks of Khoo’s oeuvre - his love for horror, an empathetic approach towards cruelty, and the constant search for the transitory moments of human tenderness. The omnibus feature tells a story of a once-grand hotel that has fallen on hard times, and is constructed as eight scenes, each telling the stories of the sexual escapades  over seven decades in in the same room.


In The Room
Date: 1 Dec 2015
Time: 7.45pm

Venue: MBS 

There will be an 'In Conversation' session with the director and cast at 3pm at ArtScience Museum on the day of the screening. (Admission is by registration at sgiff.2015.peatix.com)

“I’m really happy that it (In The Room) is going to be screened at this year’s festival,” said Khoo, who celebrates his 20th anniversary of his first feature film ‘Mee Pok Man’, which will be screening as part of the ‘Classics’ segment. 


Silver Screen Awards

The Silver Screen Awards aims to create awareness of the rich filmmaking talents throughout Asia and Southeast Asia. Last year SGIFF launched new initiatives, Southeast Asian Film Lab, Youth Jury & Critics Programme and introduced the Southeast Asian Short Film category in its Silver Screen Awards. 

This year, SGIFF will introduce a new Audience Choice Award in recognition of the growing desire by festival goers for greater involvement. Audiences can now vote for their favourite feature film from the various sections, including the Asian Feature Film Competition Films as part of Silver Screen Awards.


Singapore Panorama

One of the well-loved segments in SGIFF is the Singapore Panorama, a platform for the newest and latest local films in Singapore Cinema. 

Eva Tang’s documentary ‘The Songs We Sang’ will make its world premiere at the festival. It touches on the spirit of Xinyao, a uniquely local music movement in Singapore in the 80s. Music maestros Liang Wern Fook, Eric Moo and Billy Koh, together with local singers JJ Lin and Stefanie Sun, are featured in her film. 


The Songs We Sang

Date: 29 Nov (Sun)

Time: 4.30pm

Venue: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay


Between Visible and Invisible: Alternative Vision of Chinese Independent Documentary

SGIFF Festival Director, Zhang Wenjie, shared, “I think Chinese independent documentary is one of the fragments that we feel very strongly for. It’s the most exciting and vibrant segments in Chinese films today.”

“These documentaries, they even explored and revamped the format of the documentary itself. They do it through styles like direct-cinema (a documentary genre to directly capture reality and to question the relationship of reality with cinema), essay-film (film visual basis combined with a form of commentary that contains elements of self-portrait) and even investigative journalism and all that, so we are really excited to showcase it.”

Filmmaker Qui JiongJiong will be attending the Asian premiere of his film, ‘Mr. Zhang Believes’ at the festival. The documentary follows the life of a man caught in the wheel of the Cultural Revolution who is laid out within a studio-set cabinet of curiosities. 


Mr. Zhang Believes

Date: 28 Nov (Sat)

Time: 9.390m

Venue: The Arts House


Tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf

Mohsen Makhmalbaf is a singular figure in the legacy of Iranian cinema. Since 1983, he has released more than 20 feature films and have been critically received internationally. At this year’s SGIFF, he will be presented with the Honorary Award at the Silver Screen Awards Presentation on December 5. In addition to screenings of his films, Makhmalbaf will be conducting a masterclass to talk about his films, and answer questions from participants. 

Admissions to Masterclasses are by registration at sgiff2015.peatix.com 


An ‘audience tip’ from the festival director, Hadi, “The best way to enjoy the festival is to dive in, go with your heart and don’t be afraid to try new things. You’ll never know what you will discover.” 


Tickets to the 26th Singapore International Film Festival go on sale tomorrow from SISTIC. 

(Find out more from SGIFF's website!)

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