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A Closer Look at the Singapore Filmmakers at SGIFF 2016!

By Flora  /  15 Nov 2016 (Tuesday)

The annual Singapore International Film Festival, widely known as SGIFF, is back for its 27th run this year. 

Apart from the talked-about ‘Singapore Panorama’ section where four Singapore feature films are screened, a ‘Singapore Panorama Shorts’ comprising of four local short films will make its premiere at the festival as well. In addition, don’t miss the ‘SG Originals’ sessions where local filmmakers and industry players will conduct talks about various aspects of filmmaking, including casting, screenplay, sound design and virtual reality (VR). 

Here are some of the local filmmakers who are presenting their films at this year’s SGIFF which runs from 23rd November - 4 December 2016.

27th Singapore International Film Festival
Date: 23 Nov - 4 Dec 2016
Venues: Various
Ticket Pricing:
  • Opening Film - $25
  • Special Presentation Films - $15
  • All Other Films - $12
  • Imagine Programme Films - Pay as you wish
  • Masterclasses & Talks - $5 (Refundable registration fee)
(Book your tickets here!)

  • Gladys Ng - The Pursuit of A Happy Human Life

Still from 'The Pursuit of A Happy Human Life'   Photo Credit: Denise Ng & Nicole Chai

In the first initiative by SGIFF to showcase up-and-coming Singapore filmmakers, Gladys Ng, the winner for the Best Singapore Short Film at SGIFF 2015, is the first recipient of this program who will be presenting ‘The Pursuit of a Happy Human Life’, a 11-minute short that will be screened together with the opening film on 23rd November. 

  • K Rajagopal - A Yellow Bird
Still from 'A Yellow Bird' - Photo Credit: Joseph Nair & Akanga Film Asia

K Rajagopal’s raved debut feature ‘A Yellow Bird’ which was in the running for the coveted Camera d’Or award for best feature film debut at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, makes its way to the big screen in Singapore! A film that 

Southeast Asian Short Film Competition 
  • Liao Jiekai - The Mist

The Mist is a dance-inspired film by filmmaker and artist Liao Jiekai, who went on a trip to Hanoi to film his short. “Personally, dance film is a genre that I wanted to explore I think it was a very exciting opportunity for myself to find something new and work and to go into an unexplored terrain.”

Other local shorts in the running are Anchorage Prohibited (Chiang Wei Liang) and Freeze (Nelicia Low).

Singapore Panorama
  • 4 Love
Photo Courtesy of: 27th SGIFF

An omnibus film with four local directors presents tales of love across various stages of life, diving deep into the emotions and tribulations that confront the characters.

Speaking at the media session, mm2 Entertainment’s chief content officer Ng Say Yong shared: “The challenge was to blend four stories and four directing styles together, so there were a lot of initial talks with the four directors. Eventually, we came to decide the four stages of love and we thought it looked quite well.”

(Read more about our interview with the 4 directors of '4 Love'!)
  • Kan Lume - Ariel & Olivia
Directed by Kan Lume, Ariel & Olivia is a charming feature that incisively channels the awkward fumblings of teenagers attempting to find their direction in life.  
  • Min-Wei Ting - I’m Coming Up
Filmed in a single take, Min-Wei Ting’s feature film ‘I’m Coming Up’ is an immersive look inside an HDB block in Jurong, traversing every available public space in its ascent. 
  • Sam Loh - Siew Lup
Photo Courtesy of: 27th SGIFF

The second of Sam Loh’s femme fatale trilogy, Siew Lup is a steamy concussion of backstabbing intrigue and murderous delights. It was also revealed that Siew Lup is the first film in the festival lineup that has a sold-out screening.

"It’s sort of a part two of Lang Tong (Loh's first film in the trilogy) and not really one as well. The similarity is just a lady taking revenge. The story and cast are different and it’s done on a slightly bigger scale this time. I wanted to combine food and sex, violence and a bit of gore. And a bit of action… it’s a bit of ‘messy action’. I don’t want that kind of hair-pulling action, so it’s more of that kind of messy violence," shared Loh.

Action choreographer Sunny Pang who also stars in the film, shares with us that he gained about 10kg and had to shave his head to better suit his character as a butcher. “I almost stuffed myself crazy every day, for about 1 month. I ate like 5 meals a day! The funny thing is that once you create that craving, you can’t stop.” 

Abdul Nizam - For Nizam: A Retrospective

Photo Courtesy of: 27th SGIFF

A tribute to one of the most original and distinctive voices in Singapore cinema, this segment documents the films created by Nizam - from his breakthrough short film Datura to this final feature film Breaking the Ice. 


  • Toh Hun Ping - Covets of an Outsider: Showcase of Works by Toh Hun Ping

Photo Courtesy of: 27th SGIFF

Presenting a series of experimental films through uncommon techniques like bleaching film strips to recycling old 35mm reels, Toh Hun Ping, one of the most innovative and inventive video artists in Singapore will be presenting seven shorts films.

“It’s experimental in nature, you don’t see these kinds of imagery in movies in the mainstream theatres. So it’s to open up the possibilities of what movie images can be, how making moving images can be very different, comes in a large variety. So you’re not sort of boxed up in how movies or how we can read or watch moving images,” said Toh

SG Originals

A series of talks and discussions on aimed at promoting local content making by Singapore filmmakers, scriptwriters and sound designers. SG Originals is a must for those looking to expand their horizons in the art of contemporary filmmaking.

(Remember to register for the talks here!)
  • Jack Neo - Actors Unscripted 

Photo Courtesy of: 27th SGIFF
Singapore’s prolific director Jack Neo will be giving a 1-hour talk about finding the right actors to deliver his homegrown stories. In the session, find out more about his casting process, how he imparts his knowledge to the pool of young actors, and how he brings out the best in his films through his unique directing style. 
  • Sound Design
Often overlooked but never unnoticed is the sound design in each feature film. The delicate art of playing with levels and layers changes the emotions and mood of any movie. Learn from some of Singapore’s most talented sound and media professionals who will share more about the post-production process.
  • Developing Screenplays 

Photo Courtesy of: 27th SGIFF

Experienced screenwriters Ken Kwek, Wong Kim Hoh, Boo Junfeng and Sanif Olek will be speaking at the session, sharing their creative process of developing a screenplay that is ready for the big screen.
  • Exploring 360
What’s next after 4K films? Will Virtual Reality (VR) be the next medium in the appreciating of films? This talk aims to explore the technological trend that is fast gaining traction in Singapore and around the world.

Which are the films/talks you are most excited to attend at the 27th SGIFF? Let us know in the comments below!
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