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Singapore International Film Festival showcases the best from Asia and Southeast Asia

By Say Peng  /  23 Oct 2018 (Tuesday)

The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) continues to cement its position as the film platform in Southeast Asia to showcase quality independent cinema and engage with regional filmmakers at the 29th SGIFF, with the announcement of its full Festival line-up at the National Museum of Singapore, today. This year’s Festival promises to be yet another exciting event as SGIFF continues to celebrate Asian storytellers, nurture new generation of filmmakers, and propel their works to an international audience.

“Global demand for quality content and narrative from Asia has never been greater than today. There is a growing interest in original stories made by Asian independent filmmakers translating into a growing audience who are seeking something fresh,” shares Pimpaka Towira, Programming Director, SGIFF, while speaking about the Festival programming this year.

“Singapore International Film Festival as an international film festival, brings both regional and international creators and audiences together, creating opportunity for dialogue. This year’s programme of over 100 films celebrates the diversity of our region and cultures; and offers audiences an opportunity for the discovery of independent cinema.”

This year’s Festival will showcase debut features from Asian filmmakers; including the Southeast Asian premiere of Taiwanese filmmakers Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen’s 'Dear Ex' as one of SGIFF’s two Special Presentation films. 'Dear Ex' explores serious themes of loss, identity, and acceptance through the sensitive comedic drama of a jilted widow who must make peace with her late husband’s temperamental former lover.

The film was a resounding success at the 2018 Taipei Film Festival, winning five awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Actress, Audience Award and the Press Award in the International New Talent Competition; and has also received eight nominations, including Best Feature Film at this year’s the Golden Horse Awards.

Another must-see debut feature, 'The Third Wife', is a poetic treatise about the fate of a young woman after she marries into a wealthy family and explores issues such as child- marriage and women’s rights in 19th-century Vietnam.

This period drama marks a remarkable first feature by young Vietnamese filmmaker, Ash Mayfair. 'The Third Wife' stars Vietnamese-born French actress, Tran Nu Yen Khe, and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018, winning the NETPAC Award.

For local audiences, getting to know who we are as a nation and within the context of Southeast Asia is an important aspect of identity building. Stories told through films are a way to engage with that. SGIFF will be showcasing 18 films and co-productions from Singapore, including six feature films and 12 short films.

In addition to 'A Land Imagined' by Yeo Siew Hua, the Festival will screen the world premiere of The Last Artisan by Craig McTurk; and the international premiere of 'Cannonball', by Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen under Singapore Panorama.

The Last Artisan, a documentary that chronicles the life and legacy of Teo Veoh Seng, following his retirement after seven decades as the head artisan of Singapore’s Haw Par Villa theme park. It sheds light on a craftsman whose quiet dedication has preserved a uniquely charming slice of a city hounded by rapid urban developments.

'Cannonball', meanwhile, is Singaporean sound project ARE’s self-produced, self-satirising travelogue of their album tour through Australia, featuring performances by other acts in Australia’s experimental music scene.

Drawing inspiration from social issues impacting the region today, award-winning short film director, Alvin Lee’s graduation short at Beijing Film Academy, 'A Time For Us', tells the story of a pregnant woman who travels to Beijing to purchase a black-market residency permit for her unborn child—a scheme which involves a sham marriage to a man who can’t express himself.

Meanwhile, '2200 Volts', by Tan Siyou, is an arresting tale of a woman awaiting her turn in the electric chair, ironing out her memories obsessively and trying to absolve her regrets. Tan is currently a Fellow at the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, class of 2019.

This year’s Festival Commission 'Kingdom' by Tan Wei Keong, winner of SGIFF 2017’s Best Singapore Short Film Award, infuses elements of fantasy, identity, and personal struggle in its narrative. Beneath the deceptively simple actions of the character lies a layered approach to his psyche, which hinges on isolation and a sense of belonging.

The 29th SGIFF, which runs from 28 November to 9 December 2018, will be hosted across multiple Festival venues, including Capitol Theatre, National Museum of Singapore, National Gallery Singapore, The Cathay, Filmgarde Bugis+, Objectifs and *SCAPE.

Mark your calenders now!
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