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Singapore International Film Festival makes waves in Southeast Asia ahead of its 30th edition

By Say Peng  /  18 Jun 2019 (Tuesday)

The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is making waves by bringing noteworthy films with distinct voices closer to audiences in Singapore and Southeast Asia, with the launch of its inaugural edition of ​Travelling Waves ​and an all-new format of ​New Waves.​ With these refreshed programmes ahead of its 30th edition, the Festival continues to grow the level of appreciation among film-lovers, strengthen the independent film ecosystem in the region, while championing its talents and stories.

SGIFF traverses the region with ​Travelling Waves

Travelling Waves ​is a multi-city programme that brings Southeast Asian cinematic voices to independent screening venues around the region. The inaugural edition will see SGIFF present five short films by emerging regional filmmakers in Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. The sessions, comprising film screenings followed by discussions with filmmakers, are rare opportunities for the film community to mingle, exchange ideas and perspectives.

Executive Director Yuni Hadi shared, “Even though SGIFF is based in Singapore, we want to better connect with our neighbouring film communities through this regional programme and the initiatives of the SGIFF Film Academy. Partnering with independent film spaces such as the Bangkok Screening Room, Kinosaurus and TDSC allows us to work closely with film organisations who champion the independent spirit we see in short films. Our upcoming 30th edition provides a timely opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on Southeast Asian filmmakers with these original stories that resonate with us. Through these programmes, we see the strength of the region coming together to further develop and nurture the potential of storytelling in Southeast Asia.”

The first session at Bangkok Screening Room on 20 April 2019 received a full-house reception. A testament of the curiosity towards Southeast Asian films, the audience participated actively in the post-screening dialogue with filmmakers Pathompon Mont Tesprateep (​Song X) and Danech San (​A Million Years)​. The session was moderated by esteemed Thai film critic Kong Rithdee, who will also return to SGIFF as Head Mentor of the Youth Jury and Critics Programme this year. Travelling Waves will be hosted next at Jakarta on 15 June 2019 and Kuala Lumpur on 20 July 2019 where attendees can also look forward to engaging screenings and discussions with filmmakers. Interested parties can visit ​https://sgiff.com/travelling-waves/ for ticketing details.

Creating a springboard for film lovers with an all-new format at ​New Waves

Returning for its fourth edition, this year’s ​New Waves ​will take place over an intimate weekend on 12 and 13 July 2019, comprising screenings and a panel discussion to develop the film audience in Singapore. The all-new format is tailored to gather more filmmakers at the same time to share diverse viewpoints and vibrant discussions with film aficionados and beginners alike.

Part of the SGIFF Film Academy, this year’s New Waves will see retrospectives of short films produced by Akanga Film Asia and led by Fran Borgia, who produced Boo Junfeng’s ​Apprentice (2016) ​and Yeo Siew Hua’s ​A Land Imagined (​ 2018). It will also chart the rise and development of award-winning filmmaker Anthony Chen, in anticipation of his sophomore effort ​Wet Season (2019)​, ​after the award-winning feature ​Ilo Ilo ​(2013). Both Fran and Anthony will participate in the post-screening discussions.

There will also be a curated line-up of films from the female perspective in ​Through Her Eyes;​ while Southeast Asian stories and regional cultural histories will be discussed with local filmmakers such as Nicole Midori Woodford and M Raihan Halim, moderated by writer Alfian Sa’at.

Yuni added, “SGIFF presents stories that help us understand the world around us, be it through films, programmes, or experiences. ​New Waves ​has always been an assembly ground for the community, and will continue to be a touchpoint for reflection, exploration, and dialogue as it sets the stage for the Festival in November.”

The 30th SGIFF will run from 21 November to 1 December 2019. Its call for entries for Feature and Short Films, Southeast Asian Film Lab, and Youth Jury & Critics Programme is now open and will continue till 19 August 2019.
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