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Saudi Arabian and Thai Films Won Best Films at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival's Silver Screen Awards

By Flora  /  02 Dec 2019 (Monday)

Photo Credit: 30th SGIFF and Bonnie Yap

The 30th Singapore International Film Festival announced the winners of its Silver Screen Awards today, celebrating the best of filmmaking in the region. This year saw 14 awards being presented with the crowd-favourites Asian Feature Film Competition and Southeast Asian Short Film

Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr) by Saudi Arabian filmmaker, Shahad Ameen, emerged as the Best Film under the Asian Feature Film Competition segment, which saw eight other shortlisted feature films in the race for the coveted award.  He walked away with a trophy and a Cash Prize of $9,000, along with post-production grants worth over $45,000.

​Photo Credit: 30th SGIFF and Bonnie Yap

Ameen’s debut feature tells a stunning mythical tale of a young girl who defies her village’s harsh and chauvinistic traditions to prove her worth, putting forth a strong statement about female empowerment through the lens of a modern Saudi woman. The jury found it to be a “very original and strong film from a first-time filmmaker who speaks about patriarchy with the simplicity of a fable.”

The late Filipino actor, Kristoffer King, was conferred the Best Performance award for his role as Dante, a small-time petty crook in Filipino director Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s film, Verdict . Israeli-born filmmaker, Oren Gerner, received the accolade as Best Director for his film, Africa, a docu-fictional study of wounded masculinity and the anxiety of ageing. 

The winners of the Asian Feature Film Competition were decided by a jury panel, headed by award-winning Indian filmmaker, Anurag Kashyap. He co-directed crime thriller and India’s first Netflix Originals series Sacred Games , and was a recipient of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France for his contributions to film. Joining him on the jury are well-versed Malaysian movie producer, Amir Muhammad, veteran Hong Kong filmmaker Pang Ho-cheung, and award-winning Indonesian filmmaker Nia Dinata.

​Photo Credit: 30th SGIFF and Bonnie Yap

For the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition, I’m Not Your F***ing Stereotype, by Thai filmmaker, Hesome Chemamah, was awarded the Best Southeast Asian Short Film out of the 18 shortlisted titles. The short delves into the life of a Muslim girl from Southern Thailand, who falls prey to racism in school and spirals into an identity crisis. The jury was blown away by the film where “everything felt right and new and like no one had told this director or cinematographer or editor or actors or anyone what they shouldn’t do.” 

Burmese filmmaker, Zaw Bo Bo Hein, took home the Best Director accolade for his short, Sick, which illustrates the predicament of a man’s desperate search for money to settle the hefty hospital bills of his friend who is losing the will to live. 

​Photo Credit: 30th SGIFF and Bonnie Yap

Competing against three other local talents, Singaporean filmmaker, Shoki Lin stood out and clinched the Best Singapore Short Film for his film, Adam. The jury felt that this short on family and identity is an “exceptional film that reveals many deeper layers with an emotional dark rollercoaster through Adam’s journey.” It is also a “local story clearly elevated that will resonate with an international audience.”

Singaporean director, Tan Siyou, received the Most Promising Project of the Southeast Asian Film Lab for her film, Amoeba, which was commended for its “relevance to contemporary themes prevalent amongst the youth in Singapore” and the “fresh perspective of one's journey to self-discovery.”

Paying tribute to the master of Japanese cult cinema, veteran Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike was conferred the Honorary Award, which recognises individuals who have made exceptional and enduring contributions to Asian cinema. Having directed over 100 films, he was known for his unique, eclectic and irreverent genre-bending aesthetics that is innovative and uncompromising.

Photo Credit: Yao Chen

Leading Chinese actress, Yao Chen, was also honoured with the refreshed Cinema Icon Award, for her inspiring achievements as a creative force in film. She received the award from Chairman of SGIFF, Sebastian Tan.
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