ShoutOUT!: SGIFF 2015 puts the spotlight on Asian stories with more than 150 films

Opening film 'Panay' by Cheng Yu-chieh and Lekal Sumi

Following a highly successful return of the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) last year, the 26th edition of SGIFF is set to provide festival goers with an insight into the region’s stories and the art of filmmaking through more than 150 film screenings and public programmes

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.

'Gabbeth', one of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's signature pieces as part of the tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf series

Cannes Palme d'Or-winning filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s presents 'Cemetery of Splendour'

Some highlights includes the international premiere of SGIFF’s opening film at Marina Bay Sands, Panay, which tells the life and predicaments faced by Taiwan’s indigenous communities on land rights; Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendour, which juxtaposes Thailand’s violent past against quirky everyday activities seen through the eyes of an aging woman; and Singapore’s multi-disciplinary artist Ng Xi Jie’s world premiere of her first feature film, Singapore Minstrel, which offers a glimpse into the art of busking in the metropolitan city through featuring Roy Payamal, a stalwart of Singapore’s busking scene.

Ng Xi Jie's 'Singapore Ministrel', about famous Singapore busker Roy Payamal

'The Thin Yellow Line', as part of the Mexican showcase, is a story about a group of men who have to pain yellow lines along a 217 km highway

SGIFF will also cast a spotlight on Mexican cinema in its Cinema Today section, looking into the fast-changing perspectives of world cinema, which plays a part in influencing the art in Asia. Mexican cinema, in particular, has been on the world map with a steady slew of diverse productions each year, and a series of recent Oscar wins for directors such as Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Through a panel discussion and presentation of recent films by four emerging Mexican directors, the SGIFF will bring to Asia an insight into the brilliant aesthetics and talents brought forth by one of the most prolific film industries in Latin America.

Another special programme this year is the Between Visible and Invisible: Alternative Vision of Chinese Independent Documentary section, which gives depth to Asian cinema. These contemporary independent documentaries stem from the lineage of retaliation to state-controlled media guidelines in the late 1980s. Audiences will be able to observe how these underground filmmakers confront reality with a bare and direct observational style, and through the voice of the minorities, provide alternative and microcosmic views of China to the world.

SGIFF Festival Director, Zhang Wenjie, shared, “We are now at the crossroads of a very exciting time for independent cinema and SGIFF meets the growing demand by bringing together a rich mix of filmmakers and showcasing their works. The Festival’s film line-up was carefully curated from over 1,400 submissions received this year. Each film is significant in its cinematic presentation, and inspires with its rich perspective. But when put together in an ensemble, they also reflect the relevance of the festival in giving a voice to these independent storytellers, while identifying fresh approaches and innovation in the filmmaking industry.

'The Return' by Singapore filmmaker Green Zeng, was selected for competition at the 30th Venice International Film Critic's Week this year

Staying true to its mission, SGIFF will continue to connect industry players and festival goers, facilitate conversations on filmmaking and foster greater appreciation towards independent cinema. 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 to forecast and nurture the next generation of film community. 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. The winning Audience Choice film will be announced during the Silver Screen Awards, to be held at Marina Bay Sands on 5 December 2015, and re-screened together with the Best Asian Film on the last day of the Festival, replacing the closing film.

In addition, SGIFF will continue to provide festival goers with the opportunity to learn first-hand from the directors-in-attendance and guest filmmakers such as Terence Chang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Mohsen Makhmalbaf as they share their experiences and insights at various masterclasses and talks.

Running from 26 November to 6 December 2015, the 26th edition of SGIFF will take place across various venues, including Marina Bay Sands, which returns this year as Presenting Sponsor. The other screening venues are National Museum of Singapore, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, The Projector and The Substation. Ticket sales for SGIFF will begin on 21 October 2015.

Here are some other films not be missed! And this list is by no means complete.

'Mountains May Depart' by Jia Zhangke competed for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival 

'The Lobster' by Yorgos Lanthimos, picked up the Jury prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival 

 'The Man who knew Infinity' by Matthew Brown features Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons

Qiu Jiongjiong's 'Mr Zhang Belives' is about the the life of a man caught in the wheel of the Cultural Revolution is laid out within a studio-set cabinet of curiosities. It is part of a special section on indie documentaries from China

Singapore filmmaker Eva Tang goes on a search for the spirit of Xin Yao in 'The Songs We Sang'

Relive the splendour of 'Bugis Street' by Yon Fan in this rare screening

Eric Khoo's much talked about 'bedroom film' 'In The Room' serves up Singapore's history in a tiny hotel room

Taiwanese heartthrob Joseph Chang stars in 'The Landry Man', a genre-bender about a hitman and a laundry shop that isn't what it seems


Tickets for SGIFF go on sale from 21 October 2015 at all SISTIC outlets, its website and hotline +65 6348 5555.

Tickets for the Opening Film and Special Presentation Films are also available through and the Marina Bay Sands MasterCard Theatres Box Office.

  • Opening Film - S$25
  • Special Presentation Film - $15
  • All other films - $12
  • 'Imagine' film screenings - Admission by donation
  • Masterclasses & Talks - Free admission via registration at

Discounts & Concessions

Students, senior citizens and NSF $1 discount for Opening Film and $0.50 discount for other films. 

General Public every booking of 10 tickets or more in a single receipt is entitled to a 10% discount. Group ticket discount excludes the film The Songs We Sang

Weekday Matinee Students’ Special Package 4 tickets at $32. For weekday 4.30pm screenings at The Arts House: The Fourth Direction, Snow Pirates, The Kids and The House by the Bamboo Grove

For more information, please visit 
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