ShoutOUT! New film festival on Art by the National Gallery

 Manifesto starring Cate Blanchett
National Gallery Singapore launched its annual film festival dedicated to films that uncover the transformative power of art, and the passion and humanity of those who live and work with it around the world. Entitled Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art, the film festival will feature over 30 feature-length and short films by acclaimed filmmakers, with many making its premiere in Singapore.

Painting with Light is the Gallery’s initiative to establish new connections with a wider audience and encourage stronger appreciation of the arts through the medium of film. Following its monthly Southeast Asian film series of the same name in 2016, the Gallery decided to enlarge its scope to include international titles featuring art practices, movements and institutions all over the world to provide a wider perspective. Hence, Painting with Light has expanded into a film festival this year.

“We are pleased to present this year’s edition of Painting with Light. The programming will demonstrate a sensitivity to the affinity between film and other artistic forms, realised in the form of screenings and forums that offer a space for dialogue between audiences and professionals from the film and art worlds. This is part of the Gallery’s efforts to define the role of art in our society, and ignite curiosity about art and its possibilities,” said Dr Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore.

Viewers are invited to discover films that explore a diverse array of subjects, from the 20th
century’s most visionary manifestos on art to the timeless beauty of Southeast Asian classical art forms; from the explosive energy of the avant-garde to the powerful influence
of censorship bureaus.

The festival consists of four sections: (1) films on institutions of art and their communities,
(2) films on artists and their interventions in society, (3) commissioned works by master
filmmakers, now restored classics, and (4) short films on the art and culture of Southeast

“We hope that Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art will provide an
interesting entry point to art for our audiences, as well as create space for dialogue about the relevance of art and the change it can inspire in society. The festival is also an invitation for audiences to join us in celebrating a group of filmmakers who push the envelope and venture beyond present realities to visualise a more ideal future.” added Ms Suenne Megan Tan, Director, Audience Development & Engagement, National Gallery Singapore.

The New Rijksmuseum

The festival’s opening film, The New Rijksmuseum (2013) by Oeke Hoogendik, has been chosen as it documents The Rijksmuseum’s 10-year-long renovation process, and reveals striking parallels with the Gallery’s own transformation from 2005 to 2015. The screening will be the Southeast Asian premiere of the film.

Some film highlights include:

(1) Manifesto (2015) by Julian Rosefeldt – Performed by acclaimed actress Cate Blanchett, the film pays homage to the 20th century’s most impassioned statements on art—from influential thinkers such as Karl Marx and André Breton—that have revolutionised ways of seeing in society

(2) The Space in Between – Marina Abramović in Brazil (2016) by Marco Del Fiol –A documentation of influential performance artist Marina Abramović’s journey to Brazil in search of healing and artistic inspiration through its mystical practices

(3) The Royal Ballet of Cambodia (1965) produced by National Archives and Records Administration of the United States (NARA) – A rare documentary on classical Khmer court dance and the work of the troupe, supported by the royal family of Cambodia, and starring HRH Princess Norodom Buppha Devi

(4) China’s Van Goghs (2016) by Yu Haibo and Yu Tianqi Kiki – The film follows Chinese painter-worker Zhao Xiaoyong to discover the work of Van Gogh for himself. Obsessed with the artist, he traces Van Gogh’s footsteps through Amsterdam, Paris, Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise.

In addition, some of the screenings will be followed by dialogue sessions with the filmmakers. There will also be a public forum on film commissions, its challenges and responsibilities, and how artists overcome market considerations to create exceptional works of art; the line-up includes film industry professionals such as Joachim Ng, Director of the Singapore Film Commission, Tenzin Phuntsog, filmmaker and Assistant Professor of Film at Montana State University as well as Singaporean artists Charles Lim and Erika Tan and more.

Viewers can also look forward to Southeast Asian Shorts, a free daily programme of short films exploring Southeast Asian perspectives on self-mastery, death, currency and city living. A different set will be screened every two hours, starting at 11am at the Auditorium Anteroom.

Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art

7 to 29 October 2017
Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium & Foyer, National Gallery, Level B1, City Hall Wing.
Ticket sales will start from 14 September 2017 and can be purchased through the Gallery and SISTIC websites and ticketing counters.
For more information, visit


Here are the 4 festival sections:

(1) Holding Space
Films on institutions of art and their communities
The festival opens with The New Rijksmuseum. Along with Beauty and Ruin, it looks at the ever-changing relationship between museums and their societies. We marvel at the classical grandeur of Southeast Asian court dance-drama in The Royal Ballet of Cambodia. We experience the explosive generative energy of the avant-garde from legendary experimental film festival EXPRMNTL, and the powerful influence of state censorship bureaus in Cuts. We investigate the present-day art scene with My Dear Art, and those who look to religious art as a manifestation of the sacred in Leave the Saints Alone.

(2) Ways of Seeing
Films on artists and their interventions in societyWe look at the 20th century’s most visionary statements about the role of art in society in Manifesto. We see art shimmering with possibility in the hands of artists as they seek to restore in The Space in Between - Marina Abramović in Brazil, give voice to complex issues in Songs from the North and Bamseom Pirates, Seoul Inferno, observe to mediate in Burma Storybook and Koudelka: Shooting Holy Land.

(3) Special Focus: The Art CommissionCommissioned works by master filmmakers, now restored classics
In this year’s Special Focus, we will examine the tensions in realising an art commission. We see a collection of short films that have become works of art in their own right – like The Crown Jewels of Iran, The Song of Plastic, Raid into Tibet and The Diamond Finger.

(4) Southeast Asian Shorts
Short films on the art and culture of Southeast Asia
Short film programme daily at the top of each hour at the Auditorium Anteroom. Free admission. Films include Without Mindfulness (Lao PDR), The Gong: Made in Tempawaddy (Myanmar), The King’s Last Song (Cambodia), Silent Light (Singapore), Image Makers (Singapore), Another City (Vietnam), RM10 (Malaysia), Natpwe, The Feast of the Spirits (Myanmar) as well
as the Gallery-commissioned Art Through Our Eyes, an anthology of short films by five award- winning Southeast Asia directors on their filmic interpretations of masterpieces from the Gallery’s collection.
7–29 Oct | 11am | Free – Without Mindfulness, The Gong: Made in Tempawaddy
7–29 Oct | 1pm | Free – The King’s Last Song, Silent Light
7–29 Oct | 3pm | Free – Image Makers: John Clang, Another City
7–29 Oct | 5pm | Free – RM10, Natpwe, The Feast of the Spirits
7–29 Oct | 7pm | Free – Art Through our Eyes anthology
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