SGIFF Silver Screen Awards: Reporting from the Rostrum and Red Carpet!

This year, Batik reigns at the Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Awards. Not just physical Batik like the show-stopping piece worn by Marsha Timothy, female star of Mouly Surya's 'Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts'. But also in concept, as the festival paid tribute to Garin Nugroho, a icon of Indonesian cinema, whose films like Opera Jawa and Setan Jawa are as much cinema as they are cultural emblems. Not to mention, we put the spotlight on our southern neighbours Indonesia this year at the festival.

So let's get on with what happened on awards night last night.

Writer of Best Asian Feature winner 'Disappearance' Farnoosh Samadi accepted the award from Ana Lily Amirpour (left) and Tan Pin Pin (right), apologetic that the director Ali Asgari could not be there.

Still from 'Disappearance'

Disappearance (Napadid Shodan) by Ali Asgari from Iran emerged as the Best Film under the Asian Feature Film Competition segment, which saw it competing with seven other shortlisted feature films. Actress Sadaf Asgari also collected the Best Performance award for her role as Sara in the film. Asgari’s suspenseful debut feature tells the story of two young lovers who run from hospital to hospital to seek medical aid, only to discover the meaning of bureaucratic terror and the implications of this unfortunate mishap as they drive through the night to solve their predicament.

Still from 'Malila: The Farewell Flower

Director Anucha Boonyawatana is a picture of calm and grace, just like the film she created

Thai filmmaker, Anucha Boonyawatana, earned herself the title of Best Director for her film, Malila: The Farewell Flower, which delves into the mysteries of love and spiritual redemption. Anucha Boonyawatana received praises from the jury to have a “quiet, extremely sensitive, beautifully shot exploration of fundamental themes of our existence”. This film has already picked up awards in other film festivals including the inaugural Kim Jiseok award at the Busan International Film Festival and the NETPAC award at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

Scaffolding (Pigumim) by Israeli writer-director, Matan Yair, which illustrates the story of an impulsive teenager who finds his future torn between two paths in life, was given the Special Mention of the evening.
Director Matan Yair received the Special Mention Award from Mark Peranson and Kuo MIng-Jung

The winners of the Asian Feature Film Competition were decided by a four-member jury, headed by Shekhar Kapur who directed the Oscar-winning film, Elizabeth as well as the iconic Indian film Bandit Queen starring Seema Biswas. Joining him on the jury are Hong Kong-Australian filmmaker Clara Law, Head of Programming at the Locarno Film Festival, Mark Peranson, and Iranian-American screenwriter, director Ana Lily Amirpour, whose film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night propelled her to international fame since its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Director Carlo Francisco Manatad received the Best Southeast Asian Short Film Award from Boo Junfeng and Kenji Ishizaka

Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month by Filipino filmmaker, Carlo Francisco Manatad, was awarded the Best Southeast Asian Short Film out of the 15 shortlisted titlesThe dark comedy which stars Angeli Bayani, who played the lead in Anthony Chen's Ilo Ilo, is about a series of events that unfolded during a gas station attendant’s last day of duty. The jury felt that the “farcical approach in the storytelling was very effective in depicting the issues of lawlessness, crime and violence, affecting not only the country in question but the world at large.”
He brought his fans along. Director Sorayos Prapapan received the Best Southeast Asian Short Film Director Award, with much applause from the audience

Sorayos Prapapan, a natural crowd favourite with his humorous irreverent personality with a burly figure to go with the personality, took home the accolade for Best Director for Southeast Asian Short Film for his short film, Death of the Sound Man (Awasarn Sound Man), which illustrates the story of two sound recordists working hard on the sound mix of a film, only to realise that the audience does not pay attention to the sound in film.

Singaporean artist, Tan Wei Keong’s film, Between Us Two, stood out among the three Singaporean stories and clinched the Best Singapore Short Film, with its brave attempt at tackling a topic like marriage equality in Singapore, and using animation. Indonesian filmmaker, Makbul Mubarak’s short film, The Malediction, which deals with religion ad polygamy, was given the Special Mention by the jury.

Indonesian director Makbul Mubarak received the Special Mention Award from Marsha Timothy and K Rajagopal

The Southeast Asian Short Film Competition Jury Panel this year was headed by Kenji Ishizaka, Programming Director of the Asian Future section at the Tokyo International Film Festival, alongside Singapore filmmaker, K. Rajagopal and Indonesian actress, Marsha Timothy.

The 13 jurors of the Youth Jury & Critics Programme, an initiative by the SGIFF to nurture and guide a generation of critical young writers of cinema from the region, also awarded the Youth Jury Prize to Death of the Sound Man (Awasarn Sound Man).

Indonesian veteran filmmaker Garin Nugroho was conferred the Honorary Award, which recognises individuals who have made exceptional and enduring contributions to Asian cinema, especially within their own country, while Japan’s leading actor with a 39-year career, Koji Yakusho, was also honoured with the Cinema Legend Award.

Before Richard Gere put on his dancing shoes for 'Shall We Dance?', there was Koji Yakusho, the leading man and Japanese screen icon in the Japanese original. do you keep your foliage so rich and luxuriant at the age of 61?

Other awards presented included the inaugural Inspiring Woman in Film Award, an award sponsored by Swarovski to Georgian director Ana Urushadze. Ana's debut feature film Scary Mother was also competing under the Asian Feature Film Competition and is Georgia's entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards. Joshua Ng Jun Hao,  an NTU student won the Young Critic Award and A Useful Ghost by Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke clinched the Most Promising Project of the Southeast Asian Film Lab. During the awards, tributes were also paid to two significant mentors of the Asian film industry – former Festival Director of the SGIFF, Mrs. Lesley Ho and founding member of the Busan International Film Festival, Mr. Kim Ji-Seok, at the Awards.

Ending off this report is an honest-to-goodness red carpet commentary that we take very seriously.
Shekhar Kapur - We don't care about the brown on brown, the facial hair is worn to perfection.

Liew Seng Tat and Philip Lee - Monochrome partners in crime. Liew reminds us pretty things come in small packages with a suit tailored to the T.

Pimpaka Towira, Garin Nugroho, Yoji Yakusho, Yuni Hadi in a rendition of
Grid  .   monoGram   .   Greyscale    . Greenscreen

Pimpaka Towira - Square Rules just like how Pimaka rules.
Marsha Timothy - MURDERER..............of hearts

Aditya Assarat, Child No. 1 and Yuni Hadi - gives new meaning to Work-Life Balance. When you get an early start on the red carpet, you are sorted for life.

Shioli Kutsama - Chanel apparently has a limited edition glitched square print.

Royston Tan and Lim Tingli - Boring... what happened to the gemstones and sequins on the lapels Royston?

Selena Tan - The song reads 'Putting it Together', but the face reads 'The North-South line broke down again?!!!' But nice hair extensions.

Unnamed Girl number 2 and Tulika Ahuja - Two makes a gang bang. Bangs, you know? Some people like to cover their forehead.

Bamboo Chen - A pretty straight-looking dude, if you ask us.
Amanda Nell Eu - Film lab specimen turn Bombshell. Photo bombshell.

Tan Pin Pin and Ana Lily Amirpour - Two of the coolest ladies in the house, teaching us how not to blend into the background.

So erm, that's all folks! See you next year with a brand new wardrobe!

Reporting by Jeremy Sing
Photos courtesy of Alfonse Chiu (with a few from the SGIFF team)
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