Identity Issues dominate at the 2019 Singapore National Youth Film Awards

The award-winning films of 2019 the National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) all had in common a search for identity, an exploration that encompassed both personal and national identity. This year, 38 nominees were shortlisted from the 446 submissions received by a judging panel that included industry stalwarts such as famed Malaysian actressturned-director Sharifah Amani, and new jury member Looi Wan Ping, Cinematographer, who also worked as Associate Producer on feature film Revenge Of The Pontianak, now showing in theatres. A total of 15 winning films were then selected across the Media Student and Open Youth categories. NYFA is jointly organised by *SCAPE and the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF). 

Media Student Winners 

With continued participation of students from across institutes of higher learning in Singapore, NYFA is widely acknowledged as a distinguished platform that recognises the raw talent of media students and helps launch their film aspirations. 

Li Kayue, an NTU undergraduate, was awarded Best Live Action for Foul Ball (picture above), a film that powerfully depicts the value of resilience, showcasing this year’s theme the enduring spirit of youth. 

LASALLE College of the Arts also took home huge winnings with Best Documentary going to Mei Fong Lin, for Pigeonhole, a documentary centred around the intersecting lives of two seniors citizens. LASALLE also clinched the Best Sound Design with horror film Farah, in which a tragedy that divides the family leads to terrifying consequences, and Best Art Direction with animation To Be Apart that follows the humourous exploits of a pigeon as he attempts to find a home with a flock of mynahs. 


Best Animation was awarded to Balance by NTU undergraduate Raymond Limantara Sutisna for its use of masterful animation techniques that elevated its modest storyline. 

Open Youth Winners

Through NYFA’s continuous commitment towards supporting and recognising young filmmaking talent beyond schools is demonstrated through its second run of the Open Youth category. Four short films stood out, as they reflect Singapore’s young film practitioners’ commitment towards challenging themselves on all aspects of filmmaking and consistently honing their craft. 

You Idiot


Kris Ong’s You Idiot emerged as the biggest Open Youth winner of the night, with Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Original Music. Best Live Action and Best Director were awarded to Leon Cheo for his film SIN-SFO, while Trespass: Stories from Singapore's Thieves Market, took home the Best Documentary and Best Sound Design awards. Returning NYFA participant Jerrold Chong scored Best Animation and Best Art Direction with ambitious sci-fi animation Automatonomy, making him NYFA’s Best Animation winner for two years running. 

Trespass: Stories from Singapore's Thieves Market


Earning a Special Mention and Best Screenplay in the Open Youth category is Alvin Lee’s A Time for Us, with their all-rounded excellence in art direction, cinematography and screenplay, 

A slate of past winning films is now available for viewing on HOOQ, a video on-demand streaming service. Many of these carefully curated films were made by first-time filmmakers from Temasek Poly, Ngee Ann Poly, LASALLE, and NTU. 

SCAPE Mentorship Pilot 

As part of *SCAPE’s commitment to nurture youth talents, NYFA will be launching a mentorship pilot to offer past participants and interested youths an opportunity to learn and hone their craft with the industry’s veteran filmmakers. Experienced filmmakers such as Boris Boo, M. Raihan Halim, Juan Foo, Nicole Midori Woodford, Yahssir M., Jeremy Chua, and Andrew Ngin are among the filmmaker-mentors set to nurture and guide these youths in producing their next short film. 

Here are the results:

Open Youth Category 

SIN-SFO by Leon Cheo – Best Director and Best Live Action 
Automatonomy by Jerrold Chong – Best Animation 
Trespass: Stories from Singapore's Thieves Market by OKJ – Best Documentary and Best Sound Design 

Media Student 

Foul Ball by Kayue Li, Nanyang Technological University – Best Live Action 
Balance by Raymond Limantara Sutisna Nanyang Technological University – Best Animation 
Pigeonhole by Mei Fong Lim, LASALLE College of the Arts – Best Documentary 

Best Actor – Ayden Liow Jiaxian, "Adam" by Junxian Shoki Lin 
Best Actress – Yuslina Binte Muhamad Yusof, "A Spectacular Sight" by Rifyal Giffari
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