ShoutOUT! Singapore International Film Festival goes back to its roots for its 30th edition

Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), which will run from 21 November to 1 December 2019, hits its 30th milestone this year and to celebrate that, it has commissioned three short films anchored on the theme of celebration, by Southeast Asian directors Yeo Siew Hua (Singapore), Mouly Surya (Indonesia) and Anucha Boonyawatana (Thailand). According to SGIFF's Executive Director Yuni Hadi, this commission series is both a gesture by the Festival to enable filmmakers to experiment and grow the regional scene, and an avenue to introducing the texture of life in Southeast Asia to the wider audience. SGIFF will remain committed to providing a platform for the diverse voices of Southeast Asia to be heard through film. 


Yeo Siew Hua’s short film Incantation (2019) explores the complexity of human connections, by returning to his experimental roots where he delves into the age-old rituals of ancient spells, spirits and the idea of resurrection during Hungry Ghost Festival. Mouly Surya’s Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue (2019) uses wry humour to present a forward-looking take of gender roles in today’s society through the intimate interactions between a mother and a bride-to-be at a traditional wedding procession; while Anucha Boonyawatana’s Not A Time to Celebrate (2019) provides a light-hearted and cheeky take to both the rewards and harsh reality of filmmaking while offering a salute to the craft. 


Not A Time to Celebrate

The three filmmakers are also no strangers to the Festival. Yeo Siew Hua premiered his award-winning A Land Imagined, which became the first Singaporean film to win Best Film at the Festival’s Silver Screen Awards, under the Asian Feature Film Competition; Mouly Surya presented her Cannes title Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts; while Anucha Boonyawatana was conferred the Best Director at the Silver Screen Award for Malila: The Farewell Flower. 

The Festival will also spotlight Southeast Asia cinema in its Focus series titled 'Stories We Tell: Myth, Dreamscape and Memory in Southeast Asian Cinema', comprising four Southeast Asian films that reflect the recurring theme of imaginative fantasies, dreamlike impressions, and folkloric memories in its storytelling. 

Mysterious Object at Noon

Mysterious Object at Noon (2000) by Thai award-winning filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Lucky 7 (2008) directed by seven Singapore filmmakers Sun Koh, Rajagopal, Boo Junfeng, Brian Gothong Tan, Chew Tze Chuan, Ho Tzu Nyen, and Tania Sng stand out with their use of the exquisite corpse, a filmmaking technique where a collection of words or images is assembled by each contributor who is unaware of the full extent of the preceding part. The black and white debut feature of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Mysterious Object at Noon (2000), weaves a tapestry of subjective stories to collectively tell the tale of Thailand, while Lucky 7 (2008) takes viewers through a kaleidoscope of fragmented stories that reveal a deeper anxiety towards creativity, fantasy, and repression that segue across genres such as social drama, musical and thriller.

Lucky 7

A Short Film About the Indio Nacional

Acclaimed Filipino director, Raya Martin’s debut film A Short Film About the Indio Nacional (2005) reshapes the history of the Philippines based on his subjective meditation on national myth, colonial power and revolution as it unfolds into a faux silent movie. At a time where propaganda films seek to erase the cruel history of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture (2013) recounts the indelible mental pictures of what he saw during the event to remind people of the atrocities that happened in his country. Each film contributes to an exploration of a collective consciousness – or perhaps subconscious – that pervades Southeast Asian cinema and turning it into a dreamscape. 

The Missing Picture

SGIFF Programme Director Kuo Ming-Jung said, “Filmmaking provides an avenue for stories that we imagine and dream about to become reality. Our Focus programme this year reflects the unique storytelling style of Southeast Asian filmmakers, where the juxtaposition of real and unreal, objective and subjective, myth, memory and imagination conjures its own resonances. Collectively, they enrich our understanding of the world around us through the imagination and collective dreams of these filmmakers.” 

Screenings aside, the SGIFF’s Southeast Asian Producers Network continues its programme this year where over a three-day period, 25 invited producers and established professionals from Singapore and Southeast Asia, including Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, Vietnamese veteran producer and co-founder of Autumn Meeting, and Xie Meng, CEO of Beijing-based Rediance will engage in dialogue and seek opportunities for collaboration. Through roundtable sessions, talks and case study presentations, they will discuss pertinent topics relating to the latest developments and strategies of content production in the region.

In parallel to the festival, the Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market, organised by ScreenSingapore in partnership with the Southeast Asia Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA), returns this year to connect promising project ideas to potential investors and financiers. Laotian director Mattie Do's The Long Walk, was a finalist at the inaugural SAFF Project Market in 2015. The film is presently making waves in the international festival circuit to high acclaim, most recently at the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival. 

SGIFF has also gathered nine local film and media personalities including Fiona Xie and Oon Shu Ann, alongside filmmakers such as Kirsten Tan, to share their self-portraits inspired by nature, at a mixed-media exhibition, Nature’s Playground, held at Gardens by the Bay as it celebrates 30 editions of championing local storytellers and their creative narratives. 

The full Festival line-up and ticketing details will be announced on 22 October 2019. SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), hosted by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). 

SGIFF 2019’s Official Sponsors include Official Red Carpet Venue Capitol Theatre; Official Automobile BMW; and Official Hotel Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. et Venue Capitol Theatre; Official Automobile BMW; and Official Hotel Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. 

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