It's Viddsee's 'Juree' season - watch these winning films and nominees from the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore

Every year, through the Viddsee Juree Awards, Viddsee brings together some of the best short films from the region to celebrate storytelling in this region and support local film communities. These short films are then presented to a panel of international judges, who will then handpick the winners, which are then made available to Viddsee's audience communities. The Juree Awards is currently held in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Winners of Juree Awards Philippines 2020 were announced on 23 September while Juree Awards Indonesia 2020 announced its winners on 8 October. Juree Awards Singapore will announce its winners on 21 November. Let's waste no time and take a look at them now!

Winning films prompt action and activism - Juree Awards Philippines 2020

Two outstanding Filipino short films, The Boy Who Bleeds In The Middle Of The Sea and Day of Danger (Petsa de Peligro), were honoured at the Viddsee Juree Awards Philippines 2020. The awards ceremony, which was held virtually for the first time, was broadcasted live on Viddsee, YouTube, and Facebook on September 13.

The Gold winner is James Allen Fajardo for The Boy Who Bleeds In The Middle Of The Sea, a complex coming-of-age drama centred around a teenage boy who experiences menstruation while he was out fishing, and confides in his best friend to avoid bullying in his school while his parents contend with larger issues about their livelihoods.

The film is no stranger to the film festival circuit, having been screened at the Toronto Queer Film Festival 2018, and InShort Film Festival 2018, and was honored at the Black Beret Competition 2018 with the Special Jury Prize and Best Editing; and at the Indie Un-film Festival 2018 with the Special Jury Prize and Best Screenplay.

James cited that activism is not, and will never be a form of terrorism and he hopes his film will convey that. "With the passage of the anti-terrorism bill, the film continues to remain relevant. Just like the father of Simon, anyone can be considered a terrorist, even though they’re just fighting for their rights and lands,” said James, whose previous works includes A Letter to the Person I Have Met on Tinder, graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Cynthia Saluba was named the Silver winner for Day of Danger (Petsa de Peligro), a dark comedy that revolves around a young woman who is forced to come out of her shell after she accidentally kills a man she was having an affair with. Cynthia hopes the film will make people think about the moral choices of these marginalised people.

Ken Leviste also received a special mention for Peter’s Last Semester, a film shot during the lockdown in Manila about an underprivileged graduating student struggling to cope with school demands during the pandemic.

The winners were picked by an international panel of judges that comprises film producer and founder of Indonesia-based Tanakhir Films, Mandy Marahimin; Filipino director, writer, and producer Jade Castro, whose directorial debut ‘Endo’ won the Cinemalaya Grand Jury Prize; and Los Angeles-based film festival programmer Eseel Borlasa, who has executed film festival campaigns at Sundance, SXSW, TIFF, LA Film Festival and more.

Aside from the main awards, the Audience Choice Award went to Sixteen (DIECIS√ČIS) by Christian Paul Lim. The winner was chosen following a public voting that closed on September 10.

Coinciding with the Juree Awards was the launch of Viddsee’s Filipino podcast ‘Off Script’, which is aimed at film enthusiasts who want to learn anything and everything about films through conversations with industry experts. The podcast is available now on Spotify and Anchor, and will soon be available on Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.

Gold Winner
The Boy Who Bleeds In The Middle Of The Sea 
Director: James Allen Fajardo
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Citation by Jury: A meditative film that leaves the audience with a desire to know more, this coming-of-age is set against the backdrop of land-grabbing, abuse of authority and personal injustice that comes with the curious case of a teenage boy. Like a storm that melts away before it makes landfall, this film set in a disputed coastal community had brewing issues left for the audience to resolve.

Silver Winner
Day Of Danger (Petsa de Peligro)
 Director: Cynthia Saluba
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Citation by Jury: A beautifully assembled film thanks to its sleek editing, great actors and exciting pace that’s very accessible, this dark comedy about a young prostitute who accidentally killed a dirty old politician in the middle of an intercourse, was indeed a success in many departments.
Special Mention 
Peter’s Last Semester
Director: Ken Leviste
Click here to watch
Citation by Jury: One of the silent casualties of the pandemic, access to education is right under everyone’s noses in this deeply divided country. Shot entirely during lockdown, with the director juggling as his own actor, this emotionally-charged film makes it crystal clear how education favors the privileged more so during this time.

Growing up pains and memories take centrestage - Juree Awards Indonesia 2020

Two outstanding Indonesian short films, Har and 50:50’ were honoured at the Viddsee Juree Awards Indonesia 2020, which was held virtually for the first time, was broadcasted live on Viddsee, YouTube, and Vidio on October 8. The Gold winner is Luhki Herwanayogi for Har, which centres on a lonely boy who lives with his jobless father, while longing for his absent mother who is working as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. The film is set in 1998, when Indonesia faced an uncertain future amidst civic unrest and political turmoil. The film is no stranger to the film festival circuit, having been nominated in the Piala Citra Best Short Film category in the Indonesia Film Festival 2018, and was screened at the Busan International Short Film Festival 2019, as well as the 13th International Children Film Festival Bangladesh 2020. Luhki, who runs his own production company Catchlight Pictures Indonesia, and community-based production house cre8pictures, shared that the film was inspired by his childhood interactions with his father, which led him to re-examine the past and his relationship. 

Rofie Fauzie was named the Silver winner for 50:50, a documentary that spotlights Indonesia’s transvestite community through the personal story of Dona, an ageing transvestite living in a halfway house. It was also nominated in the Indonesia Film Festival 2019 for Best Short Documentary Film. Rofie, a documentarian who graduated from the Indonesian Cultural Arts Institute (ISBI) Bandung, hopes that this film will shed more light and empathy towards the transgender community living on the margins. 

Philipus Maliobowo also received the Audience Choice Award for Koper Gendis "Finding Answer Measuring Question", which revolves around a 9-year-old girl who seeks to understand her father’s abusive behaviour against his mother. The winner was chosen following a public voting that closed on Sept 14. 

The winners were picked by an international panel of judges comprising Filipina producer Armi Rae Cacanindin, whose short film Employee of the Month premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week; festival programmer, film writer, and producer Paolo Bertolin, whose resume include international festivals and institutions such as IFFRotterdam, the Doha Film Institute, Mumbai, Beijing, and Torino Film Festivals; and Indonesian filmmaker Yosep Anggi Noen, whose film ‘Peculiar Vacation and Other Illnesses’ was nominated for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival. 

Coinciding with the Juree Awards is the launch of Viddsee’s Indonesian podcast ‘Difinisee’, which features frank discussions with filmmakers on the local filmmaking industry. The podcast is available now on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts. 

Gold Winner 
Director: Luhki Herwanayogi
Click here to watch
Citation by Jury: The panel of judges decides recognises a film that gracefully reminds us on the periphery of history, life goes on. And sometimes, the big events of history affect the life of a little child. The gold award goes to Har by Luhki Herwanayogi.
Silver Winner 
Director: Rofie Fauzie
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Citation by Jury: For its daring move to present the life of the older generation, of the transexual community, sincerely capturing the fear of growing alone and that its not knowing its own sexual orientation, for its portrayal to finding hope through the company of each other, the Silver award goes to ‘50:50’ by Rofie Fauzie. We hope by this recognition we help to normalise the feeling of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Genres galore and sensitive issues - Juree Awards Singapore 2020

The third edition of Viddsee Juree Singapore features 10 entertaining and thoughtful short films. The nominated films were submitted by a range of independent filmmakers, who covered a range of genres, including dark comedies, family drama, horror, animation and more. Among the finalists are comedies Teo Beh Pio by Sherry Yap, Two Men In A Room by Zheng Xiang Ang, and Who Stole Tua Pek Kong? by Goh Ying Sheng; dramas Hiding Birds by Danica Pablo; Better Together by Phoebe Ho, and Huan Express by Simin Lee. Horror was also a genre represented by Paranoia by Jonathan Cheok and Scar by James Fong. The list also includes The Kitchlets, an animation by Clarisse Chua, and a documentary, Beyond Words by Amanda Chang.

The filmmakers in this year’s list comprise of relative newcomers to the filmmaking world as well as experienced hands. Among the more notable filmmakers are Goh Ying Sheng, whose 2011 short film ‘Project Home’ was nominated for Best Screenplay at ciNE65; Jonathan Cheok, who is known for his YouTube channel, Cheokboardstudios; producer, actor and director James Fong, whose accolades include the Best Actor Award by the National Youth Film Awards.

The finalists also include graduates from schools such as the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University; Temasek Polytechnic; The School of Art, Design and Media in Nanyang Technological University; Lasalle College of The Arts; and the California Institute of the Art.

Two top entries will be named Gold and Silver winners, who will be picked by an international panel of judges comprising Kiki Fung, the programmer for the Hong Kong International Film Festival; Filipino producer Alemberg Ang, who has produced award-winning films such as Liway and 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten; Singaporean producer Juan Foo, who produced Return To Pontianak, Perth and the-soon-to-be released Circle Line, Singapore’s first monster film.

Said Nikki Loke, Viddsee’s Head of Content: “We’re excited to see such a wide range of accomplished films that were submitted for our third Juree Awards Singapore. What struck us about this year’s finalists was their capacity to highlight various pertinent issues, from sexuality and politics to the pandemic and mental health in entertaining ways, while capturing the intimate nuances of local culture that can only come from passionate filmmakers.”

An All Virtual Juree Awards Supported by Podcasts, Screenings and More
This year will also be the first time the Viddsee Juree Awards Singapore will be held exclusively online, with the awards ceremony streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Viddsee on November 21. In the lead up, the Awards will be supported by various activities including online film screenings and Juree-edition episodes of Viddsee’s All Credits Due podcast featuring interviews with judges. The podcast is available now on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.

Aside from the main winners, finalists and out-of-competition films can also vie for the Audience Choice Award, which will be picked based on the most number of ‘likes’ it receives on The voting period for the Audience Choice Awards is held from October 5 - 26. The Audience Choice Award winner will take home an Apple TV and Audience Choice certificate.

Finalists of the Juree Awards Singapore 2020

All finalists films are available to watch here

Who Stole Tua Pek Kong?
Director​: Goh Ying Sheng
Click here to watch
Synopsis​: When a “lucky” statue went missing, the community dissolve into a group of finger-pointing individuals. Watch to find out how erroneous stereotypes can be!

Hiding Birds
Director​: Danica Pablo
Click here to watch
Synopsis​: ‘Hiding Birds’ is a coming-of-age drama about a young Malay girl named Leila, who is torn between pursuing her relationship with a Filipino woman and following her traditional parents’ beliefs. Set in the backdrop of 1993 when Singapore was in the heat of criminalising homosexuality, ‘Hiding Birds’ hopes to explore the struggles of fighting oppression of freedom in choosing a person’s preferred sexual identity, while confronting the internal battles of moral relativity that heavily involves the basic foundation of one’s identity: family and tradition.

The Kitchlets
Director​: Clarisse Chua
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis​: Mina lives alone in her apartment accompanied by three little house spirits, the Kitchlets, who feed off her positive emotions and take care of her negative ones.

Two Men In A Room
Director​: Zheng Xiang Ang
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis:​ In a world where the ghosts come back during the hungry ghost festival, Tim tries to impress a girl with a song he wrote, but is met with different kinds of setbacks during his grandfather (Ah Hock’s) stay in Tim’s room. A huge fight unexpectedly brings them both together as a team to fulfil Tim’s goal in playing a show for her.

Better Together
Director​: Phoebe Ho
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis​: Rachel Tan is a young female candidate in the Singapore General Elections. With the media hot on her heels and the weight of family responsibilities on her shoulders, will votes still swing in her favour? 'Better Together' is a short film featuring your everyday Singaporean family, amidst a not so everyday event - the General Elections.

Director​: Jonathan Cheok
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis​: In the month of April 2020, during the Covid-19 circuit breaker lock-down in Singapore, an overly paranoid housewife, Mary, seeks help from her neighbours to build a post apocalyptic safe-house to protect her son from the impending pandemic that's sweeping across the globe.

Huan Express
Director​: Si Min Lee
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Synopsis​: Lee Jun Wei is a Year 2 junior college student who struggles academically. As A-Levels is nearing, Jun Wei can’t seem to catch up. Everything seems to be spiralling out of control until he bumps into Huan- a mysterious old man who runs a magical thrift shop. Huan convinces Jun Wei to exchange his precious items for good results. When Jun Wei's results improve, he begins to rely on Huan by exploiting this magical phenomenon. Yet, the only problem is that his grades never exceed a B. Only then does he discover the price he must pay to get an A – his most precious memories.

Beyond Words
Director​: Amanda Chang
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis​: ‘Beyond Words’ follows the Ng family on their journey caring for their 13-year-old daughter Amelia, who has a rare degenerative condition. The film centers around the strong relationships that hold the family together, in particular Amelia’s bond with her older sister, Amanda. Amanda chose to be homeschooled to spend more time with Amelia, and also dedicates her time to advocating for those with special needs and their siblings.

Director​: James Fong
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis​: Guan is a young father who has been out of a job for 5 years and struggling to regain custody of his daughter. Desperate, he lands a job as a content moderator responsible for filtering some of the most disturbing and horrifying online content. However, he is about to find out that the company hides its own gruesome past, and it’s knocking at the door.

Teo Beh Pio
Director​: Sherry Yap
Click here to watch​ ​
Synopsis​: Madam Teo, a seasoned 4D buyer and also a superstitious middle aged widow, is well known for her nickname “Teo Beh Pio”. (In Hokkien, “Tio Beh Pio” means winning the lottery.) On an unlucky day when she misses the first prize by a number jump, she decides to meet a famous wise medium, who then gives her a lucky fortune stick and advises her to look out for cars.
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