ShoutOUT! Animation works dominate student works in this year's National Youth Film Awards in Singapore


To Kill the Birds and The Bees

For the first time since its inception, animation films and filmmakers from the student category received the most awards from Best Art Direction to Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Original Music at the 7th National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) 

Live action films, on the other hand, won the most awards from Best Sound Design to Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Original Music for the Open Youth category. 

Hosted by *SCAPE, an organisation that supports the development of Singaporean youths, NYFA awards youth filmmakers and films for 23 different categories, including Best Actress and Best Actor. 

NYFA also presents its third Youth Inspiration Award recipient - an award given to recognise and honour a young industry professional who has made exemplary contributions towards the filmmaking industry in Singapore and is committed to nurturing the next generation of filmmakers. 

NYFA 2021 received over 300 submissions. The most prominent discussions and themes the youth filmmakers brought forth this year were self-identity and mental health. Some of the films were filmed completely while at home, taking creativity to the next level. 

Animation short film, ‘To Kill the Birds and The Bees’, by Calleen Koh Yee Lin from LASALLE College of Arts won the Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay and Best Original Music awards. 

To Kill the Birds and The Bees

 The animation film follows three separate stories of four average Singaporeans – a pair of young twins, a secondary school prefect, and a conservative housewife. Each story focuses on these average Singaporeans’ sexual encounters in their day. 

Full Circle

The Best Animation award from the Student category went to ‘Full Circle’ by Yeow Su Xian of Nanyang Technological University. The film is about the Moon and Earth’s relationship. It takes the audience on a journey through a sleepless, semi- conscious moonlit night. 

From the Open Youth category, ‘Dark Light’ by Vikneshwaran Silva won the Best Cinematography and Best Director awards. The film follows a construction worker in Singapore’s unforgettable misadventure on his day off in the red light district. 

Dark Light

The youth actor who played the protagonist in 'Dark Light’, Gosteloa Spancer, received the Best Actor award for his performance. 

This year, a total of 21 industry veteran jurors from the region took part in NYFA. 

“Having an empowered upbringing has nurtured savoir faire in these youths’ art,” said returning juror and producer, Juan Foo. “We can see how they are leveraging digital technology to craft films and spread them exponentially. I look forward to seeing how these upcoming filmmakers will tell stories that resonate with audiences, aside from being able to entertain, inform or inspire.” 

Film and television actor, and first-time juror, Oon Shu An said, “I look forward to seeing these youth filmmakers’ fire and daring approach to storytelling well into the future. I am excited to see how far their voices will take them.” 

The NYFA 2021 Youth Inspiration Award went to Tan Si En (pictured above). Not only is she the winner for NYFA 2020 Best Live Action Award from the Open Youth category, she has also produced several award-winning films including Anthony Chen's ‘Wet Season’ and Kirsten Tan's ‘POP AYE’. Her commitment to discover emerging Southeast Asian filmmakers led to her founding of Momo Film Co, which has since produced award-winning short film projects that have been screened at major festivals such as Locarno Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival. 

Most recently, she spearheaded the Objectifs short film incubator and Momo Distribution Grant. Si En was also involved at the NYFA Conference this year where she hosted a workshop on how youths can market their short films. 

"The National Youth Film Awards has been a pivotal platform for young filmmakers in Singapore,” said Si En. “The team inspires the film community, encourages filmmakers and future generations to pursue their passion in cinema. I am appreciative of the immense support that I received from NYFA as a participant, the opportunities to share as a panellist speaker, and now as the Youth Inspiration Award recipient. I look forward to working continually with NYFA and to contribute by giving back to the local and regional film community." 

Student Category 

Best Director – Strange Occurrences: Bukit Bulabu 
Wong Shi Teng, Hana Lee and Gloria Yeo Jia Min Nanyang Technological University 

Best Sound Design – Skeletons In The Closet 
Heng Jing Yu Nanyang Technological University 

Best Art Direction – To Kill the Birds & the Bees 
Calleen Koh Yee Lin LASALLE College Of The Arts 

Best Editing – GIRLS 
Jacob Tan Ngee Ann Polytechnic 

Best Screenplay – To Kill the Birds & the Bees 
Calleen Koh Yee Lin LASALLE College Of The Arts 

Best Cinematography – 释怀 (Holding On, Letting Go) 
Eddison Kuah Ngee Ann Polytechnic 

Best Original Music – To Kill the Birds & the Bees 
Matthias Teh En LASALLE College Of The Arts 

Best Live Action – Rocketship 
Peh Jia Qi Nanyang Technological University 

Best Documentary – Sum of Our Parts 
Nigel Phua Nanyang Technological University 

Best Animation – Full Circle 
Yeow Su Xian Nanyang Technological University 

Special Mention – Rocketship 
Isaac Loong Zen Yu Nanyang Technological University 

Open Category 

Best Director – Dark Light 
Vikneshwaran Silva 

Best Sound Design – Tuition 
Alistair Quak 

Best Art Direction – The Visit Gloria 
Yeo Jia Min 

Best Editing – Sleep Is A Waste Of Time 
Jeremie Lim 

Best Screenplay – Bulan 
Syamsul Bahari 

Best Cinematography – Dark Light 
Sadesh Nambiar 

Best Original Music – The Cabbage Statue 
Anirvin Narayan 

Best Live Action – Tuition 
Lee Yi Jia 

Best Documentary – Last Day Today 
Chen Wenting 

Best Animation – The Visit 
Jerrold Chong 

Special Mention – Would This Be Too Much To Ask For? 
Lan Yu & Lim Joo Hwee 

Student and Open Category 

Best Actor – Dark Light 
Gosteloa Spancer 

Best Actress – GIRLS 
Dewy Choo
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