Immerse In The Stories Of Asia And The World At 27th SGIFF

  • The 27th SGIFF will screen 161 feature and short films from 52 countries, with 16 world premieres, 9 international premieres and 18 Asian premieres
  • Catch Special Presentation Films, Mrs K, by award-winning Malaysian filmmaker Ho Yuhang, and Indonesia’s renowned director Nia Dinata’s romantic comedy Three Sassy Sisters
  • Discover hidden gems in independent cinema from Estonian animation shorts, Nepalese shorts to Latin American cinema, in addition to its regular film sections
  • Meet Darren Aronofsky, American director of psychological horror film Black Swan, and Hong Kong veteran actor Simon Yam, recipient of the Cinema Legend Award at the Silver Screen Awards held at the Marina Bay Sands
Image courtesy of Singapore International Film Festival

Singapore, 27 October 2016 – The 27th edition of Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is set to serve up an interesting feast for the senses with a carefully curated selection of films and public programmes to tell the region’s stories and share the art of filmmaking. This was announced by the Festival at a media conference held at the National Museum of Singapore today.

As the leading international film platform in Southeast Asia, SGIFF, which is part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF), brings together a rich mix of independent filmmaking talent to showcase the region’s stories through film, throughout Asia and beyond. SGIFF also allows established and emerging filmmakers and industry players to interact and exchange ideas, ultimately contributing to the growth of the region’s cinema. This year’s SGIFF will present 161 feature and short films from 52 countries, across 13 sections – Opening, Special Presentation, Silver Screen Awards, Singapore Panorama, Asian Vision, Cinema Today, Imagine, Classics, Focus: Mutating Mythologies – Hybrid Cinema of Latin America, For Nizam: A Retrospective, Focus: Naomi Kawase, Tribute to Fruit Chan and An Evening with Darren Aronofsky. There will also be 16 world premieres, 9 international premieres and 18 Asian premieres across the various sections of the festival.

This include the Asian premiere of SGIFF’s opening film at Marina Bay Sands, Interchange (2016) – a noir fantasy thriller by one of Malaysia’s most celebrated filmmakers Dain Iskandar Said; the world premieres of four new features by Singapore directors such as Kan Lume, Min-Wei Ting and Sam Loh under Singapore Panorama; the world premiere of Hooly Bible II (2016) by Chinese auteur and Golden Leopard winner Li Hongqi who examines the violence and apathy in China; the world premiere of Walking Street (2016) by prolific Korean provocateur Lee Sang-woo and stars Korean heartthrob Baek Sung-hyun (Blades of Blood and Korean drama Doctors); and the Asian premiere of The Woman Who Left (2016), the latest opus by Filipino director Lav Diaz about social disparity which won the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. Other noteworthy works from the lineup comprise the international premiere of Voyage of Terengganu (2016) by pioneering Malaysian New Wave director Amir Muhammad who is making a return to filmmaking after a 7-year hiatus, and Badrul Hisham Ismail; award-winning, Vietnamese-born French film director Tran Anh Hung’s first French film Eternity (2016) that stars French actresses Audrey Tautou, Melanie Laurent and Berenice Bejo; and I, Daniel Blake (2016) by British filmmaker Ken Loach which won the Palme d’Or as the best feature film at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. 

Award-winning Malaysian director Ho Yuhang premieres his latest film Mrs K in Singapore

The 27th SGIFF will also welcome Malaysian director Ho Yuhang with his new film Mrs K (2016) as a Special Presentation Film after its recent world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival 2016 with a sold-out reception.

Starring iconic Hong Kong martial arts actress Kara Wai as the titular character, Hong Kong veteran actor Simon Yam, Malaysian actor Faizal Hussein and Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai, the Malaysia-Hong Kong co-production follows a housewife, whose ordinary life is shaken up when former enemies reappear from her past, and she has to give everything she has to protect her husband and daughter.

Mrs K sees both Ho and Wai collaborating for the second time, after the award-winning At the End of Daybreak (2009), which garnered seven awards for Wai, including Best Supporting Actress at the 46th Golden Horse Awards. Ho, Wai and Wu will be in attendance for the Singapore premiere on 27 November 2016 at the Capitol Theatre.

SGIFF’s third Special Presentation Film Three Sassy Sisters is an homage to Indonesian musical classic Tiga Dara

SGIFF will also showcase a third Special Presentation Film this year, which centres on female empowerment. Three Sassy Sisters (2016) by Indonesian director Nia Dinata reimagines the lead characters from housewives into career-oriented professionals, as it highlights their strengths and individuality as modern women within the confines of traditional family values. 

Featuring catchy musical numbers, the film pairs some of Indonesia’s rising stars with cinema and television veterans. The ensemble cast includes actor/singer Rio Dewanto; actor and rockstar from the band Channel, Reuben Elishama; Indonesian acting heavyweight Ray Sahetapy; and most notably, singing and song writing legend Titiek Puspa, who is returning onscreen after a 30-year absence. Three Sassy Sisters is an homage to Tiga Dara, the musical classic by legendary Indonesian director Usmar Ismail, which will also be screened at SGIFF under the Classics section.

Unearthing Gems in Independent Cinema

In addition to screening films from Asia, USA and Europe, SGIFF will also cast a spotlight on independent films from countries that audiences may be less familiar with, such as Estonian animation shorts, Nepalese shorts and Latin American Cinema. Featuring notable works including the world premiere of I_Mutating (2016) by Tiger Award winner Juan Daniel F. Molero, and the Asian premiere of Hermia & Helena (2016) – an imaginative Shakespearean-inspired feature by acclaimed Argentinian filmmaker Matías Piñeiro, the SGIFF will trace the experimentation and innovation journey in other parts of the world as they tell their stories through films and often establishing new waves in independent cinema in the process.

Sharing on this year’s film line-up, SGIFF Programme Director, Mr Zhang Wenjie, said, “This year we are thrilled to present Southeast Asian filmmakers such as Dain Iskandar Said and Ho Yuhang who are forging bold new paths and ways of making films in our region. These films expand the possibilities of Southeast Asian cinema and are testament to the vitality of our regional cinema. Audiences can also look forward to new features by masters such as Garin Nugroho, Lav Diaz, Tran Anh Hung, Naomi Kawase, Fruit Chan, Anurag Kashyap, Reha Erdem, Trinh Minh-ha, Kirill Serebrennikov, Kelly Reichardt and Ken Loach, many of whose earlier works were screened at our festival.”

“One of the greatest pleasures of experiencing a film festival is the discovery of new talents, and our festival has always championed new voices, especially from Southeast Asia and Asia. This year we also have a number of new filmmakers from countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Mongolia, Japan, Nepal, Turkey, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, USA, Latin America, Taiwan and Singapore featured across our various sections. We hope audiences will join us to discover the next generation of auteurs that will be shaping the landscape of cinema in the years to come,” Zhang added.

An Immersive Festival Experience with Renowned Industry Players

No film festival is complete without the community coming together to expand the conversation on filmmaking and exchange ideas to bring the industry forward. By connecting filmmakers to the industry and audiences, SGIFF hopes to expand the conversations on filmmaking, encourage greater collaborations and inspire the next generation of independent cinema. 

This year, SGIFF will organise a series of dialogue sessions with ArtScience Museum for ArtScience on Screen: In Conversation With. They include that with Darren Aronofsky, the director of Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Wrestler (2008) and Black Swan (2010). Known for his dark, edgy independent films that centre on characters with obsessive and self-destructive personalities, the award-winning American director, screenwriter and producer will be sharing his experiences and insights on filmmaking with festival goers at an In Conversation session. The festival will also screen his first feature film Pi, which won him the Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998, as part of An Evening with Darren Aronofsky.

The festival will also present the Cinema Legend Award to Hong Kong veteran actor Simon Yam. Introduced last year, the Cinema Legend Award recognises the body of work of Asian actors, celebrating the talent and outstanding achievements of the artists who bring Asia’s story to life on screen. A household name after starring in popular television series such as Return of the Condor Heroes (1983) and New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre (1986), Yam entered the film industry in 1987 and has since appeared in over 200 movies, becoming one of the most-respected, charismatic and sought-after leading actors. A meticulous and hardworking actor devoted to his craft, Yam proved to be one of Asia’s most versatile actors who participates in both blockbusters as well as independent arthouse cinema. Yam will also be sharing on his journey in acting and advices with festival goers at an In Conversation session at ArtScience Museum on 4 December.

Aspiring, emerging and established filmmakers will also be able to participate in the ‘Future of Cinema’ forum on the navigation of the digital space in presenting their works, which will feature speakers such as film strategist Missy Laney, Jared Geller, Executive Producer for HITRECORD – the community-sourced production company founded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Director of Programming at the Hawaii International Film Festival Anderson Le. The ‘SG Originals’ series of talks, a new initiative for SGIFF, will also feature topics such as working with actors, developing screenplays in Singapore, sound design and exploring virtual reality in short films.

A Connected Film Community with Growing Support 

SGIFF Executive Director, Ms Yuni Hadi, said, “The SGIFF continues to be a discovery ground and platform to connect independent films in Asia and beyond. As the longest-running international film platform in Southeast Asia, there is a continuous effort in fostering the understanding of our regional cinema and giving a voice to individuals through stories and dialogue, as we bring creators, thinkers, critics and audiences alike from all over the world to Singapore for this 12-day festival. This is more important now than ever as we meet, celebrate our diversity and grow the industry as one community. Because if we are not telling our stories, who will?”

The success of SGIFF is largely due to the strong support from a community of sponsors who strongly believe in nurturing film talent and celebrate the discovery of independent cinema. SGIFF is an event of the SMF, hosted by the Infocommunications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). SGIFF’s Official Sponsors also include returning Presenting Sponsor, Marina Bay Sands, Official Festival Time Partner, IWC Schaffhausen, and Official Airline Singapore Airlines.

“Asia is a fast-rising region for fresh talent and unique content for the global audience, and this year’s SGIFF line-up is testament to that. SGIFF continues to be an important partner of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), which is well-poised to open doors for the filmmaking community in a converged media environment – connecting them to new audiences and opportunities. We are excited to present Asia’s stories to the world stage through SMF.” said Ms Angeline Poh, IMDA’s Assistant Chief Executive, Content and Innovation Group. 

Mr George Tanasijevich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marina Bay Sands, said, “Marina Bay Sands is honoured to return as Presenting Sponsor for the 27th edition of the Singapore International Film Festival. Over the years, the festival has supported Asian cinema within the international community, and inspired budding filmmakers in the pursuit of their dreams. We recognise the importance of building the profile of Singapore’s vibrant Arts scene and at the same time, provide a platform for the festival to showcase Asia’s top talent to a wider audience. Through the many festival activities that will take place across the integrated resort, we hope to assist in sparking constructive discussions, igniting passion and inspiring those in the industry to continue pushing the boundaries of filmmaking.”

“We are pleased to be the Official Festival Time Partner of the 27th edition of the Singapore International Film Festival for the second year running. This wonderful partnership exemplifies IWC’s long-standing commitment to filmmaking, and underscores our ever-increasing commitment to the South East Asia region. It fills us with much pride to support such a significant event that endorses the passion and hard work of filmmakers across the region. Based on the parallels between the worlds of watchmaking and film, IWC has been involved with the film industry for years now. Both worlds are deeply immersed in tradition and pioneering spirit, and the mastery of each craftsmanship involves much skill and expertise. Films are all about storytelling, and so are IWC watches. Every watch tells a story about its provenance, culture and tradition,” said Managing Director of IWC South East Asia, Mr Matthieu Dupont.

The 27th edition of SGIFF, which runs from 23 November to 4 December 2016, will take place across various venues, including Marina Bay Sands, Capitol Theatre, National Museum of Singapore Gallery Theatre, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Gallery Singapore Auditorium, The Arts House Screening Room, Filmgarde Bugis+ and Objectifs Chapel Gallery. Ticket sales for SGIFF will begin on 28 October 2016. 

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Please refer to the appended annexes for more information.

For Media Enquiries, please contact: press.office@sgiff.com

Resources

About the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF)

Founded in 1987, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. It has become an iconic event in the local arts calendar that is widely attended by international film critics; and known for its dynamic programming and focus on ground-breaking Asian cinema for Singapore and the region. Committed to nurturing and championing local and regional talent, its competition component, the Silver Screen Awards, brings together emerging filmmakers from Asia and Southeast Asia while paying tribute to acclaimed cinema legends. With its mentorship programmes, masterclasses and dialogues with attending filmmakers, the Festival also serves as a catalyst for igniting public interest, artistic dialogue, and cultural exchanges in the art of filmmaking. The SGIFF is organised by the Singapore International Film Festival Ltd, a non-profit organisation with Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/sginternationalfilmfestival/

Annex A: Highlights of 27th Singapore International Film Festival

Opening Film

Interchange (2016)

By Dain Iskandar Said

The supernatural and the subterranean collide in the heart of a mysterious Malaysian metropolis.

Special Presentation

Mrs K (2016)

By Ho Yuhang

A violent past returns with a vengeance in Ho Yuhang’s exquisite urban western, buoyed by breakthrough performances from an iconic ensemble cast.

Three Sassy Sisters (2016)

By Nia Dinata

Girl power clashes with traditional family values in this fun and vibrant musical, inspired by Usmar Ismail’s classic from 1956.

The Road to Mandalay (2016)

By Midi Z

The will to survive overrides the most basic human desires in this uncompromising portrait of two illegal Burmese migrants.

Silver Screen Awards: Asian Features in Competition

A Yellow Bird (2016)

By K. Rajagopal

An uncompromising portrait of Singapore’s lumpenproletariat through the eyes of one man searching for salvation in a city that never forgives

By the Time It Gets Dark (2016)

By Anocha Suwichakompong

Anocha Suwichakornpong’s sophomore feature delicately blends the stories of several characters into a dreamlike meditation on time, memory and history.

Singapore Panorama

4 LOVE (2016)

By M Raihan Halim, Sam Loh, Gilbert Chan and Daniel Yam

An ardent collection of tales chronicling the journey of love, featuring a stellar lineup of local newcomers.

Ariel & Olivia (2016)

By Kan Lume

A charming feature that incisively channels the awkward fumbling of teenagers attempting to find their direction in life.

I’m Coming Up (2016)

By Min-Wei Ting

An immersive look inside an HDB block experienced in a single take.

Siew Lup (2016)

By Sam Loh

The second film in Sam Loh’s femme fatale trilogy is a steamy concoction of backstabbing intrigue of murderous delights.

For Nizam: A Retrospective

Keronchong for Pak Bakar (2008)

By Abdul Nizam

A lyrical ode to the 85-year-old Abu Bakar Ali, P.

Ramlee’s cinematographer during the golden age of the Malay film industry in the 1950s and 60s, this documentary is one of Nizam’s most personal and moving films.

Breaking the Ice (2014)

By Abdul Nizam

Centred on a filmed performance art by Singaporean artist Jeremy Hiah, Breaking the Ice deconstructs and reconfigures the footage with both imagined and actual images from the artist’s daily life, attempting to arrive at the essential truth of reality that eludes the lens of the camera.

Asian Vision

Walking Street (2016)

By Lee Sang-woo

Three Korean misfits find themselves in Pattaya in search of a home within a ruthless world.

The Woman Who Left (2016)

By Lav Diaz

Lav Diaz returns with this powerful Golden Lion winner that ruminates on social disparity in pre-millennial Philippines.

Hooly Bible II (2016)

By Li Hongqi

A stoic observation of everyday street conversations that cuts deep into the roots of apathy in China.

Cinema Today

Notes on Blindness (2016)

By Peter Middleton an James Spinney

A mesmerizing and meditative reflection about going blind, as recounted by a man forced to come to terms with his new reality.

Eternity (2016)

By Tran Anh Hung

A hypnotic tone poem of three generations of women as they weather the joys of birth and the tragedies of death across a hundred years.

I, Daniel Blake (2016)

By Ken Loach

A drama about two people caught in the flaws of the British welfare system, Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner moves with piercing verity.

Imagine

Forgetting Vietnam (2015)

By Trinh Minh-Ha

Fleeting and fluid images of Vietnam from past and present collide in this personal and poetic video diary.

Covets of An Outsider: Showcase of works by Toh Hun Ping (2004 – 2007)

By Toh Hun Ping

From employing stop-motion techniques to bleaching film strips, recycling old 35mm reels and scratching digital printouts of old photographs, film researcher Toh Hun Ping has been experimenting with various methods of image manipulation through his video works and short films.

Classics

Tiga Dara (1956)

By Usmar Ismail

An inter-generational comedy from a trailblazer in Indonesia’s cinematic history that dispels the stereotypes of the opposite sexes in love.

The Emerald Jungle (Mya Ganaing) (1934)

By Maung Tin Maung

Two ill-fated lovers must overcome the odds to be together amid crime and rebellion set in the jungles of Myanmar.

Focus: Mutating Mythologies – Hybrid Cinema of Latin America

I_Mutating (2016)

By Juan Daniel F. Molero

A hauntological dirge into an individual’s memories, assembled with the logic of cyberspace.

Hermia & Helena (2016)

By Matías Piñeiro

Shakespearean motifs tug at an Argentinian theatre practitioner’s strong of encounters in New York City.

The Corral and the Wind (2014)

By Miguel Hilari

A filmmaker negotiates his roots in an Andean village in an ethnographic documentary turned personal diary.

Focus: Naomi Kawase

Suzaku (1997)

By Naomi Kawase

This love letter to Kawase’s hometown is a sublime and tender contemplation of familial strength and gripping humanity.

An (2016)

By Naomi Kawase

Culinary and human passions are sensitively threaded together in Kawase’s much loved treatise on the healing power of empathy.

Tribute to Fruit Chan

Little Cheung (1999)

By Fruit Chan

A heartrending coming-of-age drama layered with nuanced political subtext that moves gently with veracity and earnestness.

My City (2015)

By Fruit Chan

Fruit Chan’s debut documentary feature is a warm and quirky insight into the life of Xi Xi, one of Hong Kong’s most beloved writers.

An Evening with Darren Aronofsky

Pi (1998)

By Darren Aronofsky

The first of Darren Aronofsky’s esoteric film canon is a cult classic and an essential American independent film shot on 16mm.

A Commission of the Singapore International Film Festival

The Pursuit of a Happy Human Life (2016)

By Gladys Ng

Unspoken affection and awkward conversations fill the last day two best friends spend together.

Annex B: Ticketing Information

Tickets for SGIFF go on sale from 28 October 2016 at all SISTIC outlets, its website www.sistic.com.sg and hotline +65 6348 5555.

Tickets for the Opening Film, Interchange, and Special Presentation Film, The Road to Mandalay, are also available through marinabaysands.com/ticketing and the Marina Bay Sands MasterCard Theatres Box Office.

Ticket PricePrice
Opening Film$25
Special Presentation Film$15
All Other Films$12
‘Imagine’ film screeningsPay as you wish
Masterclasses, In Conversion & TalksRefundable registration fee $5 at sgiff2016.peatix.com
*Ticket prices exclude SISTIC booking fee

Discounts & Concessions

  • Students, senior citizens and NSF – $1 discount for Opening Film and $0.50 discount for other films.
  • General Public – every booking of 10 tickets or more in a single receipt is entitled to a 10% discount.