SGIFF Unveils 147 Films From 50 Countries

Filmgoers can expect a more compact programme with an Asian focus, while filmmakers can look forward to in-depth industry discussions 

28 October 2014, SINGAPORE – The 25th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) unveiled the titles of 147 feature and short films from 50 countries, meticulously selected from over 1,000 entries received by the festival.

The films will be screened across 11 sections – Opening and Closing Films; Special Presentation; Silver Screen Awards; Filmmaker in Focus; Singapore Panorama; Asian Vision; Cinema Today; Documentary; Imagine; Classics; and A Tribute to Im Kwon-Taek.

SGIFF also announced some 25 films world premiering at the festival including About a Woman (Asian Vision), Journey to the Mother (Cinema Today) and The Undertaker (Documentary). There will also be close to 20 Asian premieres. Ken Kwek’s Unlucky Plaza, which was sold out at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, will open the festival.

SGIFF, to be held from December 4 to 14, focuses on groundbreaking Asian cinema and discovering new film talents from Southeast Asia (SEA). SGIFF is known for its dynamic film programming and commitment to the development of a vibrant local film culture.

Yuni Hadi, Executive Director of SGIFF said: “The festival’s focus has always been to have a strong emphasis on Asia and Southeast Asia. What’s different this year is having a brand new team to look at Asian cinema from a fresh perspective. Through our submissions this year, we’ve discovered first-time debut features, as well as young filmmakers who have chosen to tell stories about their countries in a very reflective and sincere fashion.”

Zhang Wenjie, Festival Director of SGIFF said: “For a festival like ours, it is about finding an original voice that stands out amidst the information clutter we all live in. Audiences will be able to discover films that have a distinct expression, and directors who articulate their narratives with a clear vision. Ultimately, we want to deliver a programme that is more compact and focused.”

Singapore Panorama

This section celebrates Singapore cinema, and the offering this year illustrates the festival’s commitment to growing the Singapore film community. It features a cross section of the local film community, from festival regulars Royston Tan and Kan Lume, to innovative filmmakers such as Lei Yuan Bin and Liao Jiekai.

Directors Rick Aw and Jason Lai will showcase their debut features – Standing in Still Water, and Ms J Contemplates Her Choice with singer and actress Kit Chan in her first lead role in a feature film.

Fans of the art rock, experimental and electronica band The Observatory can look forward to a documentary by Chris Yeo, The Obs: A Singapore Story. Meanwhile, for something lighter, opt for director Han Yew Kuang’s Rubbers, a sex comedy starring actress Yeo Yann Yann.

Silver Screen Awards

In addition to the Asian Feature Film category, the competition section introduced a new component this year, the Southeast Asian Short Film category. In total, 30 films have been nominated for the awards, including 19 for the SEA Short Film category.

Zhang said: “By introducing a regional short film category, our intention is to discover new filmmaking talents who have great potential at the start of their career. In short, the festival aims to play a role in identifying and forecasting the next generation of filmmakers who possess star quality.”

Highlights of the Asian Feature Film category include Alive, a three-hour movie shot under harsh winter conditions, sees director Park Jung-bum acting as the protagonist. Meanwhile, female director Natsuka Kusan will have her first debut feature Antonym, a drama that revolves around human connection. Another film to look out for is the understated W, Chonlasit Upanigkit’s directorial debut.

Highlights Not to Be Missed

  • Following its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival recently, Décor (Filmmaker in Focus) by Ahmad Abdalla El Sayed Abdelkader, will have its Asian premiere at SGIFF.
  • Stage Sisters (Classics), made at the cusp of the Cultural Revolution, is a renowned Chinese film and among the most acclaimed works of award-winning director Xie Jin.
  • From What is Before (Asian Vision) by Lav Diaz will be a rare film experience given its five-hour length.
  • Court (Silver Screen Awards) by Chaitanya Tamhane centers around the justice system in India.
  • Nidhanaya, The Treasure (Classics) by Lester James Peries, a rare 1972 masterpiece, was originally thought to be lost but a copy was later found in 2013 and restored.
  • Lei Yuan Bin’s 03 FLATS (Singapore Panorama) is an intimate yet quiet and observational documentary that invites audiences to observe the lives of three very different women without any prejudice.
  • The Kalampag Tracking Agency (Imagine) curated by Shireen Seno and Merv Espina, scrutinizes the video art scene in the Philippines.
  • Mandala (A Tribute to Im Kwon-Taek) is prolific South Korean director Im KwonTaek’s first masterpiece about enlightenment and the self.
  • The Voice of the Voiceless (Cinema Today) by Maximón Monihan tells the story of human trafficking and the hearing impaired, and interestingly carries no dialogue.
  • Andrea Capranico’s The Undertaker (Documentary) will have its world premiere at SGIFF, examining the lives of a community who make cemeteries their home.
  • In the Absence of the Sun (Closing Film) by Lucky Kuswandi, was selected as the closing film for its outstanding display of filmmaking craft, particularly given it is only Kuswandi’s second feature. The film touches on contemporary Indonesia’s social issues with a good balance of hope and optimism.

A Welcoming Return

It has been two years since the last festival was held, and the local and regional film community, as well as the supporting industries have welcomed its return.

Hadi said: “We want to expand the conversation on filmmaking, encourage in-depth exchanges and create a vibrant festival. Each audience will take away a different experience. And from a festival standpoint, that experience will be heartfelt and intense.”

Zhang concluded: “The city will be transformed during the 11-day festival – there will be cutting-edge films, excitement, and emotions will be stirred.”

Support from Sponsors

SGIFF has received strong support from sponsors including the Media Development Authority of Singapore (Host), Marina Bay Sands (Presenter), Chaumet (Official Watch & Jewellery), Remy Martin (Official Spirits), Mocha Chai Lab (Official Technology Partner), Singapore Airlines (Official Airline), BIG Hotel (Official Hotel), Sundance Channel (Official TV) and Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific (Awards Presenter/Festival Supporter).

Angeline Poh

Angeline Poh, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry) of Media Development Authority of Singapore

“We are excited to see the Singapore International Film Festival make a strong comeback under the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) this year, with a highly anticipated festival line-up that will delight both industry players and film enthusiasts alike. SGIFF’s quality selection of the best works from Southeast Asia and the world will further strengthen SMF’s position as Asia’s next must-attend media event to discover the latest trends, talent and hidden gems from the region.”

George Tanasijevich

President and CEO, Marina Bay Sands

“Marina Bay Sands is honored to present the Singapore International Film Festival to celebrate film and filmmakers from around the world. As a strong advocate for Singapore’s art and cultural scene, we are proud to play a part in the discovery of new film talent by showcasing the best of Asian cinema in our world-class venues.”

Thierry Fritsch

President, Chaumet

“Chaumet supports creativity and talent and we are proud to be a partner of the Singapore International Film Festival”.

Xavier Desaulles

Regional Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Middle East & India, Rémy Cointreau International Pte Ltd

“As the official spirit sponsor for Singapore International Film Festival 2014, Rémy Martin is thrilled at this chance to show once again our long time support and love of the film industry. From our very first partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, which started 11 years ago, the spirit of Rémy Martin is one that celebrates the craft of cinema and inspires excellence and prestige. With a focus on discovering local talents within emerging Asian cinema, we are proud to be a part of this year’s SGIFF and look forward to supporting the festival’s rebirth and rejuvenation in the coming months.”

Chai Yee-Wei

Director, Mocha Chai Laboratories

“Mocha Chai Lab is excited and proud to be a part of SGIFF, providing our expertise in Post Production and Digital Cinema to ensure that all the filmmakers’ works are shown in the best quality possible.”

Foo Chai Woo

Divisional Vice President Sales & Marketing, Singapore Airlines

“Singapore Airlines prides itself on having one of the widest selections of in-flight entertainment options on KrisWorld, our award-winning in-flight entertainment system. Customers can enjoy the best films from around the world on board which we have carefully selected based on their varied preferences. This includes our dedicated Arthouse category where we offer an exquisite curation of art films. We are pleased to be offered this opportunity to be the official airline partner and to be able to support filmmakers at the 25th Singapore International Film Festival this year.”

Andy Ong

Chairman, ERC Holdings

“BIG Hotel, which is part of the ERC Holdings Group that includes our education arm, ERC Institute (ERCI), is proud to be the official hotel of the Singapore International Film Festival. Together with ERCI and in line with our position to support local arts-related initiatives, we are thrilled to back this global platform to nurture promising filmmakers and showcase their films to local and international audience.”

Geraud Alazard

Vice President, Marketing, AMC Networks International

“Sundance Channel is extremely proud and excited to be the official TV partner of the 25th Singapore International Film Festival. The festival has established itself as a premiere source and curator of outstanding original film and we are delighted to partner with them as we honor and celebrate creativity together.”

Max Kang

General Manager, Broadcast Regional Operation Center, Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific

“Panasonic is glad to be back with SGIFF this year as this gives us an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the filmmakers around the region. We are also very excited to be able to showcase our entourage of new 4K cameras, which include the Varicam 35 and GH4U. With these new products adding on to our existing models, Panasonic is committed to continue our support to the film industry and we look forward to seeing more great films in the Asia and Southeast Asia region.”

Screening Venues: 

The festival will take place at multiple screening venues including Marina Bay Sands, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Museum of Singapore, The Projector (formerly Golden Theatre) and The Arts House. 

Ticketing Information: 

Tickets for SGIFF are available at all Sistic outlets, Website: www.sistic.com.sg and Hotline: +65 6348 5555.

  • Opening / Closing Films $25
  • Special Presentation Films $15 
  • All Other Films $12

* Ticket prices exclude Sistic booking fee

Discounts & Concessions:

  • Students, Senior Citizens and NSF – $1 discount for Opening / Closing Films 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.

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

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/

About the Media Festival

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/

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