Learn first-hand from our directors-in-attendance and guest filmmakers as they share their experiences and insights on their career beginnings and love for film.


8 DEC, SAT / 11:00AM – 12:00PM / 60 MIN

Described as the ‘one-man third wave of Mexican cinema’, filmmaker Carlos Reygadas is a leading voice in contemporary Mexican cinema. Known for his critically acclaimed works Japón, Silent Light and Battle in Heaven, his films channel the sensations, dreams and spiritual journeys of his characters, evoking such themes as love, suffering, death and the meaning of life. Discover Reygadas’s cinematic influences, aesthetic theories and hopes for the future of Mexican cinema.

Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas’s films take a deep dive into expressionistic neo-realism. Reygadas made four short films in Belgium before filming the feature Japón (2002), which received a Special Mention for the Caméra d’Or prize at Cannes Film Festival. Reygadas’s success at Cannes has continued throughout his career, as he premiered Battle in Heaven (2005) in competition, won the Jury Prize for Silent Light (2007) and won Best Director for Post Tenebras Lux (2012).


8 DEC, SAT / 4:30PM – 5:30PM / 60 MIN

A key figure of the Hong Kong New Wave, Stanley Kwan is a leading light of Hong Kong cinema. His directorial debut, Women, along with later works such as Rouge and Actress, are celebrated by critics and cinephiles alike. Kwan’s complex storytelling explores contemporary sentiments of identity and history with nuanced depictions of sexuality. In this masterclass, we find out what keeps Kwan going in his artistic pursuits, how he continues to reinvent his directing style and how he imparts knowledge to the younger generation.

Stanley Kwan began his career at TVB. Rouge (1987), his third film, won him a substantial international audience. After that, Actress (1991) won the Best Actress prize at the Berlin International Film Festival for Maggie Cheung, and Hold You Tight (1997) won both the Alfred Bauer Prize for innovation and the Teddy Award for best LGBT feature, again in Berlin. In 2001, he was awarded Best Director at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards for Lanyu. Directing as well as producing, he is now one of the most prominent players within the Hong Kong film industry.


9 DEC, SUN / 11:00AM – 12:00PM / 60 MIN

First introduced in 2014, the SGIFF Honorary Award is the Festival’s highest honour, acknowledging filmmakers who have made exceptional and enduring contributions to Asian cinema. Past recipients have been father of modern Korean cinema Im Kwon-taek, influential Iranian New Wave filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, social realist Hong Kong director Fruit Chan, and pioneering Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho. This year, we pay homage to humanist Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh.

Rithy Panh was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1964. A survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocides, to which he lost part of his family, he is considered one of the most acclaimed documentary filmmakers worldwide.

After fleeing Cambodia to Thailand in 1979, Panh arrived in France as an orphan aged 16. He later graduated from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinématographiques. Since then, he has devoted himself to a unique body of work consisting of documentaries and feature films dedicated to remembrance of the traumatic legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Adopting a personal approach in his filmmaking, he has chronicled his country’s history through films including Rice People (1994), The Missing Picture (2013)—winner of the Cannes Un Certain Regard Prize and Cambodia’s first film to be nominated for an Academy Award—and S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003). He also served as producer on Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father (2017).

As an extension to his filmmaking activities, Panh co-founded the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in 2006 to protect Cambodia’s audiovisual heritage and train young Cambodian filmmakers, archivists and technicians. He received an honorary doctorate in 2011 from the University of Paris-VIII, the Preservation and Scholarship Award from the International Documentary Association in 2014, and the Peace Prize at the 36th Fajr International Film Festival.

The 29th SGIFF is proud to confer this year’s Honorary Award to Rithy Panh for his considerable contribution to cinema.