October 23, 2018

The 29th Singapore International Film Festival Celebrates Asian Cinematic Magic

Discover the magic of cinema at SGIFF 2018 with over 100 film screenings and offscreen programmes dedicated to nurturing Asian cinematic talents and engaging audiences.
New SGIFF Film Fund is launched to support Southeast Asian filmmakers with compelling stories to tell.
SGIFF 2018 honours Asian cinematic legends Rithy Panh and Joan Chen; and recognises exceptional talents in Asian cinema at the Silver Screen Awards.
SGIFF 2018 celebrates progressive development in Asian cinema and diversity in filmmaking with four feature films by women filmmakers in the Asian Feature Film -Competition, and an all-women jury panel for the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition.
Celebrate anniversary screenings of iconic cinematic gems from Thailand, Malaysia and the UK at SGIFF 2018. 
Singapore, 23 October 2018 – Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) continues to cement its position as the film platform in Southeast Asia to showcase quality independent cinema and engage with regional filmmakers at the 29th SGIFF, with the announcement of its full Festival line-up at the National Museum of Singapore, today. This year’s Festival promises to be yet another exciting event as SGIFF continues to celebrate Asian storytellers, nurture new generation of filmmakers, and propel their works to an international audience.

As the leading international film platform in the region, and part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF), the 29th SGIFF will showcase a diverse selection of coveted films from Asia and beyond; demonstrating the ascending future of Asian cinema, with SGIFF continuing to lead the charge for Asian filmmakers emerging onto the global stage.  

“Global demand for quality content and narrative from Asia has never been greater than today. There is a growing interest in original stories made by Asian independent filmmakers translating into a growing audience who are seeking something fresh,” shares Pimpaka TowiraProgramming DirectorSGIFF, while speaking about the Festival programming this year. “Singapore International Film Festival as an international film festival, brings both regional and international creators and audiences together, creating opportunity for dialogue. This year’s programme of over 100 films celebrates the diversity of our region and cultures; and offers audiences an opportunity for the discovery of independent cinema.” 

29th SGIFF Showcases Debut Features of Asian Filmmakers 

The 12-day Festival which runs from 28 November – 9 December 2018, will feature 103 films from 44 countries, across genres and presentations, screening a mix of festival favourites and unearthing undiscovered gems.  
Dear Ex by Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen
The Third Wife by Ash Mayfair
This year’s Festival will showcase debut features from Asian filmmakers; including the Southeast Asian premiere of Taiwanese filmmakers Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen’s Dear Ex as one of SGIFF’s two Special Presentation films. Dear Ex explores serious themes of loss, identity, and acceptance through the sensitive comedic drama of a jilted widow who must make peace with her late husband’s temperamental former lover. The film was a resounding success at the 2018 Taipei Film Festival, winning five awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Actress, Audience Award and the Press Award in the International New Talent Competition; and has also received eight nominations, including Best Feature Film at this year’s the Golden Horse Awards. 

Another must-see debut feature, The Third Wife, is a poetic treatise about the fate of a young woman after she marries into a wealthy family and explores issues such as childmarriage and women’s rights in 19th-century Vietnam. This period drama marks a remarkable first feature by young Vietnamese filmmaker, Ash Mayfair. The Third Wife stars Vietnamese-born French actress, Tran Nu Yen Khe, and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018, winning the NETPAC Award. A recipient of the Spike Lee Film Production Fund, the project also won the Grand Prix award at Vietnam’s Autumn Meeting, as well as the TVE-Another Look Award at San Sebastian International Film Festival 2018 and Special Mention at Milano Film Festival 2018.

Spotlighting Singaporean Filmmakers on the Global Stage

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures. For local audiences, getting to know who we are as a nation and within the context of Southeast Asia is an important aspect of identity building; and stories told through films are a way to engage with that. SGIFF 2018 will be showcasing 18 films and co-productions from Singapore, including six feature films and 12 short films.  
The Last Artisan by Craig McTurk
Cannonball by Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen
In addition to A Land Imagined by Yeo Siew Hua, the Festival will screen the world premiere of The Last Artisan by Craig McTurk; and the international premiere of Cannonball, by Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen under Singapore Panorama. The Last Artisan, a documentary that chronicles the life and legacy of Teo Veoh Seng, following his retirement after seven decades as the head artisan of Singapore’s Haw Par Villa theme park. It sheds light on a craftsman whose quiet dedication has preserved a uniquely charming slice of a city hounded by rapid urban developments. Cannonball, meanwhile, is Singaporean sound project ARE’s self-produced, self-satirising travelogue of their album tour through Australia, featuring performances by other acts in Australia’s experimental music scene.
A Time For Us by Alvin Lee
2200 Volts by Tan Siyou
Kingdom by Tan Wei Keong
Drawing inspiration from social issues impacting the region today, award-winning short film director, Alvin Lee’s graduation short at Beijing Film Academy, A Time For Us, tells the story of a pregnant woman who travels to Beijing to purchase a black-market residency permit for her unborn child—a scheme which involves a sham marriage to a man who can’t express himself; while 2200 Volts, by Tan Siyou, is an arresting tale of a woman awaiting her turn in the electric chair, ironing out her memories obsessively and trying to absolve her regrets. Tan is currently a Fellow at the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, class of 2019. 

This year’s Festival Commission Kingdom by Tan Wei Keong, winner of SGIFF 2017’s Best Singapore Short Film Award, infuses elements of fantasy, identity, and personal struggle in its narrative. Beneath the deceptively simple actions of the character lies a layered approach to his psyche, which hinges on isolation and a sense of belonging.

Celebrating Progressive Development in Asian Cinema and Diversity in Filmmaking
The Day I Lost My Shadow by Soudade Kaadan
Asia is taking the lead in celebrating the progressive development in cinema and diversity in filmmaking, with four feature films by women filmmakers competing in the Asian Feature Film Competition at SGIFF this year – Bulbul Can Sing by Indian director, Rima Das; The Day I Lost My Shadow by Syrian director, Soudade Kaadan; The Future Cries Beneath Our Soils by Vietnamese director, Pham Thu Hang; and House of My Fathers by Sri Lankan director, Suba Sivakumaran.  

Soudade Kaadan has crafted an evocative humanist work with touches of magical realism in The Day I Lost My Shadow, a story set in the winter of war-torn Syria. When an errand goes askew, a harrowed mother finds herself caught in a misunderstanding at a security checkpoint and lost in the outskirts of Damascus. Kaadan has worked extensively in documentary filmmaking, and her works have received numerous awards including the Martine Filippi Award – URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary, Dubai International Film Festival’s Muhr Arab Documentary Award, and Lion of the Future Award for Best Debut Film at Venice Film Festival 2018.

The Festival also features an all-women jury panel for the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition, led by Maike Mia Höhne, curator of the Berlinale Shorts programme since 2007; Filipino filmmaker, Shireen Seno; and Singaporean filmmaker Kirsten Tan.  

Honouring Asian Cinematic Legends

Every year, SGIFF honours and recognises the exceptional contributions of filmmakers and outstanding achievements of actors whose iconic works have helped shaped Asian cinema, through their pioneering efforts in forging new ground for the industry at the Silver Screen Awards. The Awards is a strategic platform designed with the aim of broadening the discussions of Asian filmmaking and to illuminate Asia’s creative content development. 

The 29th SGIFF will be presenting the Festival’s highest honour, the Honorary Award to Cambodian filmmaker, Rithy Panh, for his considerable contribution to cinema. Panh is one of the most internationally acclaimed Cambodian filmmakers of today. A survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocides in the 1970s, Panh went on to create a unique body of work. He reflects on modern Cambodia and the traumatic legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime through films such as Rice People (1994), the harrowing S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003), and winner of Cannes’s Un Certain Regard prize and Cambodia’s first film to be nominated for an Academy Award, The Missing Picture (2013). 
Panh (pictured right) graduated from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques (IDHEC) in France. His earliest documentary, Site II, about a family of Cambodian refugees on the Thai- Cambodian border in the 1980s, cemented his personal approach to filmmaking. He has made more than 20 films since The Missing Picture, including documentaries and fiction works. Beyond his filmmaking efforts, Panh co-founded the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in 2006 to preserve Cambodia’s audiovisual heritage and train young Cambodian filmmakers, archivists, and technicians. 

The Cinema Legend Award this year will be presented to luminary Asian actor, Joan Chen, for her dedication to the entertainment industry, and her inspiring contribution to cinema. 
Chen (pictured left) is one of cinema’s most respected Asian stars, having appeared in more than 40 film and television roles that straddle both the commercial and independent arenas. As Chen’s alluring screen presence continues to dazzle critics and audiences worldwide, she has also developed a career behind the camera as a director, producer, and writer.

Chinese-American Chen first gained recognition for the film Little Flower (1979); and achieved international acclaim for her groundbreaking performance in the Academy Award-winning film The Last Emperor (1987). She is also known for her roles in Twin Peaks (1990), Saving Face (2004), and The Home Song Stories (2009). 

Chen moved into directing with Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998), which went on to win Best Film, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards. Her most recent directing effort, English, is slated for release in 2019.

Festival goers can look forward to meeting and engaging with Panh at his masterclass on Sunday, 9 December 2018; and with Chen during her In Conversation segment on Saturday, 8 December 2018, both to be held at the National Museum of Singapore.

Anniversary Screenings of Iconic Cinematic Gems 

This year, SGIFF will be commemorating the anniversary screenings of iconic gems of cinema history from Thailand, Malaysia, and the UK, in the Classics section. 
A modern sports classic based on a true story, The Iron Ladies by Thai filmmaker, Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, follows the story of a queer volleyball team succeeding against all odds in a fictionalised account of a historic 1996 team of gay and transgender athletes who won the men’s title at the Thai national volleyball championships. Thongkongtoon and fellow cast members will be at the Festival to present the commercially and critically successful comedy loved by audiences in Thailand and abroad. 
The Iron Ladies by Yongyoot Thongkongtoon
Sepet by Yasmin Ahmad
Midnight Express by Alan Parker
Sepet, by the late Malaysian filmmaker, Yasmin Ahmad, whose television commercials and films are well-loved in her home country for their humour, heart, and love that crosses cross-cultural barriers; is the first of her winsome, and controversial films. The film tells a simple boy-meets-girl story that belies Malaysian societal tension. Released in 2004 to criticism for its subject matter and portrayal of Islamic women, the film found its way onto international screens as a Malaysian gem. The cast of the film will present the film at the screening in Yasmin’s memory, alongside her sister. 

The controversial true story of Billy Hayes, an American college student thrown into Turkish prison after being caught smuggling drugs, Midnight Express by Alan Parker is often cited as the film that severely damaged Turkey’s tourism industry. The gut-wrenching prison epic produced by Alan Marshall and Lord David Puttnam won two Oscars, including Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium at the 51st Academy Awards in 1978; and very quickly assumed cult status since premiering 40 years ago. The film will be presented by producer, Lord David Puttnam on its 40th anniversary at SGIFF this year. 

Explore the Changing Landscape of World Cinema

Discover cinematic gems from countries such as the Czech Republic, Chile, and Mexico, as well as the year’s most exciting titles from Sundance, Cannes, Venice, and Locarno at this year’s Festival. 

Cinema Today looks at the fast-changing perspectives of World Cinema, with feature films that touch on societal issues that transcend borders and cultures, such as Girl, by Belgian director, Lukas Dhont, an incandescent coming-of-age tale about a ballerina-in-training struggling against the restraints of her male body; Border by Swiss filmmaker Ali Abbasi, a genre-bender film that crosses from social realism to fantasy thriller that tells the story of a customs officer with preternatural abilities for sniffing out contraband who encounters a mysterious man who reeks but otherwise appears clean, and discovers they share more in common than meets the nose; and Non-Fiction by French auteur Olivier Assayas, a humorous social critique of digital anxieties, interpersonal relationships, and the changing tides of the literary landscape.

Launch of SGIFF Film Fund

As part of SGIFF’s ongoing efforts to champion the independent film industry in Singapore and Southeast Asia, SGIFF will be launching the SGIFF Film Fund with two new grants, the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF SEA-DOC Grant, and the SGIFF SEA-SHORTS Grant, dedicated to supporting filmmakers with compelling stories to tell across both fiction and non-fiction genres.

Sharing on the need for such an initiative for the film industry in Southeast Asia, Wahyuni HadiExecutive DirectorSGIFF, says, “The Southeast Asia region comprises over half a billion people and moving forward, there will be increased connectivity to the online world. This means that now is a crucial time to train the next generation of youth to create and share their own stories. The inaugural SGIFF Film Fund supports local voices in Southeast Asian films and aims to create an inspiring space for content development and coproductions, in our continued effort of championing filmmaking talents in the region.”

Facilitating Creative Exchanges Within the Filmmaking Community

With SGIFF’s continued commitment in providing opportunities and nurturing the growth of up-and-coming regional talents in filmmaking, the Festival further encourages public and industry engagement through its mentorship programmes, masterclasses, and dialogues, creating opportunities for local and regional filmmakers to network with international industry heavyweights and audiences. 

“For film professionals, SGIFF provides a strategic platform for local and regional creators and producers to learn from the best in the industry and to engage with the international filmmaking community, furthering SGIFF’s commitment to developing next generation of filmmakers locally, and across Asia. This year we have some of the best in Asia coming to impart knowledge through our development programmes,” adds Hadi.

SGIFF this year will host a panel discussion – Funding Approaches to Alternative Stories, discussing what makes a project an attractive proposition for investment, with private investors in Southeast Asian content; as well as a panel discussion with 10-time Oscar winner and British film producer who has always pushed the boundaries of creative producing, Lord David Puttnam.

The Festival also serves as a platform for dialogue within the filmmaking community. In the age of digital downloads and binge-watching, cinemas are not the only places to watch films. Despite that, alternative brick-and-mortar screening venues are thriving. With emphasis on indie features, these venues offer a fresh cinematic experience and a support network for filmmaking communities. Together with independent exhibitors, The Future of Cinema Forum: Independent Cinemas in the Digital Age explores the role these venues play in developing audiences and building a future for indie films. 

The 29th SGIFF, which runs from 28 November to 9 December 2018, will be hosted across multiple Festival venues, including Capitol Theatre, National Museum of Singapore, National Gallery Singapore, The Cathay, Filmgarde Bugis+, Objectifs and *SCAPE. 

SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), hosted by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). SGIFF 2018’s Official Sponsors include Official Red Carpet Venue Capitol Theatre; Official Hotels Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore; Official Automobile BMW; and Official Airline Singapore Airlines.

For more information, please visit www.sgiff.com.

Discover the magic of cinema and for latest updates, follow us on Instagram @SGIFFest and on Facebook @sginternationalfilmfestival

#SGIFF2018 #LetTheMagicIn

Please refer to appended annex for more information. 

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

Annex A: Quotes from Official Sponsors – IMDA, Capitol Theatre, Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore, BMW, and Singapore Airlines.

Mr Howie Lau

Chief Industry Development Officer, IMDA

“The time for Asia is now, and there has never been a better time for Asia stories to shine in the global spotlight. SGIFF is a key anchor of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF), and this year’s robust line-up is a great testimony to the celebration of Asia’s voices, talent and creativity here at the Festival. There is no better place to be than at the heart of Asian storytelling here at the Singapore Media Festival.” 

Ms Annie Lee

Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Singapore) Perennial Real Estate  Holdings Limited

“Perennial Real Estate Holdings Limited is delighted to present Capitol Theatre as the Official Red Carpet Venue for the Singapore International Film Festival. As the owner and manager of the iconic heritage theatre right in the heart of Singapore’s Civic District, we are committed to nurturing and supporting local and regional cinematic talents. It is indeed an honour to be part of one of the most esteemed events in the local art calendar and for our dynamic venue to be a platform where creative minds are congregated at and successes are celebrated. Through this meaningful partnership, we also aspire to continue Capitol Theatre’s legacy of bringing quality arts and entertainment to the public.”

Mr Christopher Wehner

Managing Director, BMW Group Asia

“BMW Asia is honoured to be the Official Automobile for the Singapore International Film Festival for the second year running. It is our shared goals of dynamism, joy and passion that makes this partnership both meaningful and fulfilling. As we embark on this year’s festival, we wish all VIP guests a comfortable and relaxing experience as they travel in our latest fleet of BMW 5 Series limousines,” 

Mr Marcus Hanna

General Manager, Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The  Stamford Singapore

“Creativity and artistic innovation in the world of filmmaking is increasingly gaining more voice and visibility within our community. It is indeed a meaningful privilege for both Fairmont Singapore & Swissôtel The Stamford to be able to lend our support to talent development among local and regional filmmakers; and show our appreciation for the arts as we do our part for the community through this wonderful partnership.”

Mr Campbell Wilson

Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing

“The Singapore International Film Festival is an important platform for showcasing some of the world’s finest films, and for talented film-makers to present their works to a global audience. Singapore Airlines, as Official Airline, is delighted to support the Festival as it affirms Singapore’s reputation as a flourishing centre for the arts and culture.”

The 32nd edition of SGIFF will return from 25 Nov – 5 Dec 2021.

Annex B: Glossary for Key Festival Terms

29th Singapore International Film Festival


28 November to 9 December 2018  

Festival Team – 电影节团队

No. 姓名 Name 职衔 Designation
1. 陈来发 Sebastian Tan 主席 Chairperson
2. 云妮 • 海迪 Wahyuni Hadi 执行总监 Executive Director
3. 萍帕卡 • 托维拉 Pimpaka Towira 节目总监 Programme Director

Opening Film – 开幕电影

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 幸福城市 Cities of Last Things 何蔚庭 Ho Wi Ding

Special Presentation – 特别呈现

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 谁先爱上他的 Dear Ex 徐誉庭许智彦 Mag Hsu
Hsu Chih-yen

A Commission of the Singapore International Film Festival – 新加坡国际电影节委约

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 王国 Kingdom 陈威强 Tan Wei Keong


Silver Screen Awards – 银幕大奖

Asian Feature Films – 亚洲长片

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 地球最后的夜晚 Long Day’s Journey Into Night 毕赣 Bi Gan
2. 幻土 A Land Imagined 杨修华 Yeo Siew Hua

Southeast Asian Short Film – 东南亚短片

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 萍水相逢 A Time For Us 李昌荣 Alvin Lee
2. High Way 谢志芯 Chia Chee Sum
3. 我的 Lady M My Lady M 刘汀 Tingerine Liu
4. 海中网 Luzon 曾威量 Chiang Wei Liang
5. 鸟儿为你来 Weeping Birds 陈迪军 Chan Teik Quam


Cinema Legend Award – 电影传奇人物奖: Joan Chen 陈冲

Honorary Award – 荣誉成就奖: Rithy Panh

Audience Choice Award – 观众投选奖Singapore Panorama – 新加坡全景

Feature Films – 长片

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 十五 15 陈子谦 Royston Tan
2. 最后的工匠 The Last Artisan Craig McTurk
3. 炮弹 Cannonball 蔡圣恩林俐璇 Mark Chua
Lam Li Shuen


Short Films – 短片

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 2200 Volts 陈思攸 Royston Tan
2. 给任航的舞 A Dance for Ren Hang 雷远彬陈思吟 Craig McTurk
3. 给任航的舞 Distance 徐慧恩 Grace Swee
4. 弒母日記 Let Me Kill My Mother First 张玫彦 Teo Mei Ann
5. 盛夏之间 May and June 周谢韶旻 Chew-Chia Shao Min
6. Salted Egg 许绚宁 Nikki Koh
7. SIN-SFO 蒋章耀 Leon Cheo
8. Songs of Our Memories 梁婧怡 Carin Leong
9. 白目 Songs of Our Memories 王欣如 Kris Ong


Asian Vision – 亚洲视野

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 大象席地而坐 An Elephant Sitting Still 胡波 Hu Bo
2. 江湖儿女 Ash is Purest White 贾樟柯 Jia Zhangke
3. 自由行 A Family Tour 应亮 Ying Liang
4. 八个女人一台戏 First Night Nerves 关锦鹏 Stanley Kwan
5. 星溪的三次奇遇 Three Adventures of Brooke 竹原青 Quan Qing


Focus: Docu-Memories – A Glimpse into Taiwanese Documentary Cinema 焦点:记忆显影-探台湾当代记录

Feature Films – 长片

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. Goodnight & Goodbye 吴耀东 Wu Yao Tung 
2. 在高速公路上游泳 Swimming on the Highway 吴耀东 Wu Yao Tung 
3. 殘響世界 Realm of Reverberations 陈界仁 Chen Chieh-Lee
4. 那山人这山事 Stranger in the Mountains 李立劭 Lee Li-shao
5. 未來无恙 Turning 18 賀照緹 Ho Chao-ti

Short Films – 短片

No. 影片片名 Film Title 导演 Director
1. 东/WEST East/West 洪素珍 Hung Su-chen 
2. 萤火 Firefly 廖克发 Lau Kek Huat
3. 第六十九信 Letter #69 林欣怡 Lin Hsin-I
4. 刘必稼
Liu Pi-chia 陈耀圻 Richard Yao-chi Chen
5. 回程列車 Return 黃邦铨 Huang Pang-chuan
6. 乡愁/余像 Spectrum of Nostalgia 陈凯竹 Chen Yi-chu


Midnight Mayhem – 午夜惊魂

Classics – 经典

Moonlight Cinema – 月光影院

Southeast Asian Film Lab – 东南亚电影编剧工作坊

Youth Jury & Critics Programme – 青少年影评人计划

SG Originals – SG 原创

Southeast Asian Producers Network – 东南亚制作人联系网

SGIFF Film Fund – 新加坡国际电影节基金

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian-Documentary Grant 陈延谦基金-SGIFF东南亚纪录片辅助金

SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant


Annex C: Highlights of 29th Singapore International Film Festival

Opening Film

Cities Of Last Things (2018)

By Ho Wi Ding

Three extraordinary nights in the life of an ordinary man—each involving a different woman, each changing his existence for good. Shot on expired 35mm film stock, this devastating portrait of a man unfolds—in reverse— via three women who each play a pivotal role in his identity.Tired of his turbulent family life and caught between identities, Adam seeks out an alternative arrangement in hopes of finding his place.


Eerie (2018)

By Mikhail Red

In the Philippines of 1995, guidance counsellor Pat is a listening ear for all the students of St Lucia’s Convent. Compassionate and empathetic, Pat grieves with her girls after one of them commits suicide in a bathroom stall—the same one in which another student, Eri, died years before. What the St Lucia’s girls don’t know, however, is that Pat possesses a secret clairvoyant ability, one that allows her to become a sympathetic ear to the ghost of Eri, who has never left St Lucia’s halls.

After the mysterious death of yet another girl at the convent, Pat decides to use her ‘sessions’ with Eri to dig deeper into the troubling phenomenon— only to discover that her key witness may not be as reliable as she seems. At the same time, Pat’s human relationships are sent into a spiral when she discovers the convent’s dark history of physical punishment and abuse. By the time Pat is through with this supernatural saga, she’ll be left with a renewed purpose… and a lot of haunting questions.

Silver Screen Awards: Asian Feature Film Competition

Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2018)

By Bi Gan

More than a decade after narrowly escaping death in his provincial hometown, Luo Hong-wu returns to search for a former lover whom he cannot forget. As he wanders the town’s ruins, he tries to reconstruct a hazy past enmeshed with dreams and fantasies – while being haunted by his long-murdered childhood sidekick Wildcat and the ghost of a woman that may or may not be his lost love.

Singapore Panorama

The Last Artisan (2018)

By Craig McTurk

Dismembered limbs. Topless mermaids. Crabs with human heads. These Chinese folklore-themed statues, in all their surreal, grotesque glory, are seared into the minds of visitors to Singapore’s Haw Par Villa. But no one knows them as well as Teo Veoh Seng. Decades ago, he started out as an apprentice at the park, which opened in the 1930s; now, at 83, Teo has finally decided to retire. Though his successors prepare for his departure, what will be lost when the master craftsman steps down?

Cannonball (2018)

By Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen

Frank and Lily, partners by chance and circumstance, set off on a wild journey in their search for a mystical character known as the Sunbathing Dog. Our protagonists navigate a foreign landscape, their movements determined by an invisible ventriloquist feeding them cryptic clues and directions. They encounter oddball characters, strange places and new sounds… but will they ever find what they’re looking for? Cannonball is Singaporean sound project ARE’s self-produced, self-satirising travelogue of their album tour through Australia, featuring performances by other acts in Australia’s experimental music scene.

Asian Vision

An Elephant Sitting Still (2018)

By Hu Bo

The titular pachyderm of An Elephant Sitting Still is a zoo animal that supposedly rejects its own existence by entering a catatonic state. The film’s four protagonists, living in a northern Chinese city suffering from post-industrial decay, are connected by their fixation on this creature. The intersecting lives in question belong to: a man who witnesses his best friend’s suicide, a young man seeking escape from abuse both at home and at school, a girl having an affair with her married vice principal, and a pensioner resigned to entering a nursing home. 

Punctuated by moments of black humour throughout its four-hour runtime, the film presents an honest snapshot of the lives of those forgotten by a nation’s uneven development. In 2017, the 29-year-old director Hu Bo took his own life and the film was finished posthumously.

Asako I & II (2018)

By Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Adapted from a novel by Tomoka Shibasaki, this is a tale of mirror-image obsession. Asako, a demure college student, falls hard and fast for the free-spirited Baku. Despite warnings from her friends about his heartbreaker reputation, she becomes intoxicated with him. Then Baku abandons Asako without warning or explanation.

Two years later, Asako is astonished to meet Ryohei, a dull salaryman who is the mirror-image of Baku. Mesmerised by the resemblance, she embarks on a safe, if sterile, relationship with him that lasts over five years. But when Baku, now a successful actor and model, crashes unexpectedly back into Asako’s life, she finds herself torn between the two men, and contemplating risking everything to resolve past grievances.

Punctuated by moments of black humour throughout its four-hour runtime, the film presents an honest snapshot of the lives of those forgotten by a nation’s uneven development. In 2017, the 29-year-old director Hu Bo took his own life and the film was finished posthumously.

Cinema Today

Our Time (2018)

By Carlos Reygadas

On a ranch in Mexico, bulls lock horns in open fields, and neighbourhood children frolic beneath vast, unpredictable skies. Renowned poet Juan lives in the ranch house with his wife Esther, who helps run the farm. The couple take a very liberal view on matrimony—but when Esther begins a relationship with an American ranch hand who works for them, Juan faces an existential test. To further describe the plot of Our Time is to oversimplify its conceptual complexity. Writer-director Carlos Reygadas puts forth, in ravishing widescreen, an honest (sometimes brutally so) auto-fiction about wounded pride and crumbling masculinity. Reygadas and his wife themselves play Juan and Esther, and the overlapping layers of reality and cinema make Our Time much more than your average marital drama.

Sorry To Bother You (2018)

By Boots Riley

Down-on-his-luck Cassius ‘Cash’ Green lands a job at a sleazy telemarketing company. When a colleague teaches him the trick of putting on a ‘white’ voice while phoning clients, Cash is suddenly flush with success, and propelled into the firm’s upper echelon of ‘power callers’. As Cash crosses picket lines into this macabre new universe, he finds himself increasingly at odds with his artist-activist girlfriend and his union-leader buddy.

Channelling Michel Gondry and Terry Gilliam, Riley presents a world that initially feels like reality, then gleefully twists into a no-holds-barred satire: about race relations, oppressive capitalism, you name it. The boldness pays off. Sorry to Bother You is a slice of rainbow cake topped with nuclear fuel—weird, propulsive and tasty.


Midnight Express (1978)

By Alan Parker

In 1970, Billy Hayes is caught in possession of drugs while boarding an international flight out of Istanbul. Wanting to make an example of him, the Turkish authorities sentence him to over 30 years in prison. Within the hostile prison environment, with its internal hierarchies and untrustworthy denizens, sadistic prison warden Hamidou relishes the mental and physical torture he inflicts on the prisoners.

Billy must decide between limited options: let the prison kill him, figuratively or literally; wait for his loved ones’ legal and diplomatic appeals to succeed; or attempt to escape by catching the ‘Midnight Express’— prison slang for an escape attempt. A hit upon its release, MidnightExpress is often cited as the film that severely damaged Turkey’s tourism industry.

A Broad Bellflower (1987)

By Jo Kyong-sun

Sisters Song-rim and Song-hwa lead a simple life in a village in the rural mountains of North Korea. Their idyllic existence is threatened by the ambition of Song-rim’s boyfriend, Won-bong, who longs to leave the mountains with Song-rim for a better life in the city. Things come to a head when Won-bong issues an ultimatum: Either Song-rim leaves with him, or he leaves the village forever.Part romantic melodrama, part ode to the importance of community and staying true to one’s roots, A Broad Bellflower was one of the most popular films of 1980s North Korea. It swept the awards at the inaugural Pyongyang International Film Festival and launched the career of its lead actress, O Mi-ran.

Focus: DocuMemories – A Glimpse Into Taiwanese Documentary Cinema

Double Bill Swimming On The Highway (1998)

By Wu Yao-tung

Swimming on the Highway is a milestone in Taiwanese independent documentary filmmaking, boasting wins at the Taiwan Film Instituteorganised Golden Harvest Awards and the prestigious Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.Documentarian Wu Yao-tung was 26 and in his final year of art school when he made this, his thesis film. Swimming on the Highway explores the tensions and fissures in the relationship between the filmmaker and his schoolmate Tom, a depressive gay man suffering from AIDS. The film is about its own making, charting Wu’s own struggles to finish the project and graduate. In its depiction of the conflict between (what appear to be) a naive art student and a self-aggrandising roué, the result is raw, visceral character study at its best.

Goodnight & Goodbye (2018)

By Wu Yao-tung

Two decades after he made the legendary Swimming on the Highway, Taiwanese documentarian Wu Yao-tung has yet to emerge from the shadow of his most famous (or infamous) work. Condemned as much as he is exalted for exploring the subjective viewpoint of the documentary maker, Wu’s identity is so tightly twined around that singular film that he has lost his sense of self.

To regain it, Wu embarks on a journey to track down Tom (the subject of the earlier film) and chronicle his old friend’s life and times, ostensibly in order to exorcise his own inner demons. Featuring previously unseen footage cut from the 1998 film, Wu’s companion piece is a sensitive mediation on the inevitable myth-making that occurs when reality is distilled into art.

Turning 18 (2018)

By Ho Chao-ti

Growing up in a broken household with an alcoholic mother, Hui-chen takes comfort in practising taekwondo at school whilst dreaming of a better future out in the city. In a similar situation is Pei-yi, who stays with her boyfriend to escape the abuse she suffers at home. When they meet at a vocational training programme, the lives of the two girls, both on the cusp of turning 18, start to change.Sensitive but not saccharine, Turning 18 is an unflinching examination of girlhood with occasional bouts of tenderness. As a sharp-eyed commentary on the issue of rural poverty in Taiwan, the film confronts issues ranging from the casual racism faced by the country’s indigenous community, to the sexual abuse of minors, to LGBTQ rights, all wrapped in a universal tale of coming of age.

Midnight Mayhem

One Cut Of The Dead (2017)

By Shinichiro Ueda

Higurashi, a timid Japanese movie director, is tasked with directing a onetake zombie film for live broadcast. With an offbeat and problematic cast questioning his vision, and network executives breathing down his neck, Higurashi is forced to bring his A-game into the project. On the day of the shoot, more complications arise, throwing everything and everyone even more off balance.

Persevere through the first 37 minutes of One Cut of the Dead, the absurdity of which will ultimately become significant. Seamlessly weaving together multiple genres, director Shinichiro Ueda presents an ode to filmmaking that simultaneously satirises the film and television industry. This balance is maintained even all through the credits.

In Fabric (2018)

By Peter Strickland

A witchy sales-matron (Transylvanian actress Fatma Mohamed) sells an artery-red dress to unsuspecting single mother Sheila (Marianne Jean- Baptiste) at a posh department store. This sparks off a sort of curse, as the dress passes from person to person, each time with devastating consequences.In Fabric straddles the line between campy high-art and chilling menace, pulling audiences into a hazily hypnotic abstraction of ’90s Britain. Blending ravishing colours, sounds and textures, British horror maven Peter Strickland serves up an otherworldly cornucopia of delights in this Bmovie Italian giallo homage. He takes aim at the hypnotic appeal of consumerism, channelling Dawn of the Dead and American Horror Story, to cement his place as one of today’s most innovative genre directors.

Annex D: Ticketing Information

Tickets to the 29th Singapore International Film Festival go on sale from 24 October 2018 at all SISTIC outlets, on www.sistic.com.sg, and hotline +65 6348 5555.

Ticket Type Price
Opening Film $25.00
Special Presentation $15.00
All Other Films $12.00
Masterclasses, In Conversion & Talks $5.00
*Ticket prices exclude SISTIC booking fee

Discounts and Concessions 

  • Students, Senior Citizens, and NSF – S$1.00 discount for Opening Film and S$0.50 discount for all other films.
  • General Public – 10% discount for every booking of 10 tickets or more in a single receipt.
  • Festival Starter Kit – 4 tickets of different films across Classics, Focus, Films in Competition, Singapore Panorama and Encore Screenings at S$32.00.
  • Group Booking – Up to 25% discount for every booking of 20 tickets and above of a single title.
  • Super Fan 50 – 25% discount for every booking of 50 tickets in a single receipt.

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/

About SGIFF Film Academy (SFA)

The SGIFF Film Academy (SFA) is the region’s first holistic training initiative to support Southeast Asian film talents and nurture film appreciation among the audience. A launch pad for mentorship, exchange of ideas and strengthening film literacy, the developmental programmes – Southeast Asian Producers Network, Southeast Asian Film Lab, Youth Jury & Critics Programme, SGIFF Film Fund, and Film Immersion Programme for Schools – aim to enhance the capabilities of the regional film scene collectively.