December 5, 2022

33rd Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) Concludes First Post-Pandemic Edition

Audience at Sold-Out Screening of the Baby Queen Double Bill Fundraiser, held at Projector X: Picturehouse

  • Over 8,000 tickets were issued across 82 film screenings and VR sessions
  • Silver Screen Awards, the prestigious regional ceremony’s 31st edition saw 14 prizes being given out, with Audience Choice Award being awarded to How to Save a Dead Friend by Marusya SYROECHKOVSKAYA
  • Applications for SGIFF Film Fund open on 7 December, and aims to support 8 projects with the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary (SEA-DOC) Grant and the SGIFF Southeast Asian - Short Film (SEA-SHORTS) Grant

SINGAPORE, 5 December 2022 - The 33rd Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) drew to a close on Sunday night after 11 days of film screenings and off-screen programmes that celebrated and showcased the best of independent cinema from across the region. More than 100 film titles from 55 countries were screened across 6 theatres, including a special Double-Bill Fundraiser with a screening of Singapore Panorama feature film ‘Baby Queen’ followed by a live performance by protagonist Opera Tang and her fellow Queens.

“This year marked the full return of the Singapore International Film Festival and it was my privilege to be a part of an event that brought the film community together,” says Emily J. HOE, Executive Director, SGIFF. “The need to showcase the diversity and richness of Asian storytelling to the world remains essential, and this year’s success would not have been possible without the dedication and tireless commitment of our wonderful team and volunteers as well as the never-ending support and camaraderie from the film community. I am delighted that this year’s festival was a colourful and enriching one and it is my hope that SGIFF continues to foster a deeper appreciation for cinema in Singapore while growing awareness for stories and experiences from all over the world.”

(Clockwise from top left) (1) THONG Kay Wee, Programme Director, SGIFF, Adilkhan YERZHANOV, Director, Assault, Berik Aytzhanov, Actor in Assault, Daniyar ALSHINOV, Actor in Assault at Opening Film Q&A with Filmmakers; (2) Baby Queen’s protagonist Opera Tang performing live at the Double Bill Fundraiser; (3) Participant testing out Virtual Reality experience in FORUM: Future of Cinema We All Paint Ourselves Green; (4) Host Hossan LEONG with participating filmmakers and actors dishing out their controversial opinions at FORUM: Singapore Panorama Mildly Offensive, Sometimes Accurate

In a festival first, SGIFF opened with a Central Asian film, Assault by Kazakh director Adilkhan YERZHANOV, a testament to the festival’s dedication to showcasing remarkable films from the wider Asian region. The festival also saw an exceptional line-up of filmmakers and industry heavyweights participating in physical Q&A sessions and the Festival’s Forum programme, where the filmmaking community and the public interacted through a series of fascinating talks and discussions. Industry names such as Lav Diaz, award-winning Filipino auteur; Dennis LIM, Artistic Director of New York Film Festival; NAM Dong Chul, Program Director of Busan International Film Festival; and Elise JALLADEAU, General Director of Thessaloniki Film Festival, offered expert insights into the creative process and developments in cinema culture.

2022 SGIFF Silver Screen Awards

This year, a total of 14 awards were presented across six categories: Asian Feature Film Competition, Southeast Asian Short Film Competition, Southeast Asian Film Lab, Youth Critics Programme, Audience Choice Award, and the Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award. This year’s ceremony was held at Hard Rock Cafe, with notable filmmakers in attendance including winners Laha MEBOW (Gaga) and Sorayos PRAPAPAN (Arnold is a Model Student).

(L-R) Back Row: Emily J. HOE, Executive Director, SGIFF, Bayu Prihantoro FILEMON, Director of Vania on Lima Street, Michael BORODIN, Director of Convenience Store, Alvin LEE, Director of Smoke Gets Into Your Eyes, Rein MAYCHAELSON, Director of The Burning Land, Laha Mebow, Director of Gaga, Benjamin YAP Kee Siang, Recipient of Youth Critic Award, Gabriela SERRANO, Director of Dikit, Mariana SERRANO, Actress in Dikit, LE Lam Vien, Director of FIX ANYTHING, Polen LY, Director of Further and Further Away, THONG Kay Wee, Programme Director, SGIFF; Second Row: Annisa ADJAM, Indonesian producer, Giovanni RUSTANTO, Director of A Ballad of Long Hair,; First Row: Gladys NG, Director of Every Mall Burns the Same, Makbul MUBARAK, Director of Autobiography, Sorayos PRAPAPAN, Director of Arnold is a Model Student

The much-anticipated Audience Choice Award was presented to How to Save a Dead Friend by Russian director Marusya SYROECHKOVSKAYA, a coming-of-age story about two kindred spirits who find solace in each other amidst an alienating existence where hope at time feels out of reach as despair threatens to overwhelm. Against the backdrop of autocratic Russia and alienating social conditions, the documentary recounts their joys and struggles with bracing honesty and emotional intensity, through the careful editing of home videos and street footage.

The Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award went to In-Docs, a pioneering organisation that continues to platform the regional exchange of ideas and mutual support amongst a stalwart of Southeast Asia’s filmmaking communities - documentary filmmakers. Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, SGIFF wanted to recognise In-Docs’ considerable dedication to championing the region’s tireless spirit of documentary filmmaking.

Asian Feature Film Competition
Title Winner
Best Asian Feature Film
Autobiography by By Makbul MUBARAK

The Best Film Award goes to a film that impressed with its control and clarity of vision. Autobiography is a vivid character study, a powerful allegory of national trauma, an urgent dissection of the fascist mindset and how it persists.

Best Director
Laha MEBOW (陳潔瑤) for Gaga (哈勇家)

Best Director goes to a filmmaker who has made a drama of great warmth and sensitivity. Laha Mebow brings to life a world they know well and beautifully guides an ensemble cast of non-professional actors.

Special Mention Award
Arnold is a Model Student by Sorayos PRAPAPAN

Arnold is a Model Student is a film that brings a fresh and unusual tone to political subject matter, approaching the theme of authoritarianism with wit and irreverence.

Southeast Asian Short Film Competition
Title Winner
Southeast Asian Short Film Competition
Vania on Lima Street by Bayu Prihantoro FILEMON

Vania on Lima Street broaches an important part of a country’s dark history in a powerful yet subtle way. By offering kindness and empathy, it suggests healing of social trauma through intergenerational hope

Best Singapore Short Film
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (烟熏到了眼睛) by Alvin LEE (李昌荣)

Relevant and humourous, Smoke Gets n Your Eyes manages to explore how grief works, whether performative or real in a profound way.

Best Director

A finesse of the craft and the mise-en-scene are clearly displayed in this stylish and chaotic adventure with a signature style of an exciting future blockbuster film director, Le Lam Vien.

Special Mention Award
Dikit by Gabriela SERRANO

A film with sure-handed direction; Dikit was presented the Special Mention Award for its use of film form effectively to tell a feminist horror story in the manner of alluring female Southeast Asian monsters.

Southeast Asian Film Lab
Title Winner
Most Promising Project
Giovani RUSTANTO for A Ballad of Long Hair

For a story that magically weaves together music, fantasy, youth resistance and politics, Giovanni’s storytelling displays sheer originality.

Fellowship Prize
Gabriela SERRANO for Please Bear For Me Rein MAYCHAELSON for The Burning Land
Special Mention Award
Gladys NG for Every Mall Burns the Same

Gladys’ unique voice is distinct in previous works and the festival believes in the playful, poetic universe she can create in a feature project.

Youth Critics Programme
Title Winner
Youth Critic Award
Benjamin YAP Kee Siang

The winning essay this year is a beautiful and insightful exploration of disability in cinema. It responds to the empathetic treatment of deafness in Sho Miyake’s SMALL, SLOW, BUT STEADY. At the same time, it also critically points out that the film’s use of intertitles is often jarring and abrupt, exposing cinema’s fundamentally uncomfortable relationship with what is usually thought of as different, or “abnormal”, experiences of sight and sound.

The winning films for Audience Choice Award, Best Singapore Short Film, Best Asian Feature Film and Best Southeast Asian Short Film will be re-screened on 10th December, from 4.30pm onwards at Projector X: Picturehouse to mark the finale of the 33rd Singapore International Film Festival.

“There is an enormous pool of film talent in the region that deserve to have their works screened or be part of the festival’s capability development and networking programmes. Our role has always been important in galvanising the pipeline of new talent and supporting them on their cinematic storytelling journey. Likewise, the annual Silver Screen Awards honour the exceptional contribution of filmmakers who have helped shape regional cinema, and celebrate their achievements as they continue to illuminate and bring thought-provoking stories to life. Huge congratulations to all award winners and we hope to continue providing a safe and nurturing space for all filmmakers in the region to grow and shine on the international stage,” shared Thong Kay Wee, Programme Director, SGIFF.

SGIFF Film Fund 2023

Dedicated to supporting filmmakers with compelling stories to tell, SGIFF Film Fund offers two film grants for Southeast Asian film projects. Supported by C47 Investment and White Light Post, the SGIFF Southeast Asian - Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS) aims to fund the brightest upcoming names in filmmaking with four grants available. Each recipient will receive a cash amount of S$4,000 and post-production support worth S$4,000. The grant is open to all genres including drama, animation, and experimental short films.

The Tan Ean Kiam Foundation - SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary (SEA-DOC) Grant is awarded to four mid-length or feature projects annually, and champions important and compelling stories told through the art of documentary filmmaking in the region. The grant has been made possible by the support of the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation since 2018. For the first time this year, the grant is awarded to three production projects, with special consideration to fund an additional project in this category, with each recipient receiving S$30,000 in case. One post-production project will also be awarded S$20,000 in cash.

“We appreciate the relentless pursuit of documentary filmmakers throughout the pandemic, telling stories from the region that illuminates, resonates and inspires local audiences. As they return in full force in this post-pandemic era, we have increased funding towards production projects, in a bid to elevate support for these filmmakers in capturing narratives unique to the region. We remain committed to assisting them in bringing their films to the big screen, driving necessary conversations while making positive impacts,” said TAN Keng Leck, Vice Chairman of the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation.

The 33rd edition of SGIFF includes selections from past Film Fund recipients: Further and Further Away by Polen LY (SEA-SHORTS 2020) and Divine Factory by Joseph MANGAT (Tan Ean Kiam Foundation - SEA-DOC Grant, Post-Production 2021). Applications for the annual film fund open on 7 December 2022 and close 31 January 2023. More information on submission guidelines can be found at

SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), hosted by Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA).

Media Assets may be downloaded here.


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 culture exchanges in the art of filming. 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

Follow SGIFF Instagram | Facebook | #SGIFF