Press Office

December 5, 2021

Singapore International Film Festival Announces Winners of the 2021 Silver Screen Awards

The prestigious regional ceremony’s 30th edition saw 13 prizes being given out, including the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema award.

The 32nd Singapore International Film Festival announces the winners of its 2021 Silver Screen Awards, recognising both the region’s up-and-coming as well as established filmmaking talents. This year, a total of 13 awards were presented across six categories; Asian Feature Film Competition, Southeast Asian Short Film Competition, Southeast Asian Film Lab, Youth Jury & Critics Programme, Audience Choice Award, and the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award. This year’s ceremony was held virtually and will air via YouTube.

“The Singapore International Film Festival first introduced the Silver Screen Awards in 1991 and we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary of the awards with incredible milestones, such as the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award.” shared Emily J. Hoe, Executive Director of SGIFF. “We continue to be inspired by filmmakers in the region and beyond as they continue to persevere and bring thought-provoking stories to life under these tough circumstances. SGIFF is proud to celebrate their achievements and honour their exceptional contributions through the Silver Screen Awards. Our heartiest congratulations to all award winners, and we look forward to being part of their cinematic storytelling journeys in the years to come.”

Asian Feature Film Competition

The winners of the Asian Feature Film Competition were selected by a jury of prominent figures from the Asian film industry. They are acclaimed Taiwanese filmmaker Peggy Chiao Hsiung-Ping; Filipino actress Angeli Bayani; festival programmer of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (South Korea) Kim Young Woo; and director of the Film Archive (Thailand) Chalida Uabumrungjit.

Title Winner
Most Promising Project
The mentors awarded the Most Promising Project to The Itinerant by Thai filmmaker, Ukrit Sa-nguanhai. The film depicts an anticommunist itinerant film troupe presenting screenings in rural Thailand when the troupe stumbles upon a missing dead body. The Itinerant was praised for highlighting “the urgency and the importance of the subject, and the reflective way of relooking the function and effect of cinema in our society.”
Fellowship Prize
Two Fellowship Prizes were awarded this year, to Paul Rembert Patindol (Philippines) for his debut project Rafael; and to Pham Hoang Minh Thy’s (Vietnam) second project Daughter of the Mountain God. The award was shared between these two unique filmmakers whose films capture the vast and complex trajectories of their own family legacies in the most intimate and personal manners. For Rafael, the mentors were “touched by the genuine spirit and bravery of the project’s artistic vision and its daring and intimate portrait of interpersonal relationship.” For Daughter of the Mountain God, the mentors awarded it to the Vietnamese filmmaker for its “testament to the power of film and a celebration of hope. The film was awarded as it served to remind us of the roots of filmmaking and the innocent joy at the core of image-making.“

Young Critic Award from Youth Jury & Critics Programme

The Youth Jury & Critics Programme aims to nurture new film critics who can contribute to Southeast Asian film culture and discourse. This programme provides the opportunity for mentorship in the art of film criticism, while invited speakers also enrich the learning experience by sharing about different types of critics, their role in film culture and what it is like to have a career as a film critic. This year’s programme was led by esteemed local playwright and poet, Alfian Sa'at. Alfian is the Resident Playwright of Wild Rice, and has won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature in 2001.

Title Winner
Young Critic Award
The Young Critic Award goes to Tracey Toh (Singapore) for her essay on the short film “(If your bait can sing the wild one will come) Like Shadows Through Leaves”. Paying attention to the various elements in the film — not only the visual but importantly, the audio — the essay is an ecocritical dive into the entanglements between bird and human life. In doing so, it makes an argument for cinema as a mode of perception, a way of attuning our deadened senses to the life that flourishes around us.

Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award

SGIFF has awarded the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award to Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab (SEAFIC), for their exceptional work in elevating regional cinema. Founded in 2016, SEAFIC is a pioneering script lab for first- to third-time filmmakers with work-in-progress scripts across Southeast Asia. SEAFIC aims to advance, strengthen and refine the quality of feature-length film projects from Southeast Asia in a competitive international film industry. Most recently they launched the SEAFIC Seed Lab — a new lab concept aimed at developing the directorial voices of short-filmmakers prior to their first feature scripts. Besides filmmaking, the award takes into consideration resource-building, heritage preservation and promotion, among others.

Audience Choice Award

The much-anticipated Audience Choice Award was awarded to Some Women by Quen Wong (Singapore), marking the third time a local film has received this award. In this intimate yet powerful debut feature, local transgender filmmaker, Quen Wong, lays bare her vulnerabilities to reclaim her identity. Locating herself within the local trans community, the documentary also weaves in interviews with different generations of trans women including ‘Anita’, a former legend of Bugis Street—a world-famous stomping ground for trans women in the 1950s to the ’80s—and Lune Loh, a trans youth activist. The winner of the Audience Choice Awards will be re-screened on 5th December, 6.30pm at Filmgarde Bugis+ to mark the finale of 32nd Singapore International Film Festival.

For more information, please visit the SGIFF website at

Please refer to Annex A for quotes from the winners.


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

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Quen Wong Director of Some Women, Audience Choice Award

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Some Women has been so well received by our audience. My love letter to my trans community and home country has been received with more love! Can’t wait for even more audiences to see the film and celebrate our shared humanity.”

Mark Chua & Lam Li Shuen Co-directors of A Man Trembles, Best Director, Southeast Asian Short Film Competition

“We are so honoured to receive the Best Director award in the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition. With our film A Man Trembles, us and the whole team felt an urgency to reflect on the emotional climate here today and to express as Singaporean filmmakers, ideas and reflections inspired by the historical and existential undercurrents of life here. Receiving this award for us is an invigoration towards putting out into the Southeast Asian film landscape, expressive, honest films pouring from and peering into the Singaporean bone and soul. We are deeply thankful to SGIFF and the jurors for their support of filmmakers and films in Southeast Asia!”

Lucy DavisDirector of {if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves, Best Singapore Short Film, Southeast Asian Short Film Competition

“Thank you very much to the SGIFF Jury 2021 for awarding this Best Singapore Short Film award to a Migrant Ecologies Project collaboration. This honour goes to my entire team as the film is indeed a collaboration, co-devised with Sound Designer, Zai Tang; Cinematographer & Editor, Kee Ya Ting. Editor, Daniel Hui & Design Studio Crop Singapore. Like Shadows Through Leaves and the larger art project is the closest that Migrant Ecologies Projects have come to advocacy in that it is a call to policy makers to truly take time, be in one place truly listen, to humans to birds, to shifting leaves, to the more than human possibilities which can flourish if given space and time to do so.”