7 June 2021, Singapore – The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) has appointed Singapore film programmer, Thong Kay Wee as its new Programme Director to lead the artistic elements of the Festival alongside Executive Director, Emily J. Hoe. Kay Wee takes over from Kuo Ming-Jung, to deliver the Festival’s film curation and programming strategy.
Chairperson of SGIFF, Boo Junfeng commented, “Through the years, SGIFF has championed and celebrated independent Southeast Asian films, and served as a platform that connects filmmakers in the region. Kay Wee brings with him a deep knowledge and passion for Asian cinema and cultivating emerging regional talent, which will strengthen SGIFF’s vision of fostering a deeper appreciation for cinema in Singapore and commitment towards supporting Southeast Asian film talents.”
Kay Wee was formerly the Programmes and Outreach Officer at the Asian Film Archive (AFA) and has presided over multiple film-centric programmes with a focus on Asian cinema for the AFA since 2014. Kay Wee has also programmed Singular Screens, the film programme presented as part of Singapore International Festival of the Arts since 2018.
“I truly believe that as Southeast Asia’s longest running film festival, SGIFF stands before the film and artistic communities as one of the most prestigious festivals in the region today. It continues to offer a familial support system for industry practitioners with its established networks and resources, while serving as a barometer of annual film trends and a recognised symbol of thoughtful cinematic offerings. It also remains an invaluable national film exhibition platform for its capacity to engage the widest and most concentrated public interest within Singapore. This continuous potential to foster a more vigorous appreciation of cinematic culture must be cherished and cultivated enduringly,” said Kay Wee.
He added, “This role represents an incredible opportunity for me to offer new insights to a historic festival. Making new friends and supporting old ones never felt more needed than now, and I am eager to help gather our communities again and generate more meaningful conversations together. As we persevere through this unprecedented time, we need to keep refining SGIFF’s purpose, the ways we can engage with the moving image and, by extension, our relations with one another.”
Executive Director of SGIFF, Emily J. Hoe said, “We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Ming-Jung for her passionate contribution to the Festival and her steadfast dedication in delivering rigorous and thoughtful programmes both in the 30th anniversary edition in 2019, and 2020. She was a pivotal member of the team in overcoming the unprecedented challenges of 2020 when SGIFF was presented as a hybrid festival for the first time, in a year that despite the global pandemic, SGIFF was a robust and considered event that didn’t compromise on its artistic integrity.
As SGIFF continues to evolve, I am indeed delighted to welcome Kay Wee to his role at SGIFF and I look forward to bringing Kay Wee’s curatorial vision to our audience of film lovers. At a time of continuing challenges in the film landscape, he will be an invaluable part of SGIFF’s leadership team as we take on the opportunities and obstacles that we face as a festival going forward.”
Thong Kay Wee joins the organisation on 21 June 2021 to lead the programming and preparation for the 32nd Singapore International Film Festival scheduled for 25 November to 5 December 2021.
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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/
The 32nd edition of SGIFF will return from 25 Nov - 5 Dec 2021.
Thong Kay Wee
Programme Director, SGIFF
Thong Kay Wee is a cultural worker and moving image curator based in Singapore. He is currently the Programme Director at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), where he is responsible for the festival’s overall programming strategy.
He was previously the Programmes and Outreach Officer at the Asian Film Archive (AFA) from 2014 to 2021. Aside from overseeing partnerships and promotions, he was responsible for establishing the AFA’s regular film programmes at its new dedicated cinematheque since 2019, with a focus on both contemporary and classic Asian film selections.
During his tenure at the AFA, he also developed and presided over new specialised programmes such as the Southeast Asian omnibus film Fragment (2015), the exhibition Celluloid Void: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia (2015 – 2016), the Asian Restored Classics film festival (2016 – 2019), the multidisciplinary arts exhibition series State of Motion (2016 – 2021) commissioned by the National Arts Council of Singapore, the film programme Singular Screens (2018 – 2021) presented as part of the Singapore International Festival of the Arts, and the commissioning Asian cinema essay project Monographs in 2020.