Singapore International Film Festival Continues To Drive Southeast Asian Works With Selection Of Film Fund Recipients

21 June 2021, Singapore – Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) announces its shortlist of eight documentaries and short films from Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar which will receive its SGIFF Film Fund this year.

Comprising the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC) and SGIFF Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS), the fund will help support the development and production of these compelling and thought-provoking films that contribute to the growth of the Southeast Asian film landscape.

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC)

The Tan Ean Kiam Foundation – SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC) is awarded to four mid-length or feature documentaries annually — two production projects with a cash amount of S$30,000 per recipient and two post-production projects with a cash amount of S$20,000 per recipient. With the SEA-DOC grant, the Foundation hopes to support Southeast Asian documentary filmmakers, particularly through the global pandemic, to continue capturing the stories unique to the region.

“Documentary films serve to highlight issues of social importance around us. We hope the grant allows filmmakers in the region to continue their work in developing stories that speak to the issues that shape our world,” said Tan Keng Leck, Vice Chairman of the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation.

The grants were awarded to Ghosts of Kalantiaw by Chuck Escasa and Divine Factory by Joseph Mangat from the Philippines, Hours of Ours by Komtouch Napattaloong from Thailand, and Operation Spectrum by Jason Soo from Singapore. The selection jury felt that each of these projects presented powerful stories with strong Southeast Asian perspectives and an engaging and experimental approach to storytelling, and commended the filmmakers on the outstanding quality of their projects.

SGIFF Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS)

Supported by C47 Investment and White Light Post, the SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS) is awarded to four short films this year, double the number from previous years. Each recipient will receive a cash amount of S$4,000 from C47 Investment, and post-production support worth S$4,000 from White Light Post.

When selecting the short films, the jury had shortlisted projects from up and coming filmmakers with a distinct cinematic voice, that were creative, inspiring and original. It was felt that the winners, Mountain Land: A Celebration by Singapore director Kris Ong, April Mud by Timothy John Baraceros Collanto from the Philippines, Once Upon A Time There Was A Mom by Lin Htet Aung from Myanmar and The Nature of Dogs by Thailand’s Pom Bunsermvicha, demonstrated these qualities, with captivating stories that would resonate across Southeast Asian countries.

Selected Projects

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC)

Two projects to each receive a S$30,000 cash prize under the Production Grant from Tan Ean Kiam Foundation

Ghosts of Kalantiaw

by Chuck Escasa (The Philippines)

Weaving together interviews, animations, old photos, and live action drama, Ghosts of Kalantiaw explores the ferocity of the imagination and the burden it places on people who have none

Operation Spectrum

By Jason Soo (Singapore)

Operation Spectrum explores the nature of political rule in Singapore and reveals a country marked by the shadow of its traumatic past.

Two projects to each receive a S$20,000 cash prize under the Post-production Grant from Tan Ean Kiam Foundation

Divine Factory

By Joseph Mangat (The Philippines)

Divine Factory guides us through the universe of a city-factory, a labyrinth where the marginalised work day and night painting and molding the likeness of Catholic holy saints.

Hours of Ours

By Komtouch Napattaloong (Thailand)

Hours of Ours chronicles the journey of a family of Sudanese refugees looking to resettle in Canada after six years of living with uncertainty in Thailand.

SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS)

S$4,000 cash prize from C47 Pte Ltd and S$4,000 in post-production services from White Light Studio Co. Ltd

Mountain Land: A Celebration

By Kris Ong (Singapore)

Mountain Land: A Celebration is an experimental collage film in the style of a 1950s educational newsreel about a fictional island shaped like a human body. The film celebrates the exuberance of the body, the spirituality of music and movement, and the constant calamity and renewal of life.

April Mud

By Timothy John Baraceros Collanto (The Philippines)

April Mud follows Cora who returns to her provincial hometown with a film crew to shoot a military drama, with promises of bringing more business to the area. Realising too late the disruption this causes, she and her team do their best to mitigate problems before the last shot of the evening.

Once Upon A Time There Was A Mom

By Lin Htet Aung (Myanmar)

Once Upon A Time There Was A Mom shows the struggles and revelations of those left behind after a death. On the day after a mother’s death, the father transforms back into his teenager-self, becoming the same age as his son

The Nature of Dogs

By Pom Bunsermvicha (Thailand)

In The Nature of Dogs, a family of four and their dog make their way to a seaside hotel in Kui Buri, Thailand. What appears as an ordinary vacation turns into a series of interactions that betray a mysterious tension in the family’s relationships.

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Resources

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.

Annex A: About SGIFF Film Fund

SGIFF offers two film grants for Southeast Asian film projects, the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC) and the SGIFF Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS). These grants are dedicated to supporting filmmakers with compelling stories to tell across both fiction and non- fiction genres.

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC)

The Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian-Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC) aims to support the production and post-production of engaging stories told through the art of documentary filmmaking in Southeast Asia. The grant supports four mid-length or feature documentaries annually—two production projects with a cash amount of S$30,000 awarded to each recipient and two post-production projects with a cash amount of S$20,000 awarded to each recipient

SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS)

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 from the region. SEA-SHORTS will support four short films annually, each with 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.

Annex B: SGIFF Film Fund Sponsors

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation

The Tan Ean Kiam Foundation was set up by Singapore pioneer, Tan Ean Kiam. For the last 64 years, it has dedicated its mission to the nurturing of local art and culture, and giving the gift of education, particularly for those in-need. By giving to SEA-DOC, the Foundation hopes to encourage and support more local and SEA documentary filmmakers, especially those who are capturing and sharing the unique stories of Singapore and its region.

C47 Investment

C47 Investment is a content investment company based in Singapore and South Korea. Established in 2017, C47 Investment has invested in the development and production of over a dozen Korean-language TV and film projects. In 2020, C47 Investment began investing in content outside Korea. C47 Investment also sponsored various creative contests in Korea to discover new talent and is a proud sponsor of the SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant. C47 Investment plans to widen its presence as a valuable investment partner to talented creators all across Asia. For more information, please visit c47investment.com.

White Light Post

Founded in 2010, White Light Post is Thailand’s first boutique digital film lab. As filmmakers ourselves, we treat every film as if it is our own. Our mission is to tailor post-production solutions for filmmakers across Asia. We believe the alchemy of art, color and science is the secret to amazing post-production.

White Light actively supports filmmakers and sponsors post-production awards at the Hong-Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), the Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab (SEAFIC), the Purin Pictures Film Fund, and the Singapore International Film Festival’s SEA-Shorts Grant. We have supported films from a wide range of countries, including Thailand, China, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, which have screened in leading film festivals like Berlin, Busan, Toronto, Singapore and many more.

White Light’s founders include award-winning DoP, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Call Me By Your Name, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), and award-winning Editor, Lee Chatametikool (Apprentice, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Shutter). For more information, please visit www.whitelightpost.com

Annex C: SGIFF Film Fund Reading Panel

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC)

Amir Muhammad

Amir Muhammad is a Malaysian movie producer and book publisher. The documentaries he has directed include The Last Communist (2006) and Village People Radio Show (2007), both banned in Malaysia. He is a partner of Da Huang Pictures, whose most recent film is Tan Chui Mui’s Barbarian Invasions (2021). His company Kuman Pictures has completed three low-budget horror films, including Roh (2019) which was theatrically released in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Cambodia. His publishing company Buku Fixi has published over 200 books since 2011.

Wood Lin

Based in Taiwan, Wood Lin is the Programme Director of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival. He has served as juror at numerous international film festivals, including the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, Dokufest, Hong Kong International Film Festival, Golden Horse Award and Taipei Film Festival.

Thong Kay Wee

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.

SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS)

Lorna Tee

Lorna Tee is a pan-Asian film producer and film festival curator/organiser, dividing her time between Asia and Europe. She has worked for Focus Films (Hong Kong), Variety (USA), Irresistible Films (Hong Kong/Japan), Berlinale, CinemAsia Film Festival and was the founder and Head of Festival Management for the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. Her selected filmography includes The Beautiful Washing Machine, Rain Dogs, Crazy Stone, Love Story, My Mother is a Bellydancer, The Shoe Fairy, At the End of Daybreak, Lover’s Discourse, Come Rain, Come Shine, Postcards from the Zoo and Mrs K. She is developing film projects in Asia with her production company Paperheart, lecturing at film training programmes and consulting with various international film institutions and film funds. She is also currently curating the year-round film screenings programme at the Cinematheque Passion in Macao.

Kuo Ming-Jung

Lorna Tee is a pan-Asian film producer and film festival curator/organiser, dividing her time between Asia and Europe. She has worked for Focus Films (Hong Kong), Variety (USA), Irresistible Films (Hong Kong/Japan), Berlinale, CinemAsia Film Festival and was the founder and Head of Festival Management for the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. Her selected filmography includes The Beautiful Washing Machine, Rain Dogs, Crazy Stone, Love Story, My Mother is a Bellydancer, The Shoe Fairy, At the End of Daybreak, Lover’s Discourse, Come Rain, Come Shine, Postcards from the Zoo and Mrs K. She is developing film projects in Asia with her production company Paperheart, lecturing at film training programmes and consulting with various international film institutions and film funds. She is also currently curating the year-round film screenings programme at the Cinematheque Passion in Macao.

John Canciani

Based in Switzerland, John Canciani is the Artistic Director of the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. He is a founding member of the Pro Short Swiss short film association, a film curator at the Kino Cameo Winterthur and a member of the Swiss Film Academy and the European Film Academy. He has curated various film programmes which were shown at the Cabaret Voltaire Zürich, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Centre Culturel Suisse Paris and Ann Arbor Film Festival, and has been a jury member at numerous film festivals including the Glasgow Short Film Festival, Go Short Nijmegen, Hong Kong Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, International Film Festival Jeonju, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Seoul International Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival and more. His film Tokyo Rock ‘n’ Roll (2007) was shown at film festivals such as EMAF Osnabrück, Alternative/Video Belgrad, Art le Havre Biennale d’art contemporain, Leeds IFF, VideoEX, Sao Paolo ISFF. He has also served as editor on an issue of the film journal OnCurating titled The Future of Short Film.