Eli Stewart

Long-term SGIFF Volunteer

What is your fondest SGIFF memory or experience?

The 15th anniversary screening of Royston Tan’s 15 in 2018, was the first year I volunteered at SGIFF and the year I myself turned 15. The combination of disco music and lights really built the atmosphere. To hear from the actual cast members reflection of their lives as 15 year old’s when being 15 at that time, really showed me how films can teach you about lives and experiences you’d never know about without first watching any film.

What does the festival mean to you?

To me, it’s the best place for cinema and moving images to be celebrated and discussed in Singapore. It’s how I’ve learnt about a myriad of social issues and phenomena around the country, region, and world.

Why do you think it is important to support SGIFF?

It’s about supporting the voices behind the films, not just the festival itself. So our support is crucial in making sure that these real human stories and narratives don’t go unheard.

Why do you think storytelling is crucial, especially now?

It’s too easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated these days, and stories ultimately remind us that we are not actually alone, that this human experience is one we experience together, and that we should all be a little more understanding and kinder to each other.

How has film affected your life?

I’m not a filmmaker or a writer, so watching and talking about film has always been the most impactful to me. Through film, and more so the discussion of film, so many ideas and concepts of life that are important to me have been revealed. More than anything, film has taught me to seek out human stories and foster empathy. And isn’t empathy the first step to a better world?

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