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.

Selected Projects

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

Ghost of Kalantiaw

BY CHUCK ESCASA (THE PHILIPPINES)

Ghosts of Kalantiaw investigates the life and mind of a man who conned an entire nation with historical forgeries. Explores mythmaking, identity, and why people fall for frauds.

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.

Reading Panel

1 Dec 2020 to 15 Feb 2021

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.