The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) has appointed Taiwanese film curator, Kuo Ming-Jung, as its new Programme Director to lead the Festival alongside Executive Director, Yuni Hadi. Entering its 30th edition, the Festival continues its commitment to grow the independent film ecosystem in Southeast Asia through the introduction of the SGIFF Film Academy. It will bring together the Festival developmental programmes under one umbrella to support the growth in expertise and experience of Southeast Asian film talents while elevating the level of cinematic appreciation among film lovers.
Previously having served as a Programme Consultant of SGIFF, Ming-Jung takes over from Thai filmmaker and critic, Pimpaka Towira, to lead the Festival’s film curation and programmes. Pimpaka will continue to lend her expertise as one of the Festival’s Programme Consultants. Says Yuni Hadi: “Southeast Asian cinema is poised to become an important player in the international film industry. Ming-Jung brings on board her passion for Asian cinema and in discovering new directors, which complements our current team and will allow us to shape the next chapter of SGIFF as we enter into our 30th edition. We would also like to thank Pimpaka for her contribution to the Festival and championing new developmental programmes with us, such as the Southeast Asian Producers Network, to bolster the regional film scene.”
An experienced film industry professional, Ming-Jung was the Programme Director at Taipei Film Festival from 2014 to 2018. She has also served on several juries and selection panels including at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Locarno Film Festival. Says Ming-Jung: “SGIFF is an anchor Festival in the region where the best and budding Southeast Asian talents gather to exchange ideas, deliberate and share their voice through cinematic works. I continue to be inspired by the community’s openness to collaborate, its camaraderie, and the beautiful stories told as a result of this unique spirit. I look forward to working closely with the SGIFF team to contribute and grow the ecosystem in my new role.”
The Festival also announced its shortlist of seven short films and documentaries from Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam which will receive its inaugural SGIFF Film Fund. Comprising Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEADOC) and SGIFF Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS), the fund will help support the development and production of these stories to build the region’s portfolio. The strong entries received also prompted the jury panel to award the Grant to an additional short film – Nursery Rhymes by Singapore filmmaker Michael Kam.
The SGIFF Film Fund is part of the SGIFF Film Academy (SFA) umbrella, the region’s first holistic training initiative to support Southeast Asian film talents and nurture film appreciation among the audience. A launch pad for mentorship, exchange of ideas and strengthening film literary, the developmental programmes – Southeast Asian Producers Network, Southeast Asian Film Lab, Youth Jury & Critics Programme, SGIFF Film Fund, New Waves, Film Immersion Programme for Schools and Film Navigation Programme – will enhance the capabilities of the regional film scene collectively.
Adds Yuni Hadi: “SGIFF has always been a firm advocate of Southeast Asian cinema, and the SGIFF Film Academy will enable us to holistically look at the support extended to the ecosystem and identify potential gaps and areas of synergy. We hope that this will bolster the development and growth of the industry in the long run. We would also like to congratulate our recipients of the inaugural SGIFF Film Fund and look forward to seeing these productions come to fruition.”
Veteran producer and transmedia filmmaker, Michel Reilhac, will take on the role as Head Mentor for the 2019 Southeast Asian Film Lab, bringing his experience as Head of Studies at the Venice Biennale College and former Executive Director of Arte France Cinema. He will work alongside two Lab Mentors – Hong Kong film producer, Teresa Kwong and Thai film editor, Lee Chatametikool. This year’s Youth Jury & Critics Programme will also be led by esteemed Thai film critic, Kong Rithdee.
Photo Credit: 30th SGIFF and Dean Koh
SGIFF 2019 runs from 21st November to 1st December 2019, with its call for entries running from now till 19th August 2019. For more information on the upcoming 30th edition of SGIFF, visit their website here