The National Youth Film Awards (NYFA), jointly organised by *SCAPE and the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) have announced the 2019 line-up of winners in a ceremony held at *SCAPE’s The Ground Theatre.
The award-winning films all had in common a search for identity, an exploration that encompassed both personal and national identity. This year, 38 nominees were shortlisted from the 446 submissions received by a judging panel that included industry stalwarts such as famed Malaysian actress turned-director Sharifah Amani, and new jury member Looi Wan Ping, Cinematographer, who also worked as Associate Producer on feature film Revenge Of The Pontianak, now showing in theatres.
A total of 15 winning films were then selected across the Media Student and Open Youth categories. “Each year, our winners never fail to impress with their deft use of film techniques to tell compelling stories, most of which revolved around finding and accepting ourselves.” says Goh Kok Wee, Executive Director at *SCAPE. “NYFA hopes it will continue to be the stage for these young, emerging filmmakers to tell their stories of today’s youth.”
With continued participation of students from across institutes of higher learning in Singapore, NYFA is widely acknowledged as a distinguished platform that recognises the raw talent of media students and helps launch their film aspirations. Li Kayue, an NTU undergraduate, was awarded Best Live Action for “Foul Ball”, a film that depicts the value of resilience and the enduring spirit of youth.
Students from LASALLE College of the Arts also took home multiple awards, with Best Documentary going to Mei Fong Lin, for “Pigeonhole”, a documentary centred around the intersecting lives of two seniors citizens. LASALLE also clinched the Best Sound Design with horror film “Farah”, in which a tragedy that divides the family leads to terrifying consequences, and Best Art Direction with animation “To Be Apart” that follows the humourous exploits of a pigeon as he attempts to find a home with a flock of mynahs. Meanwhile, Best Animation was awarded to “Balance” by NTU undergraduate Raymond Limantara Sutisna for its use of masterful animation techniques that elevated its modest storyline.
NYFA’s continuous commitment towards supporting and recognising young filmmaking talent beyond schools was seen once again with its second run of the Open Youth category. Four short films stood out, each reflecting Singapore’s young film practitioners’ commitment towards challenging themselves on all aspects of filmmaking and consistently honing their craft. Kris Ong’s “You Idiot” emerged as the biggest Open Youth winner of the night, with Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Original Music. Best Live Action and Best Director were awarded to Leon Cheo for his film “SIN-SFO”, while “Trespass: Stories from Singapore’s Thieves Market”, took home the Best Documentary and Best Sound Design awards.
Returning NYFA participant Jerrold Chong scored Best Animation and Best Art Direction with ambitious sci-fi animation “Automatonomy”, making him NYFA’s Best Animation winner for two years running. Earning a Special Mention and Best Screenplay in the Open Youth category is Alvin Lee’s “A Time for Us”, with their all-rounded excellence in art direction, cinematography and screenplay, A slate of past winning films is now available for viewing on HOOQ, a video on-demand streaming service.
As part of *SCAPE’s commitment to nurture youth talents, NYFA will also be launching a mentorship pilot to offer past participants and interested youths an opportunity to learn and hone their craft with the industry’s veteran filmmakers. Experienced filmmakers such as Boris Boo, M. Raihan Halim, Juan Foo, Nicole Midori Woodford, Yahssir M., Jeremy Chua, and Andrew Ngin are among the filmmaker-mentors set to nurture and guide these youths in producing their next short film.