Live action films with female leads emerged as the top favourites at the 6th National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) ceremony. Organised by *SCAPE, the annual awards took place over Facebook live on Saturday and announced a total of 26 winners.
“Sunday” depicts a young woman with a full body rash, driven to violence during a forbidden encounter with her sister’s boyfriend. Directed by returning NYFA participant Kris Ong and produced by Tan Si En, who has worked with industry veterans such as Anthony Chen and Kirsten Tan, the film was conferred Best Screenplay and Best Live Action in the Open Youth Category. Best Cinematography went to Lincoln Yeo, who is a returning NYFA participant and now second-time winner. 32-year-old actress Vicki Yang, who played the lead role in “Sunday”, walked away with the Best Actress award.
“Lady E’s Wedding Revenge Plan” written, produced, and directed by Ngee Ann Polytechnic students was awarded Best Editing, Best Director, and Best Live Action in the Media Student category. The film follows an eccentric young girl’s journey to stopping her older sister’s wedding due to fears of growing up.
“In a time when we are still practising safe distancing, I am happy to note that our young filmmakers still strive to share stories through their craft. I hope that our young filmmakers will continue to showcase their talents and remain active in the digital space,” said Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth. “In a post-Covid world, digital skills and media skills will become very important for so many sectors.”
Animations tackling issues such as societal pressures and suicide faired strongly in the Media Student category this year. “GUNKWORLD” gives audiences a glimpse of modern horror as seemingly innocent cartoon characters begin to invade every aspect of life. Directed and written by Mark Chee, and sound design by Johan Rashid Jesmee of LASALLE College of the Arts, the film clinched the Best Sound Design award.
“Sexy Sushi” centres around a suicide mascot’s rude awakening to the true meaning of his life. Directed by Calleen Koh of LASALLE College of the Arts, the animation was recognised as Best Art Direction.
However, it was “Caught Off Guard” – a sweet, endearing story about fulfilling dreams – that clinched the Best Animation award in the Media Student category. Directed by Paul Ng of 3dsense Media School, the animation follows a security guard’s dream of becoming a ballet dancer. This is also the first time a student of 3dsense Media clinched an award in NYFA.
Best Documentary was awarded to “Bhanja” by Cheong Wan Ting of Nanyang Technology University, while Best Original Music goes to Ridz Razali, composer for GurJeevaan Singh BalRose’s documentary “Vichora”.
“Being a NYFA jury member for the first time, it was an eye-opening experience. I am impressed by these young filmmakers’ ability to offer fresh perspectives. I hope to be able to work with these youths one day, and I am looking forward to see where the next generation of filmmakers takes us,” said Actress Yeo Yann Yann shot to fame in 2013 for her striking performance in Cannes Caméra d’Or winning ‘Ilo Ilo’, directed by Anthony Chen.
Returning for the second time is 28-year-old Tan Wei Ting who won Best Editing for “Under The Same Pink Sky”. The live action film depicts a woman’s life after being diagnosed with breast cancer. This is Wei Ting’s second NYFA win. Her first was with her directorial debut film, CA$H, which won Best Direction in 2018.
Andre Quek and Jerrold Chong are also returning participants of NYFA. Both directors worked with Eric Khoo on the animation – The Brown Dog – which follows a dog’s struggles to survive in a harsh cruel human world. Based on a true story, the animation sound design was by Chong Xin Ying who received the Best Sound Design award.
The Best Animation goes to “Kua Bo”. Directed by Ang Qing Sheng and produced by Jamin Wu, the animation follows the journey of a 60-year-old who made a mistake with the lottery results due to his cataract. The jury lauded the vivid film for capturing the Singapore heartland with surprising authenticity while taking the viewer on a trippy fantasy ride.
Earning a Special mention in the Open Youth category is Jerome Ng – an architect turned filmmaker. Proclaimed by a jury member as a “gorgeously made animation”, “Metabolist Regeneration of a Dementia Nation” documents the lives of a series of residents living in Golden Mile Complex, urging the audience to resist the power structures that would see urban memories erased.
Winners will have the opportunity to embark on a learning journey at the SeaShorts Film Festival which will be going online. These filmmakers will have the chance to engage in post-show dialogues with fellow filmmakers in the region, and have access to all films, masterclasses, and forums throughout the entire festival period. Up to six filmmakers will also get to showcase their film at the festival as part of a NYFA showcase. This opportunity is part of NYFA’s continuous efforts to offer young talents a multitude of exposure, gain regional film festival experience, and foster collaborations with other like-minded filmmakers. The NYFA alumni from 2019 and 2020 will also be invited to pitch their stories where five teams will be given seed funding to produce a short film each.
“NYFA has recognised over 700 young, aspiring filmmakers since 2015. Some have become renown directors or producers, representing Singapore at regional or international film festivals. Others have ventured to start their own film studios,” said Goh Kok Wee, Executive Director of *SCAPE. “NYFA will continue to be the national platform that fuels the passion for “Singapore-flavoured” filmmaking, and provide our young filmmakers with opportunities to further develop and exhibit their talents.”
The full list of NYFA 2020 nominees and winners can be found here