Arts Film News Singapore

SGIFF 2021: The Festival ends with 40 sold-out screenings and over 8,000 tickets sold

The 32nd Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) concluded on Sunday night after 11 days of film screenings, panel discussions, and talent development programmes that celebrated the continuity of film and storytelling in Singapore and beyond. With over 100 film titles from more than 40 countries that were screened across 7 theatres, including a special live music showcase for the Singapore Panorama feature film Scene UnSeen, completed by the late Abdul Nizam and Friends, this was one of the largest line-ups SGIFF has put up in recent years.

This year also saw an increase in the number of sold-out screenings — totalling 40 — among them was this year’s opening film, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Indonesian film director Edwin. A co-production between Indonesia, Singapore and Germany, this was one of six local co-productions this year, aptly demonstrating the spirit of community and collaboration within the film industry, even in a divisive world.

Thong Kay Wee

“It has been my privilege to programme the 32nd Singapore International Film Festival,” says Thong Kay Wee, Programme Director, SGIFF. “We’ve made it through another difficult and unpredictable year, which would not have been possible without the support of our wonderful team, the generosity of so many in the film community, and our army of volunteers. I am delighted that the festival could offer a precious communal space for people to gather and find strength in one another, and deeply encouraged by the camaraderie and support from all these communities. It is my hope that SGIFF can continue to play a major role in cultivating deeper appreciation of our region’s cinema and platform urgent and quality film works for years to come.”

Taiki Sakpisit

Film screenings this year took place entirely in the cinemas, which included 19 live onsite Q&A sessions — a significant part of film festivals that allows for discourse and discussion. A number of programmes under the Forum banner and SGIFF Film Academy continued a hybrid format, in a bid to include more members of the international film community. A number of overseas guests specially travelled into Singapore for the Festival, which spanned speakers, jury members, and filmmakers. Significantly, SEA Film Lab mentors, directors Taiki Sakpisit (Thailand) and Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia) arrived in-person to conduct workshops and provide feedback to participants who were embarking on their first feature film.

Tan Chui Mui

SGIFF Film Academy is a multi-layered initiative that includes SEA Producers’ Network, SEA Film Lab, Youth Jury & Critics Programme; demonstrating SGIFF’s commitment as a leader of the regional film industry to drive connections and appreciation for the art of film. This year saw close to 40 emerging voices across Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam take part across all three programmes, deep-diving into masterclasses, case studies, and discussions for content development and production. Participants in the latter two programmes also have an active role in the annual Silver Screen Awards; where the SEA Film Lab programme culminates in the filmmakers pitching to a panel of industry experts, and the young jurors awarding the Youth Jury Prize to one of the films competing in the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition. The Silver Screen Awards were presented virtually this year and gave out 13 prizes across six categories, up from 12 last year

“The outstanding line-up of films screened at this year’s SGIFF is testament to Singapore and Asia’s incredible creative talent. These include award-winning works by local talents such as A Man Trembles, which led Singaporean co-directors Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen to win the Best Director award for the Best Southeast Asian Short Film competition; docu-film {if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves by Lucy Davis, which was awarded Best Singapore Short Film; and Some Women by Quen Wong, which won the much-anticipated Audience Choice Award. I am glad that the Singapore Media Festival, together with SGIFF, continues to provide a platform to showcase these amazing stories, and facilitate conversations and opportunities for our talents,” said Justin Ang, Assistant Chief Executive for Media, Innovation, Communication & Marketing, IMDA.

“Having returned to cinemas this year, the Festival was a whirlwind of high spirits and renewed energy for the past two weeks. We are pleased to re-engage with local audiences and filmmakers during physical screenings and through the Forum section, as it was something we couldn’t do last year,” shares Emily J. Hoe, Executive Director of SGIFF. “Despite 2021 being the second festival we’ve run during the pandemic, SGIFF aimed for further growth and had a number of ‘firsts’ this year: five new programme categories, a screening plus live music performance, new venues and the Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema award. Looking forward, we are highly optimistic about the continuous growth of local and Southeast Asian filmmaking and will be bolstering the development of these illuminating stories through the Festival’s Film Fund.”

SGIFF 2021 ran from 25th November to 5th December 2021. For more information about the SGIFF, visit their website here

SGIFF Film Fund offers two film grants for Southeast Asian film projects, which are dedicated to supporting filmmakers with compelling stories to tell across both fiction and non-fiction genres. Submissions for the grants in the 2022 cycle are now open until 1 February 2022, Tuesday 23:59 (GMT+8). More information on submission guidelines can be found at SGIFF.com.

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