Stories that count in reel life have always taken a healthy slice from real life. This theme is prevalent in some of the Malaysian titles featured in the upcoming 28th Singapore Film Festival (SGIFF).
The most obvious one is Tan Seng Kiat’s Shuttle Life, which had already earned three awards at the recent Shanghai Film Festival (Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Actor). At SGIFF, the film has been selected to be in competition under the Asian Feature Film Competition category at the Silver Screen Awards.
Shuttle Life stars Malaysian actor Jack Tan and Taiwanese actress-director Sylvia Chang, and tells the stark story of a poor family living in Kuala Lumpur that keeps getting hit by many challenges.
Also being showcased at the festival is Edmund Yeo’s Aqerat. Starring Daphne Low and Hon Ka Hoe, the film revolves around a woman getting mixed up in human trafficking and digging herself deeper and deeper in trouble.
There are also cross-country collaborations for films The White Girl by Jenny Suen and Christopher Doyle involving Hong Kong, Malaysia and Japan, as well as Mouly Surya’s Marlina The Murderer In Four Acts involving Indonesia, France, Malaysia and Thailand.
Believe it or don’t, it has been 10 years since Malaysian auteur Liew Seng Tat released his first film, Flower In The Pocket. To celebrate his achievement, SGIFF will screen the film with Liew in attendance.
Liew is also one of the mentors in the festival’s South-East Asian Film Lab, which features our own Vishnu Perumal’s work titled Spiritualized.
Two other Malaysian works showcased at the festival are a 17-min feature titled Kampung Tapir by Aw See Wee (which tells the struggles of protagonist Anne who is searching for a better life) and Amanda Nell Eu’s Lagi Senang Jaga Sekandang Lembu (It’s Easier To Raise Cattle) that focuses on two teenage outcasts at a kampung. Both the films are featured in the South-East Asian Short Film Competition.
As per usual, SGIFF will have its Masterclass programme in which guest filmmakers share their experiences. This year the attendees include Indian director Shekhar Kapur and Indonesian Garin Nugroho.
The festival opens with a film by Chinese director Vivian Qu titled Angels Wear White, which looks at underprivileged minority.
This year, the festival is introducing the South-East Asian Producer’s Network, whereby 11 regional commissioners and producers, including Singapore’s Fran Borgia, Indonesia’s Mouly and representatives from HBO Asia and Astro Shaw, will speak on collaborative filmmaking process in the region.
The 28th SGIFF runs from Nov 23 to Dec 3, across various venues on the island, including Marina Bay Sands, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Museum of Singapore and National Gallery Singapore. Ticket sales have started. For more information go to sgiff.com.