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SIFF: Interview with Yuni Hadi

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Wahyuni A. Hadi is most known for her work promoting Singapore independent film. She completed her Masters in Arts Management from LASALLE College of the Arts and was the Senior Programme Manager (Film) at The Substation. A self-confessed lover of the arts, she says, I’ve known I’ve wanted to be in the arts since I was a child. I always think I’m lucky to be doing something I love and being an arts manager allows me the luxury of enjoying and promoting the arts.

Yuni now manages Objectifs Films where she spearheaded the first film and photography residency and initiated the first short film distribution company in Singapore. She also co-founded the Fly By Night Video Challenge. After years of being involved, this year will be the first time she will take on the role of festival manager at the 21st Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF).

Sharyl Lidzhan Sapari (SS): As festival manager, what’s your job scope like, and what are the specific duties you carry out?

Yuni Hadi (YH): The festival manager oversees the logistics of the festival, some programming, oversees marketing and branding, undertakes sponsorship duties and works with the festival director to ensure the festival will be up and running smoothly.

SS: How long have you been involved with the SIFF?

YH: The 21st SIFF is my first as the Festival Manager but my relationship with the festival began earlier when I worked with the festival when I was previously with The Substation and the Singapore Film Commission.

SS: How do you find the time to balance being a festival manager as well as being part of the team at Objectifs?

YH: When you love what you do, you’re fully committed to doing as much as possible for the local film community.

SS: What are the changes, positive and negative, that you have seen in the SIFF over the years?

YH: Like any organisation, the SIFF is constantly evolving. There are ups and there are downs because changes in the industry, community and economy affect us all, including the SIFF. SIFF has shown a lot of resilience and I think its place is not to be a crowd pleaser but to challenge and recreate perceptions and ideas through films.

SS: How do you overcome the challenge of having to find new audiences every year, and how do you keep audiences interested in the SIFF?

YH: SIFF is no different from the hundreds of film festivals in the world and the other arts festivals in Singapore. Festival films will always be niche. If it weren’t, it would find a place in the commercial cinema. I aspire to have audiences fall in love with film over and over again, whether it is through the platform of SIFF or anything else.

SS: What is the difference between this year’s SIFF and last year’s? What are the things that you try to do differently every year?

YH: I think it’s a questions best left for audiences and SIFF supporters. We can only try our best and hope our work is translated into a meaningful experience!

SS: How do you see the SIFF in the coming years? Are you going to continue to contribute to the festival and be involved in like, SIFF, say ten years on?

YH: We can never predict the future. My hope is that the SIFF will always have a space in the arts calendar in Singapore.

SS: You are actively involved in almost anything that has to do with film and photography in Singapore, what is it that interests you most and what drives you to stay active in the arts?

YH: I’ve known I’ve wanted to be in the arts since I was a child. I always think I’m lucky to be doing something I love and being an arts manager allows me the luxury of enjoying and promoting the arts. We should always let our work speak for itself and let it stand the test of time. The most important thing we can do as arts managers is to listen and watch. It’s imporant to me to always maintain a sense of curiousity, adventure and definitely, a sense of humour.

The 21st Singapore International Film Festival runs from 4 April to 13 April, with its Singapore Panorama segment held here at Sinema Old School. Tickets are available from Sistic.

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