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Newly appointed SIFF Directors

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The Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF) has appointed Wahyuni A. Hadi and Zhang Wenjie to be its new Festival Directors. Wahyuni and Wenjie will commence their new appointment in July and August 2008 respectively and they replace long time trio Philip Cheah, Leslie Ho and Teo Swee Leng, who have been heading the festival since it started.

SIFF.jpgThirty-two year old Yuni and 33-year-old Wenjie have been actively involved in the Singapore film scene and they bring with them an in-depth knowledge of the industry and the experience of programming and organising international film events and festivals.

Yuni, who served as Festival Manager for the 21st Singapore International Film Festival this year says, “The Board believes that we have the right heartbeat for the role and we are proud to continue the work of our predecessors Philip Cheah, Leslie Ho and Teo Swee Leng who have led the festival with love and hard work.”

Equipped with a M.A in Arts Management from LASALLE College of the Arts, she spearheaded The Substation’s Moving Images programme as Senior Programme Manager from 1999-2003 launching key programmes such as the Singapore Short Film Festival and the Asian Film Symposium. Afterwhich she held the position of Commissioning Editor at MediaCorp’s Arts Central.

Wahyuni then moved on to be the first co-editor for Asia Europe Foundation’s primary online film source, SEA Images and in 2005 she co-founded Objectifs Films, the first Southeast Asian short film distributing company. She also started the independent film event, Fly By Night Film Challenge with filmmaker Tan Pin Pin in 2003.

Zhang Wenjie was the programming successor of Wahyuni at The Substation from 2003 to 2005. He then joined the National Museum of Singapore as the programmer for the National Museum Cinémathèque in 2005, and has curated some of the programmes and festivals like the Asian Film Symposium, World Cinema Series and Singapore Short Cuts.

SIFF1.jpg“For many of us, SIFF has always been much more than just a film event or festival. To me, the festival has been a window to stories that we need to hear from around the world, but most importantly it gives us the courage to tell our own stories,” Wenjie said.

He added that they are very honoured to continue this vision of SIFF and that they “look forward to welcoming both new audiences and to having old friends with us on this journey”.

As we await to see what the young ones are able to bring to the table, we also remember the people who have made this possible. Mr Philip Cheah, though he has stepped down as Director, will remain on the board of directors together with festival founder Geoffrey Malone and Singaporean film-maker Jasmine Ng.

In an article published in the Straits Times, Mr Cheah quoted from the Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s fable The Little Prince, ” What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

From its humble beginnings in 1987, the Singapore International Film Festival which only featured about 50 films, has grown by leaps and bounds and has become a platform for the discovery and promotion of Southeast Asian movies. Celebrating its 21st year, this year the SIFF held from April 4- 14, offered over 200 works and saw the launch of a ‘Singapore Panorama’ section.

SIFF is the largest and longest-standing film festival in Singapore and continues to be Singapore’s premiere film festival where professionals and general audiences alike enjoy quality, award-winning and cutting edge films.

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