Another local film premieres at Cannes Film Festival
A Singapore film has once again been selected for screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Sandcastle, directed by Boo Junfeng, will see its world premiere at the 49th International Critics’ Week (ICW), which runs from 13-21 May.
As a first-time feature film director, Junfeng is also eligible for the Camera d’Or (Golden Camera) award, a distinction for best first feature film in any one of the Cannes’ selections – the Official Selection, the Directors’ Fortnight or the International Critics’ Week.
Sandcastle’s selection marks the sixth consecutive year that a Singapore film has been featured at Cannes, reinforcing the growing traction of local film in the international festival circuit.
Sandcastle is supported by the Singapore Film Commission’s New Feature Film Fund (NFFF) and was picked up in February by Fortissimo Film for worldwide distribution outside Singapore.
Through NFFF, the SFC aims to nurture the next generation of aspiring local filmmakers by providing them the opportunity to direct their first feature film in partnership with experienced film production companies so as to gain valuable insights into the business aspects of the film industry in addition to honing their directing and story-telling skills.
Said Boo Junfeng, “I’m really happy. It’s a dream come true for me to have my first film presented at Cannes Critics’ Week. I’ve always heard that it’s the best place to be at for first-time directors. I see this as part of my learning process and am really looking forward to interacting with the audience and film critics at the festival.”
Sandcastle is the first local film to be featured in the ICW, the oldest parallel competitive section with a highly selective programme of only seven feature films and seven shorts films. The ICW is the platform where world-renowned film talents such as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach, Wong Kar Wai, Jacques Audiard and Francois Ozon were first discovered.
En is a 17-year-old who is waiting for his enlistment into the army and for his neighbour’s sexy daughter, Ying, to show signs of interest in him.
In the meantime, he has to put up at his grandparents’ place as his mother is going on a long holiday with a man he doesn’t like (his father has died years before) and to whom he would really prefer not to see his mother remarry.
But as En soon finds out at his grandparents’ place, life cannot be put on hold indefinitely. He runs into Ying in compromising circumstances and gets more and more involved with his grandparents’ lives – the routines his grandfather builds around his grandmother’s dementia and which his grandfather fears are no longer sufficient to support her worsening condition.
At his grandparents’ place En also discovers that there may be more to his father’s student activist past than his mother lets on and is determined to get to the bottom of the matter.
As his family is drawn together in a sudden tragedy, En has to decide where his loyalty lies and stand up for what he believes in. But in a country where ideologies are forged on constantly shifting sands, he finds himself struggling to stay true to what he knows to be right. And in a family that prefers to forget, the sandcastles of everything he holds dear seem doomed to be washed away by the tides of time.