Student Films Score Opportunity to be Showcased on the Big Screen at EUFF 20216 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
The 30th European Film Festival (EUFF) which is happening from 6 May to 23 May 2021 will feature 10 short films by students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies (FMS). Each short will precede selected feature film screenings across the festival’s 23 films lineup.
The festival has had a tradition of collaborating with film schools in Singapore and this marks the sixth time the EUFF has partnered with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to screen a selection of its student films alongside the international films. The films were curated by senior lecturers Craig McTurk and Michael Kam, who were also involved in overseeing the production of the films.
“EUFF reached out to the School of FMS to launch this collaboration, and each year since then it has reached greater heights. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that we hope will last for years to come,” Mr McTurk tells us. Ngee Ann Polytechnic routinely submits work to various film festivals and events, however EUFF is the festival at which more of their student films are screened than anywhere else.
The ten films chosen are Ah Ma Flippa Ball, Handprint, Unknownature, Dear Amelia, Reading Between The Lines, Mother, Come See Me, Milk Powder, Wish Upon A Book, and Us. The films were originally made as projects for the students’ final year modules but were subsequently handpicked by Mr McTurk and Mr Kam for the EUFF collaboration. They shortlisted the films based on duration, quality and the likelihood that the film will garner audience interest. EUFF then made the final selection and arranged the lineup.
“I was able to see these films go from a raw idea to the finished, edited work. Each film was an arduous journey because so much work goes into what audiences see onscreen. For students, having viewers see their work is truly fulfilling and exhilarating. It affirms that all of their hard work was not in vain,” says Mr McTurk, “All of these opportunities are valuable and allow students to gain a foothold in the festival experience and the networking opportunities that come with it.”
For many of the budding filmmakers, this will be the first time ever that their films will be shown on the big screen. This is a huge mark of recognition and a rare opportunity to showcase their hard work and artistry to others. It is also quite fitting since some of the feature films that the short films are opening for will not otherwise have a theatrical release here in Singapore, with no other chance for Singaporeans to appreciate these films on the big screen.
Kiefer Kang, director of drama short Milk Powder, says: “When I was told that my film was chosen to be screened at EUFF, I was extremely shocked and proud because I did not plan for the film to be so successful, yet it received praises and positive comments. Being selected to be screened at EUFF means it will be exposed to other filmmakers and can potentially inspire them or even give them the opportunity to provide me with feedback. It is an astonishing feeling.”
Mohamed Azman Bin Mohamed Asthik, director of documentary short Dear Amelia, echoed similar sentiments: “I felt extremely elated and blessed when I heard my film was chosen to be screened! It’s every filmmaker’s goal to have their work showcased on the big screen, and to have my film be shown through a reputed, prestigious film festival like EUFF feels like a dream come true.”
As both filmmakers and film enthusiasts, the students found this to be the perfect opportunity to share their passion with their family and friends who may not otherwise attend film festivals, while also showing them the work that they have accomplished in their studies.
Alden Thng, director of drama short Us, is one of them: “I think above the screening of films, there is something special about film festivals you cannot experience elsewhere. It is a gathering [of] people to appreciate the art of filmmaking put up by many other talented individuals. EUFF will be an eye-opening experience especially for my family as they have never attended such events!”
Yet despite all that the collaboration between EUFF and Ngee Ann Polytechnic has achieved, it was not without its bumps along the way. The festival was originally scheduled to take place in May last year but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, further affected by subsequent measures implemented during Singapore’s circuit breaker period. Both the festival and the school had spent six months planning and held very high expectations for themselves, but ultimately came to the tough decision to shift their plans to this year. The festival is now one of the first of its kind to take place fully in-person since the easing of COVID-19 measures.
On 5 May, EUFF kicked off with its Portuguese comedy Parque Mayer, which was preceded by the student short film Ah Ma Flippa Ball. Prior to the screening, the documentary was showcased at the Capitol Theatre for the Honour Film Initiative and received a standing ovation. The EUFF presented another big moment for the student filmmakers. The film’s producer Sherlyn Sim was also delighted to see Senior Minister of State Sim Ann, who was present at the EUFF screening, thoroughly entertained and cracking up throughout the film.
Ah Ma Flippa Ball centres around a group of elderly women who play flippa ball, a simplified version of water polo. Director Pamela Lee Nur Shuhadah tells us that they were inspired by how healthy the elderly women were and they channeled that spirit into the documentary. She recalls the sleepover parties that the team held when editing the film together. The final product is a culmination of all their hard work: “For me to see all that fun and effort lead to the big screen, I’m just really happy.”
The EUFF is happening from now until 23 May at The Projector. The full lineup of films and more details are available at http://euff.com.sg.
Banner image credit: Ngee Ann Polytechnic School of Film & Media Studies