6 Socially-Distanced Ways to Support Film in Singapore During Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)7 min readReading Time: 6 minutes
It has been over a year since COVID-19 changed all our lives and the arts industry, which relies a lot on in-person interactions and large-scale events, was heavily affected. One year on, things have not quite gone back to normal yet and the industry has found ways to adapt for now.
When Singapore moved into Phase 3 in December 2020 and began relaxing restrictions, it seemed as though there was finally a sense of normalcy returning. However, the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and re-implementation of Phase 2 restrictions comes as a setback for some and has dashed hopes of being able to resume large-scale activities such as concerts, movie screenings, theatre plays, and exhibitions.
While the local film ecosystem may have taken a blow, film lovers can help to keep the industry afloat during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). No social gatherings? No problem. Here’s six socially-distanced ways to show our support for film in Singapore.
Revisit local classics on Netflix
In August 2020, Netflix added 106 Singaporean films to their catalogue in commemoration of National Day. There is no shortage of familiar titles within the collection, including the Ah Boys to Men series, I Not Stupid, Ilo Ilo, and even some older classics like The Teenage Textbook Movie. It may have been a while since these films were shown on the big screen, so why not revisit them on the small screen? Aside from films, there are also plenty of nostalgic television shows such as Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd and Under One Roof.
Netflix is still updating its collection and there are more upcoming releases to be expected. Most recently, Netflix added The Diam Diam Era to the catalogue last week and the continuation The Diam Diam Era Two is expected to be released on 8 August.
If you want to rope a few friends in to watch a local film together, you can now host a watch party using Teleparty, which is a Google Chrome extension. Teleparty syncs up every party member’s Netflix even down to pausing and playing at the same time. It also comes with a chatroom just for your watch party if you prefer not to talk out loud during the viewing. Now you can laugh with 881 or scream at Revenge of the Pontianak together with your best buds.
Try out a new local streaming service
If the arts industry can be described in one word, it is “creative”. Local cinemas and film organisations were quick to turn to streaming as a way of keeping audiences entertained even while the cinema halls are shut.
Shaw Theatres and Cathay Cineplexes both launched their own on-demand online streaming platforms. KinoLounge by Shaw Theatres features a library of blockbuster films, while Cathay CineHome is a collaboration with mm2 entertainment to showcase a range of Asian and International films.
Indie cinema The Projector has a rotating catalogue of films over on their streaming service The Projector Plus which was launched last year. If perhaps you are looking for something a little different, Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film has specially curated the Objectifs Film Library, which is made up of short films from Southeast Asia. Last but not least, there is of course Mediacorp’s meWATCH which has several free-to-watch local movies as well as television dramas, documentaries, and variety programmes.
Buy film merchandise
The world of online shopping has never been more alive, and nothing quite shows your support for a film like buying a piece of it. Some Singaporean films have gotten creative and now sell their very own merchandise, such as Tiong Bahru Social Club which sells their gorgeous tote bags and posters.
More commonly, however, Singaporean films may sell their merchandise through a larger organisation. Objectifs sells physical copies and even box sets of local films and shorts. The Asian Film Archive also sells physical copies of Singaporean and Asian films as well as film-inspired accessories such as enamel pins. stickers, and prints.
Become a part of the Singapore Film Society
The Singapore Film Society (SFS) is a gathering of film buffs and filmmakers across the country and regularly organises events such as screenings and panels. If you wish to connect with others who share a passion for film or to hear from those within the industry itself, why not sign up as an SFS member? Membership ranges from free-of-charge to $149/year with varying tiers of perks. Membership benefits include access to workshops, masterclasses, discounts to SFS showcases, and higher tiers even include streaming service subscriptions and discounts for movies and festivals.
SFS is entirely volunteer-run and if you are looking to get more involved you can now join their team and support what they do. With events moving online for Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), they have shifted their screenings to online formats and have even started a Telegram channel to keep in touch with members. As a volunteer, you can help play a part in keeping our film community alive and bustling in the midst of these difficult times.
SFS is currently looking for volunteers who are willing to try their hand at events planning, marketing, and much more. If you are interested to sign up, fill in their sign-up form: http://bit.ly/SFSVolunteerCall
Attend an online forum or seminar on filmmaking
Keen on making your own short film but wondering how to go about it? Objectifs is hosting a Short Film Forum as part of their Objectifs Short Film Incubator programme for Southeast Asian filmmakers which also grants five selected participants mentorship and access to a support network to help with their script writing process.
The forum consists of panels by Filipino filmmaker Carlo Francisco Manatad, editor Mary Stephen, cinematographer Chananun Chotrungroj, and many more esteemed creatives. They will be discussing the various aspects of crafting a short film. The forum is happening from 2 to 4 July over Zoom and is open to the public. Interested attendees can sign up for the panels online or find out more on the Objectifs website.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film & Media Studies is also hosting a webinar on independent films and making films on a budget. The webinar is part of their ongoing fireside chat series hosted by senior lecturer Michael Kam.
Attendees will get to hear from filmmakers Remi M Sali, Ho Pak Kin and Dzul Sungit about their experiences in making indie films and taking these films to festivals and the big screen. The webinar is free to attend and open to the general public, but attendees must pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/webinar-from-film-festivals-to-commercial-screens-tickets-157459895787
Did you know? Sinema.SG is now on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/sinemasg! Come join us for dialogues and interactive talk shows about local and Southeast Asian films! We have new topics every session and there are more exciting things to come so stay tuned for them too. Share your thoughts and perhaps learn more about Singaporean and Asian films together with us! We are looking forward to seeing all of you join us in future livestreams and we hope to bring lots of engaging content to you soon. Make sure to follow us on Twitch and our other social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too so you won’t miss out!