The Singapore International Film Festivals Announces The Recipients of This Year’s SGIFF Film Fund5 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Eight documentaries and short films from Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar have been named for the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF)’s Film Fund. Comprising of the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC) and SGIFF Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS), the fund will help support the development and production of these compelling and thought-provoking films that contribute to the growth of the Southeast Asian film landscape.
The SEA-DOC Grants were awarded to Ghosts of Kalantiaw by Chuck Escasa and Divine Factory by Joseph Mangat from the Philippines, Hours of Ours by Komtouch Napattaloong from Thailand, and Operation Spectrum by Jason Soo from Singapore. The selection jury felt that each of these projects presented powerful stories with strong Southeast Asian perspectives and an engaging and experimental approach to storytelling, and commended the filmmakers on the outstanding quality of their projects.
The SEA-DOC is awarded to four mid-length or feature documentaries annually — two production projects with a cash amount of S$30,000 per recipient and two post-production projects with a cash amount of S$20,000 per recipient. With the SEA-DOC grant, the Foundation hopes to support Southeast Asian documentary filmmakers, particularly through the global pandemic, to continue capturing the stories unique to the region.
The recipients of the SEA-SHORTS this year are Mountain Land: A Celebration by Singapore director Kris Ong, April Mud by Timothy John Baraceros Collanto from the Philippines, Once Upon A Time There Was A Mom by Lin Htet Aung from Myanmar and The Nature of Dogs by Thailand’s Pom Bunsermvicha. When selecting the short films, the jury had shortlisted projects from up and coming filmmakers with a distinct cinematic voice, that were creative, inspiring and original. It was felt that the winners demonstrated these qualities, with captivating stories that would resonate across Southeast Asian countries.
Supported by C47 Investment and White Light Post, the SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS) is awarded to four short films this year, double the number from previous years. Each recipient will receive a cash amount of S$4,000 from C47 Investment, and post-production support worth S$4,000 from White Light Post.
Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC)
Ghosts of Kalantiaw by Chuck ESCASA (The Philippines)
Weaving together interviews, animations, old photos, and live action drama, Ghosts of Kalantiaw explores the ferocity of the imagination and the burden it places on people who have none.
Operation Spectrum by Jason SOO (Singapore)
Operation Spectrum explores the nature of political rule in Singapore and reveals a country marked by the shadow of its traumatic past.
Divine Factory by Joseph MANGAT (The Philippines)
Divine Factory guides us through the universe of a city-factory, a labyrinth where the marginalised work day and night painting and molding the likeness of Catholic holy saints.
Hours of Ours by Komtouch NAPATTALOONG (Thailand)
Hours of Ours chronicles the journey of a family of Sudanese refugees looking to resettle in Canada after six years of living with uncertainty in Thailand.
SGIFF Southeast Asian-Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS)
Mountain Land: A Celebration by Kris ONG (Singapore)
Mountain Land: A Celebration is an experimental collage film in the style of a 1950s educational newsreel about a fictional island shaped like a human body. The film celebrates the exuberance of the body, the spirituality of music and movement, and the constant calamity and renewal of life.
April Mud by Timothy John Baraceros COLLANTO (The Philippines)
April Mud follows Cora who returns to her provincial hometown with a film crew to shoot a military drama, with promises of bringing more business to the area. Realising too late the disruption this causes, she and her team do their best to mitigate problems before the last shot of the evening.
Once Upon A Time There Was A Mom by LIN Htet Aung (Myanmar)
Once Upon A Time There Was A Mom shows the struggles and revelations of those left behind after a death. On the day after a mother’s death, the father transforms back into his teenager-self, becoming the same age as his son.
The Nature of Dogs by Pom BUNSERMVICHA (Thailand)
In The Nature of Dogs, a family of four and their dog make their way to a seaside hotel in Kui Buri, Thailand. What appears as an ordinary vacation turns into a series of interactions that betray a mysterious tension in the family’s relationships.
The grants look to help these filmmakers continue their work, bringing more compelling and thought-provoking Southeast Asian films to wider audiences and expanding the region’s cinematic landscape.