TAKEAWAYS FROM 32ND SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Capping off another successful edition with 40 sold-out screenings
The 32nd Singapore International Film Festival or SGIFF concluded on Sunday night after 11 days of film screening, panel discussions, and talent development programs that celebrated the continuity of film and storytelling in Singapore and beyond.
With over 100 film titles from more than 40 countries that were screened across seven theatres, including a special live music showcase for the Singapore Panorama feature film Scene Unseen, completed by the late Abdul Nizam and Friends, this was one of the largest line-ups SGIFF has put up in recent years.
This year also saw an increase in the number of sold-out screenings (totaling 40). Among them was this year's opening film, "Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash" by an Indonesian film director Edwin. A co-production between Indonesia, Singapore, and Germany, the film was one of six local co-productions this year, aptly demonstrating the spirit of community and collaboration within the film industry, even in a divisive world.
"It has been my privilege to program the 32nd Singapore International Film Festival," says Thong Kay Wee, Program Director, SGIFF.
"We've made it through another difficult and unpredictable year, which would not have been possible without the support of our wonderful team, the generosity of so many in the film community, and our army of volunteers.
"I am delighted that the festival could offer a precious communal space for people to gather and find strength in one another, and deeply encouraged by the camaraderie and support from all these communities.
"It is my hope that SGIFF can continue to play a major role in cultivating deeper appreciation of our region's cinema and platform urgent and quality film works for years to come."
This year, film screenings took place entirely in the cinemas, which included 19 live onsite Q&A sessions, a significant part of film festivals that allow for discourse and discussion.
Several programs under the Forum banner and SGIFF Film Academy continued a hybrid format in a bid to include more members of the international film community.
A number of overseas guests specially traveled into Singapore for the festival, which spanned speakers, jury members, and filmmakers. SEA Film Lab mentors, directors Taiki Sakpisit (Thailand) and Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia) arrived in person to conduct workshops and provide feedback to participants who were embarking on their first feature film.
SGIFF Film Academy is a multi-layered initiative that includes SEA Producers' Network, SEA Film Lab, Youth Jury, and Critics Programme, demonstrating SGIFF's commitment as a leader of the regional film industry to drive connections and appreciation for the art of film.
This year saw close to 40 emerging voices across Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, take part across all three programs, deep-diving into masterclasses, case studies, and discussions for content development and production.
Participants in the latter two programs also have an active role in the annual Silver Screen Awards, where the SEA Film Lab program culminates in the filmmakers pitching to a panel of industry experts and the young jurors awarding the Youth Jury Prize to one of the films competing in the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition. The Silver Screen Awards were presented virtually this year and gave out 13 prizes across six categories, up from 12 last year.
The outstanding line-up of films screened at this year's SGIFF is a testament to Singapore and Asia's incredible creative talent. These include award-winning works by local talents such as "A Man Trembles", which made Singaporean co-directors Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen win the Best Director award for the Best Southeast Asian Short Film competition, docu-film "Like Shadow Through Leaves" by Lucy Davis, which was awarded Best Singapore Short Film, and "Some Women" by Queen Wong, which won the much-anticipated Audience Choice Award.
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