After a two-year break, the Singapore International Film Festival returns with a big splash when it opens on 4 December.
Out of the 147 feature and short films from 50 countries on its line-up, 28 films will be from Singapore.
This is the biggest list of Singapore films in the festival’s 25-year history. The festival is part of the Singapore Media Festival, which also includes the Asia TV Forum & Market, ScreenSingapore and Asian Television Awards.
Screenings will take place in venues around Singapore such as Marina Bay Sands, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Museum of Singapore, The Projector (formerly Golden Theatre in Golden Mile Tower) and The Arts House.
All of the festival's films, selected from more than 1,000 submissions, will be divided into 11 sections. In total, 25 films will be making their world premieres at the festival, while another 20 will be making their Asian debut.
Festival chairman Mike Wiluan said at a press conference on Tuesday 28 October: “We want to showcase local and filmmaking talent around Asia, and Singapore is the right place for that."
'Unlucky Plaza' trailer
Opening the festival is Ken Kwek’s ‘Unlucky Plaza’. Film buffs might remember Kwek’s ‘Sex.Violence.FamilyValues’, which was initially banned in Singapore in 2012 over alleged racially offensive content in one scene.
More: MDA bans Singapore film ‘Sex.Violence.FamilyValues’
The first Singapore film to open the festival, ‘Unlucky Plaza’ stars Filipino actor Epy Quizon and Singapore actors Adrian Pang, Janice Koh and Pamela Oei.
The movie caused a stir at its global premiere at last month's Toronto International Film Festival as it garnered rave reviews.
FROM CONDOMS TO INDIE ROCK
Wiluan added that thanks to government grants and support, the filmmaking scene here is looking livelier and more dynamic.
He noted that with social media and more accessible technology, filmmakers are able to get their works out more easily than 20 years ago.
More: inSing’s definitive guide to new Singapore films in 2014
The Media Development Authority's assistant chief executive Angeline Poh said the festival is also "a key platform for aspiring filmmakers in Singapore and the region", for them to be "recognised and discovered”.
She is also confident that film buffs and industry players will enjoy the festival’s strong line-up.
Golden Horse award-winner Yeo Yann Yann ham it up for the camera in sex-comedy 'Rubbers'
The Singapore movies to be shown include ‘Rubbers’, a sex-comedy starring Golden Horse winner Yeo Yann Yann, in what could be her most provocative role. Directed by Han Yew Kwang, the film is an anthology of three films revolving around condoms.
Singapore singer Kit Chan stars in her first feature film ‘Ms J Contemplates Her Choice.’ A psychological thriller, the movie is directed by Jason Lai and also stars Bobby Tonelli and Xiang Yun.
MORE: 6 movies to catch at Singapore International Film Festival
Others in the line-up include ‘The Obs: A Singapore Story’ by Yeo Siew Hua, ‘Standing in Still Water’ by Ric Aw and ‘As You Were’ by Liao Jiekai.
Among the 25 films making their world premieres at the festival are Indonesian director Teddy Soeriaatmadja’s ‘About A Woman’, ‘The Undertaker’ by Filipino director Andrea Capranico, ‘Journey To The Mother’ by Russian director Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterov, and Japanese director Takuya Misawa’s ‘Chigasaki Story’.
'Cloud of Sils Maria' trailer
Not to be missed are Olivier Assayas’ drama ‘Cloud of Sils Maria’, which stars Kristen Stewart, Juliet Binoche and Chloe Grace Moretz as well as this year’s Cannes 2014 Palme d’Or winner ‘Winter Sleep’ by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
Closing the festival will be Indonesian director Lucky Kuswandi’s tragicomedy ‘In The Absence of The Sun’, which examines the lives of a few women as they come to terms with their lost loves.
Singapore International Film Festival | Date: 4 – 14 Dec 2014 | Time: various timings | Venues: Marina Bay Sands (10 Bayfront Avenue), Shaw Theatres Lido (Shaw House, Levels 5 & 6, 350 Orchard Road), National Museum of Singapore (93 Stamford Road), The Projector (Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road) and The Arts House (1 Old Parliament Lane) | Tickets: $12, $15, $25 from Sistic. See website for details.
Zaki Jufri writes about the arts, entertainment, film and other stuff for inSing.com