Since 2009, the European Union Film Festival has partnered up with a local film institution each year, giving young local filmmakers a platform to showcase their student short films alongside the many European films that are screened.
Previous partners include Tisch School of the Arts and The Puttnam School of Film and LASALLE College of the Arts. Joining them this year is Chapman University Singapore.
But Chapman isn’t only planning on screening students’ work, it is also helping with the genesis of a marketing plan for the festival: Benjamin Ken Tanaka and Mah Yinghao, designed and produced the marketing plan for this year’s EUFF, eventually creating a campaign with the slogan ‘Film is an International Language.’ Here’s the impressive looking trailer.
Given that the EU’s motto is ‘Unity Through Diversity’, the campaign’s slogan is very fitting. Nana Greenwald, Associate Dean and Director, Chapman University Singapore, had this to say about the university’s involvement in the festival: “Chapman University Singapore focuses on developing the next generation of local creative producers, media entrepreneurs and imaginative storytellers. Our students’ short films at this year’s EUFF reflect a strong cross-cultural collaboration and showcase local as well as international stories.”
The 15 short films screened include documentaries made in the school’s unique cross-cultural documentary module, which involves students from Singapore and Orange County exchanging campuses and immersing themselves with the local students, all with the goal of creating movie magic together.
The students certainly seem grateful for the opportunity to show off their works. “It’s a very humbling experience to be in the line-up with so many wonderful filmmakers,” said graduating student Melvin Chan, who has two short films screening at the festival.
These shorts cover a really wide scope of subjects, mixing the provocative, touching and just plain quirky. What’s instantly obvious is the universal appeal in several of these stories: Cecil Award-winning ‘Transit’ (17 May, 9.30pm; 24 May, 7pm) by Regina Tan explores the unfortunate state of a girl trapped in a boy’s body and how it affects her and her family, while Chan’s ‘Mudita: Selfless Joy’ (15, 26 May, 7pm) is an autobiographical story of the director attempting to reconcile with his mother's decision to become a Buddhist monk after several tumultuous events in their family’s life.
Sean Ng’s ‘Sepuloh’ (17 May, 7pm; 25 May, 9.30pm) displays a father’s faith in his son’s struggle against Autism through the simple act of teaching him how to cycle.
Meanwhile, a community in San Francisco finds out what an iconic building really means to them in ‘Sun Children’ (19 May, 9.30pm; 25 May, 2pm).
Kane Wheatley-Holder & Austin Cherry’s ‘Poking Smith’ (16 May, 7pm; 20 May, 9.30pm) features a social media addict experimenting with communicating only through technology and the consequences of that extreme lifestyle.
23rd European Union Film Festival | Date: 15-26 May | Venue: Shaw Theatres Lido, 5 & 6/F Shaw House, 350 Orchard Rd. | Tickets: $11