SINGAPORE - A short film about a Malay boy who celebrates Chinese New Year for the first time took home the top prize at the ciNE65 Season IV Awards Ceremony on Thursday (July 6).
The Red Packet, directed by Sufyan Sam'an, 32, and written by Calvin Soon, 30, won Overall Best Film and Best Direction in the Open Category. Sam'an is the director of The Flying Kick Asia, a local video production house, and Soon is the creative producer of Mediashock Productions, a corporate video production company.
The inspiration for the film came from Sam'an's real-life experience.
His mother is Chinese, but was adopted by a Malay family when she was little. In 2014, his family got to meet her Chinese family during Chinese New Year.
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"My little cousin was confused with the festivities and went up to my great grandma and told her 'Maaf zahir batin', which is a Hari Raya greeting.
"It was very cute and that was where I got my inspiration for the film," he explained.
Their team won a cash prize of $3,000, a trip to the Busan International Film Festival and a Panasonic 4K Professional Camcorder.
The biennial local short-film competition honours the best three-minute films made to a set theme. This year's theme, "Home. Truly" explores the idea of nationhood and a sense of belonging.
The ceremony was held at The Joyden Hall in Bugis Plus.
The competition drew 103 submissions this year. One of the judges, Mr Jeremy Sing, 32, founder of SINdie.sg, an indie film website, said the submissions have grown "more sophisticated and polished".
"Storylines have also matured as people are now thinking about national issues and the theme on a deeper level," he added.
The Overall Best Film in the Student Category went to #12-99, about an unlikely friendship between a young Chinese immigrant and a Singaporean home owner.
It was directed by Jeth Heng, 25, and produced by Lou Mei Jun, 23, who are both undergraduates from Nanyang Technological University's School of Art, Design and Media.
Their film is about a mainland Chinese man who is about to move into a flat issued to him by his company, only to realise that he was scammed. The woman living in the flat opens her heart and home to him.
Heng said: "We didn't expect to win, but we're delighted and we are really excited about the trip to Busan." Like the winner in the Open Category, the team also got a $3,000 cash prize, a camera and a trip to the Busan International Film Festival.
To view the winning videos, go to www.youtube.com/cine65sg.