10 local movies to watch out for in 2015

Still from documentary 03-Flats by Lei Yuan Bin. -- PHOTO: SGIFF
Still from documentary 03-Flats by Lei Yuan Bin. -- PHOTO: SGIFF

There is a bumper crop of local movies being released in cinemas next year, several of which are made in conjunction with Singapore's 50th birthday. Others are films that premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival - some to sold out halls - that will get their theatrical release in the coming year. Of course, Singapore's favourite directors including Jack Neo continues to make crowd pleasers too.

Here are 10 local films to watch out for:

7 LETTERS

Directors: Boo Junfeng, Eric Khoo, K Rajagopal, Jack Neo, Tan Pin Pin, Royston Tan, Kelvin Tong

Stars: To be confirmed

What: Not much is known about casting because this project is still in the early stages of production. Created by the group of seven directors to mark the nation's 50th birthday, it will comprise seven films, each expressing the film-maker's idea of the Singapore identity, past and present.

When: July

03-FLATS

Director: Lei Yuan Bin

What: A documentary made as part of a larger study on the idea of domesticity in public housing, this unexpectedly moving work (above) sold out quickly at this year's Singapore International Film Festival. It quietly observes three single women, each living alone, as they go about their lives. The result is a moving portrait of what it means to make a home in modern-day Singapore.

When: Second half of 2015

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Director: Royston Tan

Stars: Joi Chua, Liu Lingling, Shigga Shay, Michael Tan

What: This is director Tan's first feature film in seven years, since he made 12 Lotus (2008). Making her acting debut, Chua plays a parking attendant named Fei Fei who dreams of becoming a singer like her idol, Taiwanese legendary star Fong Fei-fei.

When: June

1965

Director: Randy Ang

Stars: Joanne Peh, Qi Yuwu, Lim Kay Tong, Nicole Seah

What: Made to commemorate Singapore's 50 years of independence, the film will tell the stories of immigrants and natives during the time leading up to Singapore's independence in the titular year and is said to portray the fragility of racial harmony. When it was announced that Lim would play the role of founding minister Lee Kuan Yew here, both the general public and film industry players expressed their approval.

When: Late July or early August

AH BOYS TO MEN 3: FROGMEN

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Director: Jack Neo

Stars: Joshua Tan, Tosh Zhang, Wang Weiliang, Maxi Lim, Charlie Goh

What: The familiar cast of recruits from Jack Neo's box office two-parter hit Ah Boys To Men (2012, 2013) are back, except that they are now part of the famously tough naval diving unit.

When: Feb 19

OUR SISTER MAMBO

Director: Ho Wi Ding

Cast: Moses Lim, Michelle Chong, Siti Khalijah Zainal, Judee Tan

What: This is a passion project for Cathay, and in particular Ms Meileen Choo, the executive director of Cathay Organisation, and released to mark the storied cinema exhibition and distribution chain's 80th anniversary. Written by Michael Chiang, it recalls the heyday of Cathay's film-making period of the 1950s and 1960s, when it made classics such as comedy-drama Our Sister Hedy (1957).

When: July 15

UNLUCKY PLAZA

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Director: Ken Kwek

Stars: Jeffrey Quizon, Adrian Pang, Judee Tan, Shane Mardjuki, Guo Liang, Janice Koh

What: Selected at the opening film of SGIFF, this highlyanticipated first full-length feature from writer-director Ken Kwek blends thriller elements and social satire. A Filipino man is driven to his wits' end when a food poisoning case shuts down his Lucky Plaza restaurant. Along the way, he meets with a scamming property agent, a slick motivational speaker, a philandering pastor and a gangster with a man-purse.

When: April 16

A YELLOW BIRD

Director: K Rajagopal

Stars: Sivakumar Palakrishnan

What: In this drama, a man returns home after eight years in prison, but finds that he is unable to shake off his past. K. Rajagopal, also part of the team making the 7 Letters anthology, won acclaim when his shorts won the Singapore International Film Festival's Short Film Awards Special Jury Prize for three consecutive years - Can't Sleep Tonight (1995), The Glare (1996) and Absence (1997).

When: Late 2015

IN THE ROOM

Director: Eric Khoo

Stars: Josie Ho, George Young, Daniel Jenkins, Koh Boon Pin, Aeaw, Shuo Nishino

What: Eros and history are intertwined in this, award-winning director Eric Khoo's statement about changing cultural and sexual mores in Singapore. This work is dedicated to the late writer Damien Sin, who wrote Khoo's pivotal first feature, the macabre drama Mee Pok Man (1995)

When: Targeted release end of 2015

APPRENTICE

Director: Boo Junfeng

Stars: Firdaus Rahman, Wan Hanafi Su, Mastura Ahmad

What: Boo, who helmed the acclaimed 2010 coming-of-age drama Sandcastle, takes on the thorny moral issue of capital punishment in his second feature. A young prison office strikes up a friendship with an older colleague, who turns out to be the executioner. The younger man has to decide: Should he train under his friend, a man who puts others to death?

When: Third quarter of 2015