Film about ballet shoes wins Singapore's biggest cash prize for film making contest

SINGAPORE - A short film centered on a pair of shoes successfully walked away with the top prize at the Cathay Motion Picture Awards 2014 held on Friday night. 

Titled Sole Sisters, the film won for Best Motion Picture, which also comes with a cash prize of $15,000, the biggest cash prize for a film-making competition in Singapore. 

Speaking to Life! after the awards ceremony held at The Cathay at Handy Road, its writer-director Tom Zacharski, 28, says excitedly that he had entered the competition "with hopes but no expectations" of winning.

Zacharski, whose full-time job is a business analyst with Google, added: "The theme for the competition this year is ''sisters', but I didn't want it to be centered on humans, and wanted to be creative with objects instead. So the idea of these shoes came about, because they are feminine and come in pairs, like a pair of sisters." 

Sisters, which he worked on with the film's editor and cinematographer Sophia Phuong Dao, 25, features a pair of beige ballet flats as living characters who do everything together, until one of the shoes go missing one day.

Coming in second place, which comes with $8,000, is the film Chopsticks, which uses chopsticks as a metaphor for a pair of close-knit sisters who are mutually reliant. It was made by Chia Teng Long, Ong Shu Yang and Rayen Goh. 

Finally, the $5,000 third prize went to the heartwarming film Dancing Queens, directed by Martin Hong. Centered on an elderly woman who freely dances in front of curious stares as her own way of bonding with her sister, the film was also the pick for Viewers' Choice. 

The winners were whittled down from 15 finalist films and a total of 111 submissions. Participants were asked to submit a motion picture running 79 seconds, and it had to be made within the production deadline of 79 hours, in conjunction with Cathay Organisation's 79th Anniversary. 

This year, the judging panel was made up of Mr Chris Marsh, general manager of Studio Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company South East Asia; production designer Mr Ian Bailie, actress-director Michelle Chong; Ms Nana Greenwald, associate dean and director of Chapman University Singapore; Mr Shinho Lee, South Korean screenwriter famed for co-writing The Chaser (2008); and Mr John Lui, film correspondent for The Straits Times Life!. 

The annual awards, now in its third edition, focused on the theme of Sisters this year as a nod to the upcoming movie Our Sister Mambo starring Moses Lim and Michelle Chong, which is Cathay Organisation's first big-screen production in 15 years. 

yipwy@sph.com.sg

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