Singapore Chinese Film Festival to offer both online and physical screenings

A still image from Changfeng Town, the opening film of the Singapore Chinese Film Festival this year.
A still image from Changfeng Town, the opening film of the Singapore Chinese Film Festival this year.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL

SINGAPORE - Three classic films in the Amoy dialect will be available online as part of this year's Singapore Chinese Film Festival, as it moves partially online given the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival, to be held from Oct 2 to 11, will host both live and digital screenings of 33 films, including the three classic films.

The annual event is organised by the Singapore Film Society (SFS) and the Centre for Chinese Studies at Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), which are partnering with FilmGarde Bugis+ for the physical screenings, and Shaw KinoLounge for the online programme.

Mr Kenneth Tan, chairman of SFS, says in a virtual press conference for the festival on Wednesday (Sep 16): "This is a very important milestone because even post-pandemic, the new technology that allows us to present a festival in this hybrid format is here to stay. This gives filmmakers, organisers and audiences more options when preparing and attending a festival."

The festival will open with Changfeng Town by the Chinese female independent film director Wang Jing.

A nostalgic drama set in an imaginary Chinese town, the film is co-produced by Singaporean filmmaker Tay Bee Pin. It received the Busan International Film Festival's Asian Cinema Fund for script development in 2016.

The film will be available both online and in the cinema - the only one to screen on both platforms in the festival.

There will be an online question-and-answer session for the film on Oct 5. All 15 question-and-answer sessions during the festival will be complimentary.

Aside from this Singapore-China project, there are also two made-in-Singapore films by local directors in the line-up.

The English-language Repossession by Goh Ming Siu and Scott C. Hillyard and a short film named Kua Bo by Ang Qing Sheng will both air during the festival.

For Goh and Hillyard, this is the first time their film will be screened in Singapore after it had travelled around the international film festival circuit.



A still image from Changfeng Town, the opening film of the Singapore Chinese Film Festival this year. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL

Billed as a social and psychological drama about a man who loses his job, it stars local acting veterans like Gerald Chew, Amy Cheng and Sivakumar Palakrishnan.

Music for the film is made by Teo Wei Yong, who won Best Original Film Score at last year's Golden Horse Awards for A Land Imagined (2018).

The festival also worked with Taiwan Film Institute and local film researcher Yeo Minghui to select three classic films in the Amoy dialect, a Hokkien dialect similar to Southern Min Taiwanese dialect.

Ms Yeo says the films will offer a glimpse into the Amoy film industry, which existed from 1948 to 1966. The films were made in Hong Kong but distributed mainly in places such as Taiwan, where the Amoy dialect is understood.

These three films, subtitled in both English and Chinese, will be available for free viewing on the platform Vimeo from Oct 3 to Oct 9. The films feature veteran Hong Kong film actress Ling Po and local singer-actress and Hokkien Queen Chong Set Png, better known as Zhuang Xuefang.

"A lot of people don't know but Ling Po got her start in Amoy dialect films before she moved on to star in major Hong Kong films," says Ms Yeo.

Other notable titles include Taiwanese crime flick The Gangs, The Oscars, And The Walking Dead (2019), starring Roy Chiu, and Heavy Craving (2019) - about an obese woman - which won its female lead Money Cai Best New Talent at the Taipei Film Awards last year.

The festival will close with the Hong Kong homosexuality-themed drama Suk Suk, which won Best Film at the 26th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

BOOK IT:

SINGAPORE CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL

When: Oct 2 to 11

Ticketing: $12.99 to $15 for the general public and $9.99 to $13.50 for SFS Film Addicts and SUSS members.

Advance ticket sales start on Friday (Sept 18).

Tickets for sessions at Filmgarde Bugis+ are available at the box office and online website

Tickets for online screenings at Shaw KinoLounge are available online through this website.

For more information, please visit here.

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