SINGAPORE - Film-maker Shane Lim had a herpes scare when he was 19, and he was almost certain he had contracted the sexually transmitted disease.
It turned out to be a false alarm, and he tested negative for the disease.
The episode - which left him feeling anxious and fearful - however, inspired a 15-minute fictional film, titled November. It is about a teenage couple undergoing a trying period after Kai, the male character, finds out he has herpes, and his girlfriend Min is forced to face her own fears.
Mr Lim, now 25, declined to reveal more on the episode but noted that the short film, shot over three weekends last year, helped him to "make sense" of the experience.
"I wanted to make a film that was personal, and that explores young love, but using a topic that people usually shy away from to bring out the story," said Mr Lim, a film, sound and video diploma graduate from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP).
On Sunday evening, the film, which he wrote and directed, was the biggest winner at the inaugural National Youth Film Awards (NYFA), winning three of the 14 awards available. It won for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Direction.
The NYFA, organised by *Scape, is a film-making competition targeted at film and animation students at Institutes of Higher Learning here, and identifies young talents to be nurtured by industry professionals.
A total of 238 entries were received this year, and 47 films were nominated for the 14 award categories, which include Best Animated Film, Best Original Music and Best Production Design. The winners - who were selected by a jury made up of acclaimed local film-makers including Jack Neo and Royston Tan - received up to $2,000 cash for each award, and mentorship opportunities with established media firms.
"It is nice to have some kind of validation for our work, and to be able to receive mentorship opportunities from industry professionals," said Mr Lim, who is currently a year into his national service stint. Mr Lim and co-writer Angelica Ho, 21, also a recent graduate from the film, sound and video programme at NP, received the awards at a ceremony at *Scape on Sunday, which was graced by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong.
In his address, Mr Wong said: "For the past few years, we've been seeing growing interest in film-making among our young people. So we thought it was timely to have a national level award to recognise the best of our young film-makers, not just directors and actors, but everyone involved in the film-making process."