Anthony Chen's Wet Season is Singapore's entry for 2021 Oscars

The film stars Yeo Yann Yann (left) and Koh Jia Ler as a teacher and student respectively, each coping with emotional stresses at home.
The film stars Yeo Yann Yann (left) and Koh Jia Ler as a teacher and student respectively, each coping with emotional stresses at home.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

SINGAPORE - The drama Wet Season has been selected by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) as the nation's entry to next year's Academy Awards in the International Feature Film category.

The film, written and directed by Anthony Chen and released in 2019, stars Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler as a teacher and student respectively, each coping with emotional stresses at home.

At the 56th Golden Horse Awards, held last year, the film earned six nominations, including Best Feature Film and Best Director for Chen. It won one award, for Yeo, who took home the Best Leading Actress prize for her portrayal of the teacher Ling.

Wet Season is Chen's second feature as writer-director. His first, the family drama Ilo Ilo (2013), was selected as Singapore's entry to the 86th Academy Awards, held in 2014.

In a statement on Oct 13 announcing the selection of the film as Singapore's entry to the Oscars, to be held on April 25 next year, the director of the SFC Joachim Ng said of it: "It is a thought-provoking film which explores human relationships and emotions through the lens of a central female character grappling with her personal identity and marriage.

"The film has been well received by audiences in several film festivals and we are proud to continue supporting more made-with-Singapore films that transcend boundaries and evoke conversations."

Chen, 36, who is based in London, told The Straits Times: "Wet Season is a labour of love. We couldn't have done it without the actors and crew who worked tirelessly on this film. I am honoured and humbled that this film will represent Singapore at the Oscars and hope that the film will continue to be seen and move audiences beyond Singapore."

No Singapore film has made it to the shortlist of the Oscars in this category, which was previously known as Best Foreign Language Film.

Singapore's submissions in previous years include the drama A Land Imagined (in 2019), western Buffalo Boys (2018) and set-in-Thailand road movie Pop Aye (2017).