Singapore Chinese Film Festival to host physical, digital screenings

Changfeng Town, a nostalgic drama set in a fictional Chinese town, will be the opening title for this year's Singapore Chinese Film Festival.
Changfeng Town, a nostalgic drama set in a fictional Chinese town, will be the opening title for this year's Singapore Chinese Film Festival.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL

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 amid the pandemic.

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

The annual event is organised by the Singapore Film Society (SFS) and the Centre for Chinese Studies at Singapore University of Social Sciences.

They are partnering with FilmGarde Bugis+ for the physical screenings and Shaw KinoLounge for the online programme.

Speaking at a virtual press conference for the festival on Wednesday, SFS chairman Kenneth Tan says: "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 film-makers, organisers and audiences more options when preparing and attending a festival."

The festival will open with Changfeng Town by Chinese female independent 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 in the festival to screen both online and offline.

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 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 travelling around the international film festival circuit.

  • BOOK IT / SINGAPORE CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL 

  • WHEN: Oct 2 to 11

    TICKETS: $12.99 to $15 for the public; $9.99 to $13.50 for Singapore Film Society Film Addicts and Singapore University of Social Sciences members. Advance ticket sales start tomorrow. Tickets for sessions at Filmgarde Bugis+ are available at the box office and at bit.ly/3mppvu0; tickets for online screenings at Shaw KinoLounge are available at bit.ly/2ZCyqyz

    INFO: scff.sg

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

Music for the film was 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 Min Hui 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 Vimeo from Oct 3 to 9.

They star veteran Hong Kong 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 titles include Taiwanese crime flick The Gangs, The Oscars, And The Walking Dead (2019), starring Roy Chiu, and Heavy Craving (2019), a film about an obese woman, which won female lead Money Cai the award for Best New Talent at the Taipei Film Awards last year.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore Chinese Film Festival to host physical, digital screenings'. Print Edition | Subscribe