Singapore film fest draws highest turnout

Filipino dark comedy Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee Of The Month (left) was voted Best South-east Asian Short Film, while animated drama Between Us Two (above) won Best Singapore Short Film at the Singapore International Film Festival.
Filipino dark comedy Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee Of The Month (above) was voted Best South-east Asian Short Film, while animated drama Between Us Two won Best Singapore Short Film at the Singapore International Film Festival.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Filipino dark comedy Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee Of The Month (left) was voted Best South-east Asian Short Film, while animated drama Between Us Two (above) won Best Singapore Short Film at the Singapore International Film Festival.
Filipino dark comedy Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee Of The Month was voted Best South-east Asian Short Film, while animated drama Between Us Two (above) won Best Singapore Short Film at the Singapore International Film Festival.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

The Singapore International Film Festival closed on Sunday night, chalking up the highest reported audience figures since it reopened in 2014.

More than 14,000 attendees were present for its screenings, panels discussions and other events.

This compares with the 10,000, 12,000 and 13,000 attendees for 2014, 2015 and last year respectively.

The festival also scored the highest number of sold-out shows, 31 out of a total of 112 feature and short films. The next highest sold-out figure occurred in the reopening year, 2014, when 23 shows were sold out, out of a total of 147 features and short films.

This year, shows that were filled to capacity included Call Me By Your Name (2017), an AmericanEuropean gay coming-of-age story directed by Luca Guadagnino, starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet. It also won the Audience Choice Award, decided on by audience voting.

The movie will be released in cinemas on Dec 14.

The festival's judging panel voted Filipino dark comedy Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee Of The Month (2017), directed by Carlo Francisco Manatad, as this year's Best Southeast Asian Short Film.

Animated drama Between Us Two (2017), directed by Tan Wei Keong and detailing the conversation between a gay son and his dead mother, won the Best Singapore Short Film award.

At least two screenings were cancelled because of film classification roadblocks.

The experimental drama Shadows Of Fiendish Ancestress And Occasionally Parajanov On Durian Cialis (2017) was withdrawn from screening because it received a Not Allowed For All Ratings (NAR) classification.

According to the Info-communications Media Development Authority's (IMDA) films classification website, the Singapore-Japan-Philippines feature, directed by Singapore-based film-maker Chew Tze Chuan, "contains several prolonged sexual scenes which comprise depictions of real and pornographic sexual acts that have exceeded the Classification Guidelines".

Also not screened was the documentary The Venerable W. (2017), which received an NAR because "films that denigrate any racial or religious group, or create misunderstanding or disharmony amongst the races are not allowed for all ratings", according to the IMDA website.

The documentary, by acclaimed Swiss director Barbet Schroeder, is an examination of the anti-Muslim hate campaign in Myanmar led by the monk at the centre of the film, Ashin Wirathu.

The festival, launched in 1987, is Singapore's largest and longest-running film festival.

The annual event went dark for three years because of funding and other issues, before relaunching in 2014. It also became part of the Singapore Media Festival, hosted by the IMDA.

This year's event also marked the debut of Ms Pimpaka Towira from Thailand as programme director. The film-maker, producer and festival organiser replaced Mr Zhang Wenjie, who had been with the festival since its relaunch in 2014.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore film fest draws highest turnout'. Print Edition | Subscribe