Singaporean wins Bafta award

Producer Low Ser En and British director Paloma Baeza (both above) with their awards for the film Poles Apart at Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday.
Producer Low Ser En and British director Paloma Baeza (both above) with their awards for the film Poles Apart at Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday.
Producer Low Ser En and British director Paloma Baeza with their awards for the film Poles Apart (above) at Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday.
Producer Low Ser En and British director Paloma Baeza with their awards for the film Poles Apart (above) at Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday.

Producer Low Ser En takes Best British Short Animation for Poles Apart film

Singaporean producer Low Ser En has won a Bafta award for Best British Short Animation for her stop-motion short Poles Apart.

The 12-minute film, about a polar bear and a grizzly bear who are brought together by their changing habitats, was the graduation project of a team of about 10 students from Britain's National Film and Television School (NFTS), which included people "from four continents", including an American and a Briton, she said.

Bafta is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes film, television and games in Britain.

Bafta awards are given every year to honour the best in film and television and are widely seen as the British equivalent of the Oscars in Hollywood.

Poles Apart beat two other films: Have Heart by Will Anderson, about a looping gif that has an existential crisis, and Mamoon by Ben Steer, which tells the story of a mother forced to leave her home with her child using projected animation on polystyrene film sets.

Low, 27, who returned home to Singapore on Tuesday night after her win at Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday, told The Straits Times that the team of about 10 was "very surprised" by the win.

"It was very incredible," said the graduate of the NFTS.

"We were very surprised and very happy about it. It was quite a huge moment for us, it came after a year of festival runs."

She received a statuette alongside her British director Paloma Baeza. It now sits in her Housing Board flat in Kallang.

She had both a creative role and a business role as producer, working with the director in the development of the script, as well as coming up with the budget and schedule for the production and looking through the edits.

"We got the inspiration from an article we read online about a phenomenon where the polar bears are moving south and grizzly bears are moving north because of climate change," she said.

"It's a climate refugee story. In a way, it's related to Singapore because with global warming, our weather is becoming more and more unpredictable."

They took 15 months to complete the film as stop-motion is a painstaking process involving capturing each scene with animated figures.

The bears are voiced by two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter and actor Joseph May.

The film, which won Best British Animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last year, as well as an Annie Award for Best Student Film earlier this month, was shown at two festival screenings in Singapore last year.

It is currently not available in Singapore, but there are plans to make it available on video platform Vimeo.

Low, who has done production work since 2009, had received a scholarship from local film company mm2 Entertainment and the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore to study at the NFTS.

She graduated in February last year with a Master of Arts degree in producing and now works with mm2 Entertainment.

Low, who is not married, shared that she has just completed production for an upcoming local movie called Zombiepura, a live-action zombie apocalypse movie set in an army camp in Singapore that stars Alaric Tay and Benjamin Heng.

It is set to air in cinemas in the third or fourth quarter of this year, she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2018, with the headline 'Singaporean wins Bafta award'. Print Edition | Subscribe