Singapore – The growth and potential of independent cinema in Asia has been steadily rising over the years. Extending an open invitation to be engaged in the future of cinema, the 28th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) announced its full Festival line-up at the National Museum of Singapore.

As the leading international film platform in Southeast Asia and part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF), SGIFF is set to showcase a diverse spread of films that stood out in the past one year. From a melodramatic story edited down from 10,000 hours of surveillance videos (Dragonfly Eyes by Chinese filmmaker Xu Bing); to a high-wire sociological suspense (The Square by Swedish director Ruben Östlund which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival)and a female-driven journey of vengeance and justice (Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts by Indonesian director Mouly Surya), the Festival promises to be an immersive journey of unconventional storytelling and striking cinematography, with something for everyone.


Sharing on the film line-up this year, SGIFF Programme Director Pimpaka Towira said, “The demand for quality content has never been greater. In the last one year, we have witnessed bold experimentation from film auteurs to showcase diversity in storylines, genres and styles, as they push the envelope in filmmaking. Staying true to our role as a vital focal point to uncover these gems and boundary-pushing creativity, this year’s Festival line-up provides an insight into the talent that permeates the region and showcases the promise of the industry here in Asia.”


In addition to the recently announced opening film, Angels Wear White by Vivian Qu, film-goers can also look forward to 112 films across various genres and presentations during the 11-day Festival. An example is one of SGIFF’s three Special Presentation films – Oh Lucy! by Japanese first-time features filmmaker Atsuko Hirayanagi and stars award-winning Japanese actress Shinobu Terajima and Black Hawk Down leading actor Josh Hartnett. A quirky portrait of a lonely Tokyo woman who follows her English teacher to California, the feature film was expanded from Hirayanagi’s award-winning short of the same title, and evokes genuine emotional poignancy as it explores identity and isolation in this age of decreasing human interaction.


Another finely-crafted debut feature is Malaysian filmmaker Tan Seng Kiat’s Shuttle Life which stars Taiwanese actress-director Sylvia Chang and pop singer and actor Jack Tan will compete in this year’s Silver Screen Awards’ Asian Feature Film Competition. The hard-hitting social drama stands out with its uncompromising realism.


Films presented by Singapore filmmakers also stand out with their remarkable sensitivity and nuance in storytelling. Inspired by a real-life story in Japan, Wesley Leon Aroozoo will present his first full-length documentary I Want to Go Home that takes on a gentle direction in depicting one’s emotions with the loss of a loved one. One of 10 entries shortlisted to compete in Busan International Film Festival’s Wide Angle Documentary Competition, the film follows the journey of a man’s determination to reunite with his wife after the Great East Japan earthquake to fulfil her final wish.


Others drew inspiration from the diverse stories amidst us. One of Singapore’s pioneer female filmmakers, Wee Li Lin will present her latest short – Areola Borealis that features an uptight mother who tries to upstage her daughter’s untraditional wedding. This year’s Festival Commission Nyi Ma Lay by Chiang Wei Liang also questions and raises awareness on social issues that plague society by drawing viewers into the psyche of domestic workers who suffer from emotional abuse.