The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) has appointed Singapore film programmer, Thong Kay Wee as its new Programme Director to lead the artistic elements of the Festival alongside Executive Director, Emily J. Hoe. Kay Wee takes over from Kuo Ming-Jung, to deliver the Festival’s film curation and programming strategy.

Chairperson of SGIFF, Boo Junfeng commented, “Through the years, SGIFF has championed and celebrated independent Southeast Asian films, and served as a platform that connects filmmakers in the region. Kay Wee brings with him a deep knowledge and passion for Asian cinema and cultivating emerging regional talent, which will strengthen SGIFF’s vision of fostering a deeper appreciation for cinema in Singapore and commitment towards supporting Southeast Asian film talents.”

Kay Wee was formerly the Programmes and Outreach Officer at the Asian Film Archive (AFA) and has presided over multiple film-centric programmes with a focus on Asian cinema for the AFA since 2014. Kay Wee has also programmed Singular Screens, the film programme presented as part of Singapore International Festival of the Arts since 2018.

“I truly believe that as Southeast Asia’s longest-running film festival, SGIFF stands before the film and artistic communities as one of the most prestigious festivals in the region today. It continues to offer a familial support system for industry practitioners with its established networks and resources while serving as a barometer of annual film trends and a recognised symbol of thoughtful cinematic offerings. It also remains an invaluable national film exhibition platform for its capacity to engage the widest and most concentrated public interest within Singapore. This continuous potential to foster a more vigorous appreciation of cinematic culture must be cherished and cultivated enduringly,” said Kay Wee.

He added, “This role represents an incredible opportunity for me to offer new insights to a historic festival. Making new friends and supporting old ones never felt more needed than now, and I am eager to help gather our communities again and generate more meaningful conversations together. As we persevere through this unprecedented time, we need to keep refining SGIFF’s purpose, the ways we can engage with the moving image and, by extension, our relations with one another.”

Executive Director of SGIFF, Emily J. Hoe said, “We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Ming-Jung for her passionate contribution to the Festival and her steadfast dedication in delivering rigorous and thoughtful programmes both in the 30th-anniversary edition in 2019, and 2020. She was a pivotal member of the team in overcoming the unprecedented challenges of 2020 when SGIFF was presented as a hybrid festival for the first time, in a year that despite the global pandemic, SGIFF was a robust and considered event that didn’t compromise on its artistic integrity.

As SGIFF continues to evolve, I am indeed delighted to welcome Kay Wee to his role at SGIFF and I look forward to bringing Kay Wee’s curatorial vision to our audience of film lovers. At a time of continuing challenges in the film landscape, he will be an invaluable part of SGIFF’s leadership team as we take on the opportunities and obstacles that we face as a festival going forward.”

Thong Kay Wee joins the organisation on 21 June 2021 to lead the programming and preparation for the 32nd Singapore International Film Festival scheduled for 25 November to 5 December 2021.