IT’S ABOUT time lah, that Melbourne plays host to the Singapore Film Festival.
The project has been a labour of love for the event’s organisers, almost a year since their ideas were first “scratched out on two pieces of paper”.
And with the festival launch less than three weeks away, the four young women, Lydia Teh, Joanne Tay, Michelle Tng and Zhu’ai Sian Lee, can now look back and laugh at how they “jumped into the project with great enthusiasm and a whole lot of naivety”.
Held over five days, the line-up will feature both full-length pictures and short films by established and emerging Singaporean filmmakers, including husband and wife team Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen (Singapore Dreaming), Boi Kwong (The Days), Tan Pin Pin (Invisible City), Lei Yuan Bin (White Days) and Boo Junfeng (Changi Murals).
One of the biggest challenges was “convincing people we were able to make this project happen”, Teh said.
“We were very new to the film industry.”
Nevertheless, they found enough goodwill and generosity at home and abroad, and gathered a growing coterie of sponsors, partners and supporters.
Sponsored by the Merlion Club, Contact Singapore and the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the festival has also partnered with household names like Yeo’s, Khong Guan and Myojo.
Business and organisations were happy to get behind an Australian-first initiative, Tay said.
“There’s a growing Singaporean population here… but we aren’t culturally represented,” she said.
The 26-year-old may be working in theatre – writing, directing, designing and producing – but she is just as passionate to see the Singaporean film industry flourish.
“To see it grow the way it has is quite amazing,” Tay said.
“We’re proud to bring these films to Australia, many of which have won awards internationally and received critical acclaim at home.
“It shows that Singapore-made films have come a long way from Jack Neo’s too-local comedies.”
The Singapore Film Festival, Melbourne takes place from September 4 to 8 at Greater Union and Cinema Nova. Tickets are $17, with the exception of the gala night, which cost $30 each. Group bookings are available.
Visit the festival website for more information about ticketing and film schedules.
Meld Magazine will be giving away one double pass to the festival each week for the next three weeks. For your chance to win, email your name, age, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “SFFM”.