Many blockbuster movies this year have reached peak successes, like Barbie and Oppenheimer. But, aside from superhit movies, there are many smaller films across the globe that are waiting to be discovered.
One example is the opening film of the 34th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), ‘Tiger Stripes’, the first Malaysian film to win a Grand Prix Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
The horror film is about a 12-year-old girl, Zaffan, who finds herself changing in unusual and alarming ways as she goes through puberty. Malaysian filmmaker, Amanda Nell Eu, shared with New Musical Express (NME) that the title of her directorial debut refers to the stretchmarks children get from quick growth, which commonly happens during puberty.
The coming-of-age horror film has gone on to receive many other awards elsewhere as well. It was awarded the Special Jury Mention at the Fantasia International Film Festival and the HR Giger ‘Narcissa’ Award for best feature film at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival. Furthermore, it has also been chosen as Malaysia’s Best International Feature Film contender for the 96th Oscar Awards in March.
The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is Singapore’s oldest film festival. It was founded back in 1987 by Gepffrey Malone and co-founded by L. Leland Whitney.
Since the beginning, it has been a mix of local and international talent. The first ever SGIFF opened with French filmmaker Jean-Jacques with ‘The Name of the Rose’. Their aim every year is to celebrate and advocate for the art form through films from around the world.
SGIFF efforts have proven to be fruitful, specifically for the local film scene, by the many milestones they have achieved over the years, including this year.
In 2023, three local films broke the record and were nominated for the highly prestigious Asian Feature Film Competition, one of the festival’s competitions. ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time’ by Jow Zhi Wei, ‘Dreaming & Dying’ by Nelson Yeo, and ‘Last Shadow at First Light’ by Nicole Midori Woodford will be the Singapore competitors this year.
Talent from home and all across the globe
According to the Singapore Film Commission (SFC), at least 10 Singapore-participated films are to be featured at international festivals. From the Berlin and Locarno International Film Festival to Spain’s San Sebastian and Venice International Film Festival.
This already breaks the Singapore film industry’s record to date, and is double the number from the previous year, where only five films were featured.
Apart from Tiger Stripes, another Cannes feature from Asia comes from our very own local shores. ‘The Breaking Ice’ is a romantic drama filmed by director Anthony Chen. At its world premiere earlier this year at Cannes, it received a standing ovation from an audience of 1,000 people.
It was also recently selected as Singapore’s submission for the 2024 Oscars’s Best International Feature Film category.
The success of the Asian films being featured, even local ones, goes to show the importance of our Asian films and the talent that creates them. There is still much more we can achieve in arts excellence here in Singapore; this is only the beginning.
If you are looking forward to making good use of the upcoming semester break, the Singapore International Film Festival awaits to give you an enjoyable worthwhile experience.
Happening from 30 Nov to 10 Dec, you will be able to dive into a world of stories through the screen, hear from the inspiring filmmakers themselves, and listen to industry seminars and discussions.
Ticket prices start from $15 with multiple ticketing options to suit the kind of experience you are looking for.
For more information on the event and ticket sales, you can visit their website.