Short films win big at Cathay Motion Picture Awards

SECOND TIME LUCKY: Aspiring film-makers, Chervin Chua, 20, Andrew Kose, 21 (fourth and fifth from the left), and Jonathan Chan, 22 (not in the photo), came back for another round of the Cathay Motion Picture Awards competition this year with a stronger motivation to be amongst the winning teams. (Photo: Neil Macadangdang)

A comedy by LASALLE College of the Arts fresh graduates about a librarian who falls sick after eating lunch won the top prize at the Cathay Motion Picture Awards on July 3.

Andrew Kose, 21, Chervin Chua, 20, and Jonathan Chan, 22 bagged $20,000 cash for their effort titled Retch. It was the largest amount in the event’s four-year history. Seletar, by university students Melinda Tan and Yeo Zhi Qi, won $12,000 for coming in second, while the third place and $8,000 cash went to Fragments by flight steward Justin Kan and YouTubers Jaze Phua and Jerry Lim,  who are known for their action/comedy short film series called The Rule Breakers.

This year, the theme was Memories, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of organiser Cathay Organization. Participating teams had to conceptualize, produce and submit an 80-second film within the span of 80 hours. The clock started ticking on May 2 and the deadline was May 5, 8pm.

The inspiration behind Retch came from a real-life occurrence. According to Andrew, the unfortunate incident happened as they were brainstorming for ideas after having a long day. The main character in the film, Andy, represented bits and pieces of what Andrew had personally experienced.

“Having to produce a film within 80 hours and not having that many resources at our disposal really got us thinking and squeezed everything out of us,” he said. “Especially since this year, we really wanted to try again and be amongst the finalists.”

It was second-time lucky for the trio, who came up empty-handed when they pitted their film against 110 others last year. This year, they had stiffer competition from the 144 teams that took part.

The top 15 entries were chosen by an eight-member panel consisting of filmmakers, film enthusiasts and movie critics. The three finalists were then judged by a panel that included award-winning Singapore film director Tan Pin Pin and Warner Bros Singapore General Manager Ng Peng Hui.

The filmmakers behind all the winning films will also receive an exclusive Cathay VIP card worth more than $4,000 and get their films screened for four weeks in Cathay Cineplexes in 2016.

Cathay Organization owns one of the oldest cinemas in Singapore and is the first and only exhibitor to organize such a competition. They aim to help develop Singapore’s film industry.

“We understand that the local film industry can do so much better and for us at Cathay as an exhibitor, we just want to do our part to encourage aspiring filmmakers no matter the age,” said Mizushima Emi, Senior Executive, Sales and Sponsorship of Cathay-Ad House Pte Ltd. “As long as they’re interested in film making, this is a platform they can definitely tap on.”