Malaysian documentary, “Absent Without Leave” claimed the Audience Award on Sunday at the close of the 27th Singapore International Film Festival.
SGIFF organizers reported that some 13,000 spectators had attended the 12-day event which ran Nov. 23 – Dec 4.
The final total also included the screening of 161 features and short films from 52 countries. 11 screenings were sold out, including four for Singapore-made pictures.
The previous evening a red carpet event saw Nepal’s “White Sun” claim the best film prize in the Silver Screen awards, which are reserved for the SGIFF’s competition titles. “Live From Dhaka” picked up the best director and best performance awards.
The debut film by Lau Kek-Huat, “Absent” navigates the murky waters of Malayan history that appears far removed from the present as Lau attempts to reconnect with his absent father. What follows is the gradual unravelling of his grandfather’s forgotten story: an absent father to the filmmaker’s own absent father, but also a guerrilla Communist soldier, a protector, a martyr of Malaya during WWII.
Organizers reported a 50% increase in attendance at masterclasses and public talks. Masterclass, talk and In Conversation presentations included those from Taiwanese actor Kai Ko, U.S. director Darren Aronofsky, Hong Kong actor Simon Yam, Vietnamese-born French filmmaker Tran Anh Hung, Hong Kong filmmaker Fruit Chan, Indian director Anurag Kashyap, Hong Kong actress Kara Wai, Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai, and Japanese director Naomi Kawase.
The SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival, hosted by the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore.