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Singapore Film Festival to Focus on Asian Diversity

Award-winning dramas, “A Land Imagined,” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” are among the Asian films selected for competition at next month’s Singapore International Film Festival.

Also competing for the Silver Screen Award are Indian director Rima Das’ “Bulbul Can Sing” and Sri Lankan Suba Sivakumaran’s “House of My Fathers.” The eight-title competition is open to films by directors making their first, second or third feature.

Announcing its full, 104-title, lineup on Tuesday, the festival unveiled gala slots for “Dear Ex,” by Taiwanese directing pair Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen, and “The Third Wife.” “Ex,” about a jilted widow who must make peace with her late husband’s lover, debuted to acclaim at the Taipei festival in summer and is prominently positioned at the upcoming Golden Horse Awards, where it is nominated for eight prizes. “Wife” is a hot first film by Vietnamese filmmaker Ash Mayfair. It premiered at the Toronto festival in September and picked up prizes at the San Sebastian and Milan festivals.

“Global demand for quality content and narrative from Asia has never been greater than today. There is a growing interest in original stories made by Asian independent filmmakers translating into a growing audience who are seeking something fresh,” said Pimpaka Towira, SGIFF programming director in a statement.

The festival, which runs from Nov. 28 – Dec. 9 2018, will open with the previously announced “Cities of Last Things.” Festival screenings will take place at venues including the Capitol Theatre, National Museum of Singapore, National Gallery Singapore, The Cathay, Filmgarde Bugis+, Objectifs and *SCAPE.
Chinese-American actress Joan Chen will be a guest of honor. She will receive the festival’s Cinema Legend Award. Cambodian director, Rithy Panh, will receive an Honorary Award.

Another prominent guest is David Puttnam. The British film-maker, turned legislator will participate in a two-part discussion about funding approaches to alternative stories. The other session will focus on investors.

The festival will endeavor to make itself more useful to the industry, and is introducing two new sources of funding under the label SGIFF Film Fund. The Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF SEA-DOC Grant is worth $18,100 (SGD25,000) to each of four documentary projects per year. The SGIFF SEA-Shorts Grant, dedicated to makers of fiction or non -fiction short films, is worth $2,900 (SGD4,000) and a further $2,900 of post-production support. It will be awarded twice per year.

Feature films competing for the Silver Screen Award at the 2018 SGIFF
“A Land Imagined,” dir. Yeo Siew Hua (Singapore)
“Bulbul Can Sing,” dir. Rima Das (India)
“Dayan,” dir: Behrouz Nooranipour (Iran)
“House of My Fathers,” dir. Suba Sivakumaran (Sri Lanka)
“Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” dir. Bi Gan (China)
“The Day I Lost My Shadow,’ dir. Soudade Kaadan (Syria)
“The Future Cries Beneath Our Souls,” dir. Pham Thu Hang (Vietnam)
“The River,” dir. Emir Baigazin (Kazakhstan)

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