Anthony Chen’s ‘Wet Season’ Leads off Singapore Festival’s 30th Anniversary Parade

Wet Season opens 30th SGIFF
Sonia Kil

Local stars and talents from Asia studded the opening night red carpet event of the Singapore International Film Festival on Thursday. They were lead by hometown filmmaker Anthony Chen, who made a global impact with debut feature “Ilo Ilo,” and is again making a splash with “Wet Season.”

For its 30th edition, the festival runs as part of the Singapore Media Festival for 11 days with over 90 feature films from 40 countries, and a strong emphasis on the South East Asia region.

On opening night, fans and film buffs gathered at the city’s 86-year-old Capitol Theater to see and grab a photo of local celebrities and stars walking the red carpet.

Internationally-known Singaporean independent filmmakers Tan Pin Pin (“To Singapore, With Love”) and Boo Junfeng (“Apprentice”), who are also executive members of the festival, trod the red carpet. Other stars included Singaporean actresses Hong Ling, Patricia Mok, actor Andie Chen and his wife Kate Pang, who is also a Taiwanese actress and former TV host. Directors of two short films commissioned by the festival to commemorate its 30th edition, Thailand’s Anucha Boonyawatana and Indonesia’s Mouly Surya also graced the launch event.

The “Wet Season” cast was particularly visible. Actors, Ko Jia Ler and Yang Shi Bin walked the red carpet with transparent umbrellas in their hands, a meat play on the film’s imagery.

The whole team will travel to Taiwan on Friday ahead of Saturday’s Golden Horse Awards for which “Wet Season” has garnered six nominations, including best narrative feature, best director, best original screenplay and best leading actress.

“This film means a lot to me. It took me six years to make. I made the last one in my twenties, and this one in my thirties. The next one is [likely to be made] in my forties. […] There’s a lot of emotion, literally a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and lots of rain. I hope everyone enjoys it and hopefully they tell people to buy tickets and watch this movie when it’s in theaters,” said Chen. “Wet Season” is set for a Nov. 28 release in Singapore.

Chen explained that he had recently decided to reunite with Ko for a third film. “I shot him when he was in elementary school [for “Ilo Ilo”], I shot him in secondary school [for “Wet Season”], I need to shoot him as an adult. There will be a part three [of this collaboration],” said Chen.

The film’s lead actress Yeo Yann Yann received the Inspiring Woman in Film Award, presented by luxury jewel brand Swarovski.

“It is my first time to receive an award for my film in Singapore. More than twenty years ago, I moved to Singapore [from Malaysia] with a dream to become a star,” said Yeo. During her speech, Yeo was deeply moved and burst into tears. “I am never this nervous, I am now because it is in Singapore. Singapore is part of my hometown now. There are many moments of putting you down, and letting down yourself. But I am very lucky that I have met many kind souls and important people in my life and can be part of films as an actor.”