Over the past decade, Singaporean films have routinely been selected for A-list international film festivals and have won accolades worldwide. While the world trained its eyes on the city-state in 2018 thanks to “Crazy Rich Asians,” the global Singaporean success story of the year was Yeo Siew Hua’s “A Land Imagined,” winning three awards at Locarno, including the Golden Leopard. The film is currently on release in Singapore and France, and a wider rollout is imminent, with sales agent Visit Films closing distribution deals on eight more territories.
Yeo and his feted contemporaries are not resting on their laurels. They are forging ahead with new projects.
“ ‘Stranger Eyes’ is about ways of seeing in this era of total surveillance and what it means to live as an image to be seen by others,” Yeo told Variety about his next project, which is also set in Singapore.
Anthony Chen won the Camera D’Or at Cannes for his debut feature “Ilo Ilo” in 2013, and thereafter served as executive producer on fellow Singaporean Kirsten Tan’s Sundance, Rotterdam and Zurich winner “Pop Aye.” Chen’s sophomore directorial venture, “Wet Season,” which he describes as “a delicate portrait of a woman on a journey to rediscover herself,” is now in the final stages of post-production and will be complete by April, with an eye on a Cannes slot.
Boo Junfeng, whose “Sandcastle” and “Apprentice” were Cannes selections in 2010 and 2016, respectively, is preparing his next, Singapore/Taiwan/France co-production “Dominion,” where an anti-gay mega-church pastor becomes infatuated with his male disciple.
Royston Tan (“15: The Movie”) is working on “69,” about a man who is dealing with the loss of his wife during the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.
“City of Small Blessings” by Wong Chen-Hsi (“Innocents”), will follow a retired civil servant whose home is mistakenly marked for demolition, and principal photography commences in May. Visual artist John Clang (“Their Remaining Journey”) is currently in post with “A Love Unknown” that follows two women in New York and Singapore who are battling depression.
“The works of all these filmmakers have made the international community sit up and notice what our little country is producing in terms of independent cinema,” “A Love Unknown” producer Jeremy Chua told Variety. “More and more of our projects are developed at international labs and promoted at markets nowadays.”