South East Asian filmmakers, Mouly Surya, Yeo Siew Hua and Anucha Boonyawatana have received commissions to direct short movies for the Singapore International Film Festival.

Although other film festivals in Asia including Tokyo and Jeonju have previously ventured into production, it is a first for the SGIFF. It gave the trio the topic ‘celebration’ to work with.

Yeo, director of 2018 Locarno Winner “A Land Imagined,” delivered “Incantation,” an exploration of the age-old rituals of ancient spells, spirits and the idea of resurrection during Hungry Ghost Festival. Indonesian musician turned filmmaker Surya (“Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts”), shot “Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue,” a look at gender roles in today’s society told through the intimate interactions between a mother and a bride-to-be at a traditional wedding procession. Thailand’s Boonyawatana (“Malila: The Farewell Flower”) hatched “Not A Time to Celebrate,” a light-hearted and cheeky take on the rewards and harsh reality of filmmaking.

“This commission series is both a gesture by the festival to enable filmmakers to experiment and grow the regional scene, and an avenue to introducing the texture of life in Southeast Asia to a wider audience,” said SGIFF executive director Yuni Hadi.

The festival will also spotlight SE Asian cinema in its ‘Stories We Tell: Myth, Dreamscape and Memory in Southeast Asian Cinema’ sidebar. Films included in the retrospective section include “Mysterious Object at Noon” (2000) by award-winning Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul; “Lucky 7” (2008), directed by seven Singapore filmmakers; Filipino director, Raya Martin’s debut film “A Short Film About the Indio Nacional”; and Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh’s “The Missing Picture” from 2013.

The 30th edition of the Singapore festival will run from Nov. 21 to Dec. 1, 2019. The full festival line-up will be announced on Oct. 22, 2019.