The film made a winning debut at Venice earlier this year and went on to win prizes at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Golden Horse, Marrakech, QCity, Jogja-NETPAC, Stockholm and Tokyo Filmex.
The jury, which included filmmakers Lav Diaz, Ritu Sarin and Kim Soyoung and New York Film Festival artistic director Dennis Lim, commended the film’s “control and clarity of vision” and praised it for being a “vivid character study, a powerful allegory of national trauma, an urgent dissection of the fascist mindset and how it persists,” in their citation.
The award comes with a cash prize of SGD8,000 ($5,915) and an online, audio post and DCP package, audio final mix and DCP feature worth SGD45,000 from Mocha Chai Laboratories.
“We celebrate cinema tonight despite motherfucker Putin, motherfucker Xi Jinping, motherfucker Donald Trump,” jury chair Lav Diaz said before presenting the award to Mubarak at the Hard Rock Cafe, Singapore.
Laha Mebow won best director for “Gaga,” which previously won a brace of Golden Horse awards. “The best director prize goes to a filmmaker who has made a drama of great warmth and sensitivity. This director brings to life a world they know well and beautifully guides an ensemble cast of non-professional actors,” said the jury citation. The award carries a cash prize of SGD4,000 from Filmgarde Cineplexes.
Zukhara Sansyzbay won best performance for “Convenience Store.” The award comes with a cash prize of SGD2,000. “Arnold is a Model Student” by Sorayos Prapapan scored a jury special mention. In-Docs (Indonesia) won the Outstanding Contribution to Southeast Asian Cinema Award, which carries a cash prize of SGD1,500. The Youth Critic Award, which comes with a cash prize of SGD800 was won by Benjamin Yap Kee Siang.
The Audience Choice Award was won by “How to Save a Dead Friend” by Marusya Syroechkovskaya.
At the festival’s industry-facing Southeast Asian Film Lab, Gabriela Serrano for “Please Bear with Me” and Rein Maychaelson for “The Burning Land” won the fellowship prize, which comes with a residency and-or script mentorship. Giovanni Rustanto won most promising project and a cash prize of SGD4,000 for “A Ballad of Long Hair.” Gladys Ng scored a special mention for “Every Mall Burns the Same.” The lab was mentored by producer Sukhum, filmmaker Vimukthi Jayasundara and film critic Maggie Lee.
Academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen served as the festival’s short film awards jury. “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by Alvin Lee won best Singapore short film. The award carries a production services package worth SGD15,000 from Shooting Gallery Asia and online, audio post and DCP package, audio final mix and DCP feature worth SGD10,500 from Mocha Chai Laboratories.
“Vania on Lima Street” by Bayu Prihantoro Filemon won Best Southeast Asian Short Film, which carries a cash prize of SGD5,000 by Filmgarde Cineplexes. Bopha Oul in “Further and Further Away” by Polen Ly won best performance and a cash prize of SGD1,250 from Fiction Shore. Le Lam Vien won best director and a cash prize of SGD2,000 supported by Peanut Pictures for “Fix Anything.” “Dikit” by Gabriela Serrano was accorded a special mention.