Singapore Film Festival Unveils Documentary and Short Film Grant Recipients

Seven Southeast Asian documentaries and short films are to receive S$140,000 ($104,000) from the Singapore International Film Festival’s SGIFF Film Fund 2024.

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The two grant schemes – the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC) and SGIFF Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS) – are intended to champion new voices in Southeast Asian cinema by supporting them in production and post-production.

“We are increasingly seeing filmmakers employing new, imaginative approaches to urgent and timely themes, with some choosing to take a more fantastical or experimental tack. This speaks to the ingenuity and continuing vitality of Southeast Asian cinema and its eagerness to embrace new ways of seeing. The films selected this year fully embody these qualities,” said the festival’s program director Thong Kay Wee.

The selection committee chose three documentary projects in production, each receiving S$30,000 in cash. One project in post-production will also receive a grant of S$20,000.

In “Grandmother” (“Oma”) by Armin Septiexan, an 84-year-old grandmother testifies in The Hague as a witness to Indonesia’s mass killings in 1965, which took the lives of her father and brother six decades earlier. Returning home to West Timor, she is determined to uncover her buried family history and pass it on to her teenage grandson.

In “The Bamboo Family” by Sein Lyan Tun, a filmmaker runs away from Myanmar and moves to Paris. There, he revisits his family past while navigating an existential crisis and the guilt of leaving his family behind.

In Mexico- Philippines production “Borrowed Time,” by Miko Revereza, an artist couple documents their shifting creative and political consciousness over the course of a year. Post-production support went to “Sandan Love Garden” by Luthfi Muhammad from Indonesia. Organic farmers Wahyu and Ayu find themselves facing an uphill battle on their agricultural journey in Bali. Framed within a love story, the film explores the couple’s relationship with the land and their relentless pursuit for sustainable living.

The three short films this year will each receive a cash grant of S$5,000 from Winn Slavin Fine Art, and post-production support worth S$5,000 from White Light Post.

They are “Bleat!,” by Ananth Subramaniam of Malaysia; “The Wedding Gift,” by Zaw Bo Bo Hein from Myanmar; and “Monkey Graveyard” by Passakorn Sarnsirirat from Thailand, in which the orangutangs in a military zoo regularly commit suicide, and their soldier-keeper is forced to confront his true feelings.

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