June 10, 2016
With filmmakers Boo Jun Feng and K. Rajagopal making waves at Cannes, hot on the heels of Anthony Chen’s success with Ilo Ilo (2013), the Singaporean film scene is beginning to gain momentum with a new generation. It’s just as well, then, that the 20/20 – The Temasek Short Film Project has given 20 groups of young filmmakers the opportunity to flex their skills. Coming from eight different institutions – LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Polytechnic, Nanyang Technological University, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, School of the Arts (SOTA), Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic – the students were picked after a rigorous pitching process with a panel of judges comprising select project mentors and industry experts. Seven established Singapore filmmakers including Boo Jun Feng, Boris Boo, Chai Yee Wai, Lee Thean Jean, Sanif Olek, Wee Li Lin and Wilson Yip were also engaged to work with them on their stories and production values throughout the project.
Commissioned by Temasek, the Singapore investment company, the 20/20 Project sought to nurture the next generation of local filmmakers by letting them conceptualise, script and direct these short films over the course of six to nine months. The groups had to tackle the end-to-end production of film-making, including talent selection, script development, budget management, actual filming and post-production management. You might even recognise a familiar face or two: notable actors like Nick Shen, Maxi Lim and Ye Shi Pin also star in the films. Since the completion of the films, the project has been releasing four films a week, bringing the current number of total debuted shorts to 12. Viewers may also stand the chance to win GoPro cameras to film their own stories when they vote for their favourite film!
The narratives featured in the films are all inspired by real-life stories, drawn from the work of non-profit philanthropic organisations (NPPOs) and community programmes supported by Temasek. As a result, the short films explore a variety of genres and topics, from aging and mental health to heartwarming stories of kindness and hope. I Believe in particular has helped raise awareness and open up discussions about Autism, and most of the other films help give voice to otherwise marginalised groups such as those from broken homes and difficult backgrounds. And there are still more stories to come, as the project is set to release eight more shorts over the next two weeks.
So give them a shot! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favourite film.