The film scene in Singapore is making rapid strides. For a small country like Singapore, this was achieved by the hard work done by Singapore Film Commission (SFC). The entity, which achieved its 20th year in 2018, was established in 1998 to help the filmmaking talent present in Singapore. It has provided promotion, support, and grants to about 600 projects until now. Funds were given to events, feature films, scripts, and shorts. The endurance and relevance of SFC stand as a testament to the durability of the Singapore film scene.
For Singaporean movies, the past decade (2000 to 2010) was an impressive one. A number of SFC supported releases won awards at multiple international film festivals. The list of recent successes notched up by SFC includes “Ilo Ilo”, the debut film of Anthony Chen and “Pop Aye” by Kirsten Tan. The Chen film won the 2013 Camera d'Or at Cannes. Tan came back with a screenwriting prize awarded to her at the Sundance festival in 2017.
Joachim Ng, the SFC director, told the media that storytelling lies in the heart of all the better films and in media content. The audience must find a common ground or identify with the stories. He said Singapore, despite being a small and young nation, has punched above its weight when it came to participation in notable film festivals like Berlin, Cannes, Sundance, and Toronto. He pointed out that both Chen and Tan were nurtured by the SFC from the time they were students. All such efforts have borne fruit as their achievements have put Singapore on the global map.
The SFC's empirical attention goes far beyond Singapore's borders. It makes efforts to collaborate with fellow Asian countries. To give an example, the filming of “Pop Aye” took place completely in Thailand, with the lead role being played by a Thai. The film enjoyed wide praise in Thailand. It won the ASEAN Film Festival jury prize at Bangkok. Another film, “Apprentice”, by Boo Junfeng released in 2016 was filmed mostly in Australia. The film ended up as a co-production of Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, France, and Germany. The film won prizes at the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan and also in Busan International Film Festival. Ng said that the SFC over its functioning period has shifted its “Made in Singapore” modus operandi to the “Made by Singapore”. In the future, he hopes, it will also be “Made with Singapore”.