A Land Imagined by Singaporean director, Yeo Siew Hua awarded Best

Film in the Asian Feature Film Competition, a historic first ever

Singapore feature film to win in the category

A Million Years by Cambodian filmmaker, Danech San presented with the Best Southeast Asian Short Film Award

The 29th  Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) hosted an evening of celebration in honour of Asia’s best in film at the Silver  Screen  Awards at the historic Capitol Theatre this evening.

A total of 14 awards were presented at the grand ceremony this year, including the highly coveted Best Film Award in the Asian Feature Film Competition, and Best Southeast Asian Short Film Award in the Southeast  Asian  Short  Film  Competition; alongside seven other awards across the two competitions.

The evening also saw the presentation of the Festival’s highest honour, the Honorary  Award and the  Cinema  Legend  Award;  as  well  as  the  Inspiring  Woman  in  Film  Award  presented  by Swarovski to luminaries of Asian cinema.


A Land Imagined by Singaporean director, Yeo  Siew  Hua was awarded the Best  Film in the Asian Feature Film Competition, unanimously selected by the panel of jury from a total of eight nominated feature  films  from  across  Asia.  It  also  made  history  as  the  first-ever  Singapore  film  to  win  in  this category at the Silver Screen Awards. The Mandarin thriller is Yeo’s sophomore feature that tells the tale  about  the  disappearance  of  a  migrant  Chinese  construction  worker  at  a  Singapore  land reclamation site. The jury found the film “combined clear and original vision, strong storytelling, and technical achievement in  addressing  an  increasingly important issue  not only to  Singapore  but to the world”.

The honour of Best  Director went to Pham  Thu  Hang for her feature documentary The Future Cries  Beneath  Our  Soil,  a  moving  documentary  that  deftly  captures  the  dark  shadow  of  war  and death,  present  in  even  everyday  conversation  and  simple  gestures,  set  in  Vietnam’s  Quảng  Tri province. The film is “exceptional in its vision and it welcomes audiences into a world so intimately, while blurring the lines between genres and challenges the language of cinema”.

Manoranjoan  Das took home the prize for Best  Performance for his role of Suman in Bulbul Can Sing by Rima  Das. The jury commended on his performance “for the courage and vulnerability he infused into his character. Suman was brought to life with a subtlety and an innocence that moved the entire jury”.

Dayan by Iranian director Behrouz  Nooranipour, a compelling drama which delve into the horrors of ISIS operations in Iranian Kurdistan, was accorded Special  Mention at the awards this evening. The jury found the film “immerses audiences into the horrors of one of most significant humanitarian crises  in  the  world  today;  and  under  unusually  arduous  circumstances,  the  director  takes  the audience on a journey of courage and authenticity”.

The winners of the Asian Feature Film Competition were decided by a panel of five jury members, headed by leading figure of the Hong Kong New Wave, director Stanley  Kwan. Joining him on the panel of jury are Hollywood actor, director, and producer, Daniel  Dae  Kim; legendary Japanese cinematographer,  Akiko   Ashizawa;  acclaimed  Canadian  film  producer,  Sylvain   Corbeil;  and Vietnamese-born French actress, costume, and production designer, Trần Nữ Yên Khê.

Winner of Best  Film A Land Imagined will be screened again at National Museum of Singapore as the 29th  SGIFF celebrates the close of the Festival tomorrow, alongside the winning film from the Audience Choice Award which will be announced tomorrow.


The Best Southeast Asian Short Film award from the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition this year went to A Million Years by first-time director Danech  San, which illustrates the story of a young woman  who  enters  a  parallel  riverfront  with  a  stranger,  and  both  recounting  stories  of  fear.  The director,  “in   a   formalistic   style   of  directing,  deftly   touches   upon   several  deep   questions   of contemporary reality, bound together by an elegant cinematic signature”.

Aditya  Ahmad was awarded Best  Director for his short film Kado (A Gift), which the jury deemed as “a sincere, deeply-felt film that does not provide easy answers but reveals the complexities of gender identity in Muslim communities”. The film was also awarded the Youth  Jury  Prize through the collective 15-member jury panel in the Youth Jury & Critics Programme, an initiative by SGIFF to provide mentorship and a developmental platform, as well as a voice to a new generation of young writers  on  cinema  from  the  region.  Kado  is  a  portrait  of  a  child  caught  at  the  crossroads  of adolescence. Poignantly moving, the film offers a raw and unflinching look into a painful coming-of- age search for identity. Kado’s quiet depth is its voice, fragility its strength, and resilience its spark of hope for all of us in time to come.

Back at the home front, Luzon by Chiang  Wei  Liang, a flawlessly directed tale of two fishermen, one radioactive barrel, and the South China Sea, was awarded Best  Singapore  Short  Film. The jury  shared  that  the  film  “is  a  simple  allegory  that  absurdly  and  succinctly  highlights  the  socio- political tensions of the region”.

Thai director Korakrit  Arunanondchai’s short film With History In A Room Filled With People With Funny Names 4 was given the Special  Mention by jury; who regarded it an essayistic approach by fine  artist  Arunanondchai  that  playfully  tackles  memory  and  loss  with  poetry,  humour,  and intellectual rigour.

The Southeast Asian Short Film Competition jury panel this year was headed by Maike  Mia  Höhne, curator  of  the  Berlinale  Shorts  programme  since  2007  in  an  all-women  team,  a  nod  to  the progressive development in Asian cinema, and the celebration of diversity in filmmaking. Joining her on the panel were Filipino filmmaker Shireen Seno and Singapore filmmaker Kirsten Tan.


The 29th  SGIFF presented the Festival’s highest honour, the Honorary  Award to one of the most internationally acclaimed Cambodian filmmakers of today, Rithy  Panh. The award was presented by Sebastian  Tan, Chairperson, SGIFF, and Pimpaka  Towira, Programme  Director, SGIFF; in recognition of his prolific cinematic works across both documentary and fiction genres which have made  exceptional  and  enduring  contributions  to  Asian  cinema,  as  well  as  his  dedication  towards preserving  Cambodia’s  film,  photographic,  and  audio  history  through  his  cinematic  and  social projects over the past three decades.

One of cinema’s most respected Asian stars, luminary actor, Joan  Chen was presented with the Cinema   Legend   Award  for  her  dedication  to  the  entertainment  industry,  and  her  inspiring contribution to cinema. With more than 40 film and television roles that straddle both the commercial and independent arenas, Chen’s alluring screen presence continues to dazzle critics and audiences worldwide; she has also developed a career behind the camera as a director, producer, and writer. Chen received the award from prolific producer Terence  Chang and celebrity photographer Russel Wong at the ceremony.


SGIFF awarded the Inspiring  Woman  in  Film  Award  to celebrated Chinese actress, Luna  Kwok. The award presented in partnership with Swarovski honours outstanding women in film; in line with the  brand’s  longstanding  commitment  to  supporting  emerging  talent  and  championing  women’s empowerment.

A director-turned-actress, Luna Kwok was recognised for her outstanding performance and for her non-conforming  approach  in  her  choice  of  acting  roles,  choosing  the  most  challenging  roles  over merely glamourous ones. Kwok continues to pave a new way for women in film from this end of the world  through  her  dedicated  craft  in  Chinese  cinema.  She  played  a  leading  role  in  Yeo   Siew Hua’s A  Land  Imagined,  which  won  the  Best  Film  award  in  this  year’s  Asian  Feature  Film Competition at SGIFF. The film premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2018, where it won the Golden Leopard and also for Kwok, the Boccalino d’Oro Prize for Best Actress awarded by the Independent Swiss Critics.


In line with SGIFF’s dedication in nurturing young cinematic talents, the Young  Critic  Award was presented to Ryan  Lim from Nanyang Technological University, in recognition of his originality in writing and contribution to cinematic discussions in the region. Never Been Kissed by Dao  Thi  Minh Trang  was  awarded  the  Most   Promising   Project   of   the   Southeast   Asian   Film   Lab.  The programme is a story development workshop created to guide aspiring filmmakers from Southeast Asia  in  their  first  foray  into  developing  a  feature-length  film.  The  project  is  regarded  by  industry heavyweights as a visionary effort in cultivating a new talent pool in the region’s filmmaking industry, encompassing a good balance of accessibility and complexity.

Established  in  1991,  the  Silver  Screen  Awards  aims  to  discover  and  honour  the  rich  filmmaking talents  across  Asia  and  Southeast  Asia,  and  further  paving  way  for  a  thriving  Singapore  film industry. A pioneering international competition with a specific Asian film category, the Silver Screen Awards is instrumental in charting the rise of Asian Cinema and the recognition of both established and aspiring Asian filmmaking talents.

“It has been a heartening experience to see SGIFF quickly establishing itself as the epicentre where some of the most talented independent filmmakers and producers from Southeast Asia congregate to share creative ideas and to continue inspiring each other. The Silver Screen Awards will continue to cement its position as an inspiring space for the industry to explore and recognise a stellar body of  cinematic  works  emerging  from  across  the  region;  and  at  the  same  time  continue  on  our commitment  to  nurture  and  champion  next-generation  filmmaking  talents,  celebrating  their  bold artistry and storytelling”, says Yuni Hadi, Executive Director, SGIFF.

“I would like to congratulate all award winners for your inspiring contributions to Asian Cinema. We look forward to uncovering more gems and stories from Asia, and an even greater concerted effort from the industry to propel Asian Cinema onto the world screen,” adds Hadi.

As  the  leading  international  film  platform  in  the  region,  the  29th   SGIFF  showcases  a  diverse selection  of  coveted  films  from  Asia  and  beyond;  demonstrating  the  ascending  future  of  Asian cinema, with SGIFF  continuing to lead the charge for Asian filmmakers emerging onto the global stage.

SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), hosted by Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). SGIFF 2018’s Official Sponsors include Official Red Carpet Venue Capitol Theatre; Official Hotels Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore; Official Automobile BMW; and Official Airline Singapore Airlines.

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