Dated: 20 September 2007

Singapore-made 881, directed by Royston Tan, has been chosen by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) as Singapore’s official entry to the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Best Foreign Language Film Award.

Supported by the Media Development Authority (MDA), 881 is a rare musical film with a quintessentially Singapore theme, and tells the story of the Papaya Sisters who grew up mesmerised by the glitter and glamour of the ge tai (song stage);and went on to become two of the showiest performers on the circuit.

881 marks Tan’s third feature film, and is already the highest grossing Asian movie in Singapore to date for 2007 – surpassing the previous record by fellow filmmaker Jack Neo’s Just Follow Law at S$2.77 million. Having grossed over S$3.2 million since opening at the local screens on 8 August, 881 has joined the ranks of a select group of local movies which have crossed the S$3 million mark in Singapore.1

The SFC’s call for entries to the Academy Awards closed on 3 September 2007, after which the submissions were evaluated by the SFC Board Members.

Said Ms Jennie Chua, Chairman, SFC, “Of the film submissions that we had received from the industry, 881 was the unanimous choice by the SFC Board Members. The film presents a part of the rich and colourful street culture of Singapore which is hardly seen by the world and provides a window to showcase our unique heritage to the international audience.”

Said Mr Man Shu Sum, Director, SFC, “It is remarkable how the production team managed to create such a wonderful visual treat and touching human story on a relatively modest budget and within a very short span of time. It is a testament to the Singapore film industry’s capabilities and a fitting submission to the Academy.”

881 has been officially selected by the prestigious 12th Pusan International Film Festival (4 -12 October 2007) as one of the four films to be screened in the new Gala Presentation section alongside three other renowned and established directors, namely Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon) and Korea’s Im Kwon Taek (Beyond the Years) and Lee Myung-se’s (M).

Royston Tan, writer-director of the film, is a multiple award-winning filmmaker. His most recent win was the Best Art Direction Award and Best Contemporary Short Film Award for his short film, DIY, at the Sapporo Short Festival 2007 (13 - 17 September).

Nominations for the 80th Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be announced on 22 January 2008 with the awards ceremony to be held on 24 February 2008.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Tessa Monteiro
Manager, Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel    : +65 6837 9957
HP    : +65 8157 5337

Ms Gay Chwee Hwa
Assistant Director, Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel    : +65 6837 9013
HP    : +65 9639 9376

Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
Formed in 2003, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) plays a vital role in transforming Singapore into a Global Media City and positioning it at the forefront of the digital media age. MDA spearheads initiatives that promote developments in film, video, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation, media services and Interactive Digital Media. At the same time, in ensuring clear and consistent regulatory policies and guidelines, MDA helps to foster a pro-business environment for industry players and increase media choices for consumers. For more information, visit​ and

Singapore Film Commission (SFC)
The Singapore Film Commission (SFC) is an agency under the Media Development Authority (MDA) which facilitates and assists in film development for Singapore. The SFC’s key areas of focus are: Funding, Facilitation and Promotion. Its mission is to nurture, support, and promote Singapore talent in film-making, the production of Singapore films, and a film industry in Singapore. For more information, please visit

1 Jack Neo’s Money No Enough (1998) - S$5.8 million;I Not Stupid Too (2006) - S$4.2 million;I Not Stupid (2002) - S$3.8 million;and Liang Po Po The Movie (1999) - S$3 million.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023