Dated: 5 February 2007

Local short films gain prominence at international film festivals with the support of the Singapore Film Commission

The short film genre in Singapore is rapidly gaining prominence with more local filmmakers producing and showing their short films at prestigious international film festivals. Taking the lead is Monkeylove which won the Grand Prize in the Labo Competition at the 29th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (France) held from 26 January to 3 February 2007.

Helmed by award-winning director Royston Tan, Monkeylove, which was produced in 2005, is an enigmatic short about a man in a monkey suit searching for lost love. Set in the winter landscape of Hokkaido, this whimsical short film competed against 46 other films, including Royston’s other short DIY, for the Grand Prize in the Labo competition, which celebrates the convergence of traditional and digital film formats. The Labo competition is one of three main competitions at Clermont-Ferrand, the other two being the International Competition and the National Competition.

Apart from Royston’s two shorts, Singaporean Gavin Lim’s Hello? also competed at Clermont-Ferrand in the International category.

In another sign of local short films gaining recognition on the international stage, five other Singaporean short films were screened at the highly regarded Rotterdam International Film Festival in Netherlands (24 January to 4 February 2007). Singapore’s selections for the Festival were Bedroom Dancing by Sun Koh, Don’t Say Farewell Again by Eva Tang Poh Chooi, Sewing Room by Ang Soo Koon, Elefant by Willie Koh – all supported by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) - and My Demon Brother by X’ho.

This marks a trend of more homegrown directors turning to short film as a platform to showcase their creativity, and as a stepping stone into the film industry. In 2006, SFC funded over 70 short films as compared to only 11 in 1998. Short film events here, such as Singapore Short Cuts, Moving Images, Panasonic Digital Film Festival and the Fly-By-Night Video Challenge have also seen an increase in the number of new directors as well as submitted works.

Mr Man Shu Sum, Director of Broadcast and Film Development, Media Development Authority (MDA) and Director, SFC said: “It is fantastic to see an increasing number of local short films participating, competing and winning at these international film festivals. Over the years, films selected to participate in these festivals have improved in quality and depth;both in terms of cinematography and content. We are very proud to see our local filmmakers gain the international acclaim and recognition that they have worked so hard for. A short film is a very versatile art form that requires directors, whether first-time or veteran, to execute their story as concisely and as creatively as possible.”

Award-winning local filmmaker, Ms Sun Koh concurs with him: “Local filmmakers are definitely making an impact at international film festivals today and what better vehicle to showcase new work than through short films? Look at Royston Tan and Gloria Chee – they started out with short films and have since moved into shooting full-length features. With the encouragement and support of the Singapore Film Commission, local filmmakers as well as budding directors now have the opportunity to showcase fresh work and ideas on the global screen.”

SFC’s Short Film Grant funded four films which traveled to Rotterdam, Clermont-Ferrand and Slamdance Film Festivals. The Short Film Grant helps to develop budding local filmmaking talents by funding their short film projects, so that they may experiment with the film genre. Entries for the Short Film Grant can be submitted all year round.

Additionally, the Script Development Grant helps scriptwriters to develop their stories into complete feature film scripts with production potential. There are two entry calls for the Script Development Grant each year, in early January and early July. The next deadline for submissions is 31 July 2007.

For the complete line-up of the Rotterdam International Film Festival please visit

For more information on the Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival please visit

For more information on the Slamdance Film Festival please visit

For more information, please contact:
Ms Nicole Batchelor
Assistant Manager, Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel: (+65) 6837 9957

Ms Phoebe Seow
Assistant Director, Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel: (+65) 6837 9369

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023