Dated: 24 April 2009
Singapore continues its strong showing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival with HERE by Singapore filmmaker and visual artist Ho Tzu Nyen selected for screening at the 41st Directors’ Fortnight section, which is known for selecting cutting-edge films with an original directorial style.
As a first-time feature film director, Ho is also eligible for the Caméra d’Or (Golden Camera) award, a distinction for best first feature film in any one of the Cannes’ selections - the Official Selection, the Directors' Fortnight or the International Critics' Week.
Said Ho Tzu Nyen who is both the scriptwriter as well as the director of the film, “HERE represents a cinematic amalgamation of my interests and experiences in painting, conceptual art and sound art. I believe it to be a new kind of Singapore film –a total sensorial experience that is hopefully also a head-trip.”
The film is supported by the Singapore Film Commission’s (SFC) 35mm Fulfillment Fund, which helps local filmmakers defray the costs of converting the digital version of their film to a 35mm print master, a format required by the Festival.
Mr Kenneth Tan, Director of the Singapore Film Commission and Chief Operating Officer of Media Development Authority of Singapore said, “Singapore films have been gaining traction in the international markets over the last few years. Our varying styles and genres have been featured at Cannes every year since 2005, presenting our young filmmakers with a valuable launch pad for their international film careers. I am confident that local filmmakers such as Ho will continue to make their mark around the world.”
Singapore’s showing at Cannes began as early as 1997 when Eric Khoo’s 12 Storeys was invited under the Un Certain Regard section. This year marks the fifth consecutive year that a Singapore film has been featured at the Festival, starting with Khoo’s Be With Me in 2005, which opened the Director’s Fortnight. This was followed by the 2006 country showcase where 12 Singapore feature films and short films were presented at the World Cinema (Tous les Cinémas du Monde) event. In 2007, Anthony Chen’s short film Ah Ma clinched a Special Mention at the Festival, while Pok Yue Weng’s short film SuperDONG and Ekachai Uekrongtham’s feature film Pleasure Factory were screened at Directors’ Fortnight and Un Certain Regard respectively. Last year, Khoo’s latest film My Magic became the first Singapore film to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or award.
HERE is a co-production by Canada’s gsmprjct°média and M’GO Films and Singapore’s Akanga Film Asia, Oak3 Films and Tzulogical Films. The film was shot entirely in Singapore across 11 days in a former mental hospital. It tells the story of a middle-aged man who struggles to make sense of his reality following the sudden death of his wife. The protagonist of the film, played by lead actor John Low, is selected to undergo a mysterious treatment known as the ‘videocure’. While undergoing treatment, he learns a profound lesson about love and fate. HERE’s screening at Cannes will mark the film’s world premiere while the theatrical release in Singapore is scheduled for June this year. Please refer to the Annex for more information on HERE.
Added Ho Tzu Nyen, “HERE is both a love story, and also a story about the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea of ‘Amor Fati’ or love of fate –in which the test of an affirmative life is that of someone who is willing to live his life over and over again, without making a single change.”
Ho will join a delegation of film companies and directors led by MDA and SFC to the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Market (Marché du Film) from 13 to 24 May 2009. The Cannes Film Market is a trade event that runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival.
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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 www.mda.gov.sg and www.smf.sg.
Singapore Film Commission (SFC)
The Singapore Film Commission (SFC) is an agency under the Media Development Authority (MDA) that facilitates and assists 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, www.sfc.org.sg
Since 2006, producers Michel Cayla and Panuksmi Hardjowrirogo of gsmprjct°média in Singapore have developed and produced award-winning films, television and museum multimedia productions. www.gsmprjct.com
M’GO Films is a Montreal independent producer dedicated to film and multimedia productions. www.margofilms.com
Akanga Film Asia
Akanga Film Asia was set up in 2005 by Fran Borgia and produces film, theatre and visual arts projects. www.akangafilm.com
Singaporean company Oak3 Films was set up in 1996, producing film, documentary and television content. www.oak3films.com
Tzulogical Films was set up by Ho Tzu Nyen and Stephanie Goh and produces films by Ho Tzu Nyen.