Dated: 20 April 2010
A Singapore film has once again been selected for screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Sandcastle, directed by Boo Junfeng, will see its world premiere at the 49th International Critics’ Week (ICW), which runs from 13-21 May. As a first-time feature film director, Junfeng 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. Sandcastle’s selection marks the sixth consecutive year that a Singapore film has been featured at Cannes, reinforcing the growing traction of local film in the international festival circuit.
Mr Kenneth Tan, Director of the Singapore Film Commission and Film, Animation and Publishing at Media Development Authority said, “Film festivals such as Cannes are important platforms for local filmmakers to launch their international film careers. Junfeng’s passion and skills are clearly shown through his achievements thus far. From being one of the top graduates of his cohort in film school to showcasing his short films at numerous festivals around the world, his growth in filmmaking is remarkable and continues to earn praise from many industry practitioners. The SFC is proud to have supported Junfeng in his feature film directorial debut and we encourage him to continue making movies that resonate with audiences both in Singapore and overseas."
Sandcastle is supported by the Singapore Film Commission’s New Feature Film Fund (NFFF) and was picked up in February by Fortissimo Film for worldwide distribution outside Singapore. Through NFFF, the SFC aims to nurture the next generation of aspiring local filmmakers by providing them the opportunity to direct their first feature film in partnership with experienced film production companies so as to gain valuable insights into the business aspects of the film industry in addition to honing their directing and story-telling skills.
Said Boo Junfeng, “I’m really happy. It’s a dream come true for me to have my first film presented at Cannes Critics’ Week. I’ve always heard that it’s the best place to be at for first-time directors. I see this as part of my learning process and am really looking forward to interacting with the audience and film critics at the festival.”
Sandcastle is the first local film to be featured in the ICW, the oldest parallel competitive section with a highly selective programme of only seven feature films and seven shorts films. The ICW is the platform where world-renowned film talents such as Alejandro González Iñárritu, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach, Wong Kar Wai, Jacques Audiard and François Ozon were first discovered.
In 1997, 12 Storeys by Eric Khoo was the first Singaporean film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival , showcasing in the Un Certain Regard section. Eric Khoo’s Be With Me, opened the Director’s Fortnight in 2005. 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, three Singapore films were selected - Anthony Chen’s short film Ah Ma clinched a Special Mention, while Pok Yue Weng’s short film SuperDONG together with Ekachai Uekrongtham’s feature film Pleasure Factory screened at the Directors’ Fortnight and Un Certain Regard respectively. Khoo’s My Magic also made headlines in 2008 when it became the first Singapore film to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or award. At last year’s Festival, HERE by Ho Tzu Nyen was selected for screening at the 41st Directors’ Fortnight.
Sandcastle is a co-production by Singapore’s Zhao Wei Films, Akanga Film Asia and Infinite Frameworks. On the film’s selection, Executive Producer Eric Khoo commented, “I am thrilled that Sandcastle will be the first Singaporean film to platform at prestigious Critic’s’ Week. Junfeng once again has surpassed our expectations for his first feature and done us proud with the Cannes selection”.
The plot centers on the 18 year old protagonist, En, and his father’s activities during Singapore’s formative years. Please refer to the annex for more information on Sandcastle.
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