First Singapore film to compete in Cannes Film Festival

Dated: 20 April 2007

Anthony Chen’s short film, Ah Ma is selected for the official Cannes Film Festival competition

Gaining prominence and recognition rapidly around the world in the last few years, the short film genre in Singapore has been given a further boost yesterday with the selection of the first Singapore film, Ah Ma (Grandma) in the official competition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by 23-year-old Anthony Chen and supported by the Singapore Film Commission through its Short Film Grant, Ah Ma is only one of 11 short films, chosen from a pool of over 3,000 entries, to be selected for competition in the LES COURTS MÉTRAGES EN COMPÉTITION where short films compete for the Palme d'Or Short Film award and a Jury Prize. Ah Ma is making its world premiere at the 60th Cannes Film Festival next month. (See Annex A for the other short films selected for competition)

Mr Man Shu Sum, Director of Broadcast and Film Development, Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) and Director, Singapore Film Commission (SFC) said: “We are delighted by the news. It is fantastic to see an increasing number of local short films gaining recognition in the 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 that they have worked so hard for.”

To shortlist the 11 Singapore entries for this year’s Cannes competition, the SFC conducted an open call for submissions earlier this year. In addition to the eligibility criteria stipulated by Festival de Cannes, the 11 films selected to represent Singapore were chosen for their creative and artistic values, production quality, structure, character development, visual grammar, strength of dialogue and pace.

Anthony Chen will be amongst the delegation of film companies and directors led by MDA and SFC in the coming Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market) from 16 May to 26 May to promote and market made-by-Singapore film content. Their participation in the market is supported by SFC’s Overseas Travel Grant and MDA’s Market Development Scheme. The Marché du Film is a trade event held alongside the Cannes Film Festival.

Ah Ma follows a string of successful and internationally acclaimed short films made by Singapore directors. The most recent, Royston Tan’s Monkeylove, won the Grand Prize for the Labo Competition at the 29th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival which was held in France from 26 January to 3 February 2007. Five other Singaporean short films – 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 and My Demon Brother by X’ho – were also recently screened at the highly regarded Rotterdam International Film Festival in Netherlands (24 January to 4 February 2007).

In addition, filmmaker, Ekachai Uekrongtham’s KUAILE GONGCHANG (Pleasure Factory) co-produced by Singapore companies Innoform Media and Spicy Apple Films has been selected for official screening in the UN CERTAIN REGARD category of this year’s festival and will compete for the Caméra d'Or award. Ekachai, a Singapore Permanent Resident is the second director from Singapore to be similarly honoured. In 1997, Eric Khoo’s 12 Storeys was selected for Un Certain Regard which recognises films that demonstrate a personal vision, cultural expression and innovation in the cinema. Last year, Singapore films were showcased through a special selection at the prestigious Tous les Cinémas du Monde (“All the Cinemas of the World”), a side bar event of the festival.

About Anthony Chen
Anthony graduated with a Diploma in Film, Sound and Video from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film &Media Studies in 2004. His graduation film, G-23, went on to screen at over 35 film festivals around the globe and garnered awards in France, Belgium, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. It was also selected for the Tous les Cinemas du Monde (All the Cinemas of the World) sidebar at Cannes last year. Ah Ma marks his second short film effort. The film will be competing for the Short Film Palme d'Or, the highest honor awarded to short films.

About the SFC’s Short Film Grant
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. The Short Film grant offers up to $5,000 for productions on any format, with budgets of $20,000 or less or up to $10,000 for High Definition &Film-format productions, with budgets of more than $20,000. SFC supported over 70 short films in 2006 through the Short Film Grant, as compared to only 11 short films in 1998.

About SFC’s Overseas Travel Grant
The Overseas Travel Grant promotes local films internationally by supporting the participation of Singapore film talents and Singapore productions in international film festivals and competitions. Each year over 50 filmmakers obtain funding to attend festivals where their films have been officially selected for competition or screening. Recipients include Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen’s Singapore Dreaming for the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Tan Pin Pin’s Singapore Ga Ga for the Taiwan International Documentary Festival and Tan Weiping’s Feet Unbound for the Amsterdam International Film Festival.

About MDA’s Market Development Scheme
This scheme was created to encourage Singapore-based media companies to tap into new markets abroad. It helps media professionals with the expansion of business development efforts, like overseas mission trips and participation at key media events