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6 Award-Winning Singapore Films To Catch At Objectifs This Month

The fifth edition of “Watch Local: First Short, First Feature” is back at Objectifs Centre For Photography And Film. From 23 Feb – 4 Mar, film buffs can enjoy free screenings of local Singaporean feature films (you can register here). Each night focuses on a different Singapore filmmaker revealing the creative journeys from their first short film to their first feature.

One of the highlights is Boo Junfeng’s Sandcastle, which was the first Singaporean film to be invited to the International Critics’ Week at Cannes Film Festival. They’ll also be post-screening discussions to give you a better idea of how the filmmakers have honed their craft. Lucy Rees recommends six to watch.

#1: Banting (Raihan Halim)
Banting is one of the first Malay feature films to be made in Singapore since the “golden age” of Malay cinema in the ’50s and ’60s. It traces the story of Yasmin, a young woman raised in a strict Muslim household who begins to secretly take professional wrestling lessons. The feature film explores the consequences of the decision and the lengths she goes to keep it a secret. 23 Feb, 7:30pm #2: Red Dragonflies (Liao Jiekai)
26 year-old Rachel and a group of friends explore an abandoned railway track before an unexpected incident brings the adventure to to an abrupt halt. The film is conceived from the director’s personal memories – he came across an old home-video tape of a similar hike from his school days. It also looks at Singapore’s rapid redevelopment as old icons of the past are being torn down. The film has won many awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival and the Asian New Talent Competition: Shanghai International Film Festival, both in 2010. 24 Feb, 7:30pm #3: Gone Shopping (Wee Lee Lin)
In this satirical drama, a 40-year-old ‘lady of leisure’ flees to a shopping centre during a mid-life crisis. The film explores her encounters with an eccentric group of characters, including an abandoned child and a twenty-something mall rat. This was nominated for the Asian New Talent Award at the Shanghai Film Festival and made the official selection at a number of festivals including the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Feb 25, 7:30pm #4: Where the Road Meets the Sun (Yong Mun Chee)
Takashi is a backpacker who finds himself in Los Angeles to escape a lost love after being in a coma for several years. The film tells the story of the unlikely friendship he forges with three other aimless drifters at a gritty downtown hotel and how they got to where they are. It won the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2011. Mar 1, 7:30pm #5: The Art Of Flirting (Kan Lume)
Shot reality-tv style, The Art of Flirting follows the two-week-long love story of Lynn, a lifestyle reporter interviewing Leo, a jock turned entrepreneur. The film won Best ASEAN Feature Film for Malaysian Video Awards 2005 and was nominated for the Jeonju International Film Festival 2006 and made Official Selection for Singapore International Film Festival 2006. 3 March, 7.30pm Photo: The Art Of Flirting trailer #6: Sandcastle (Boo Jungfeng)
A coming-of-age story, 18-year old En goes to stay with his grandparents while waiting to enlist into the army. There, he finds out about his late father’s past as an activist in ’50s Singapore. Sandcastle has received critical attention for being the Singaporean film to be invited to the International Critics’ Week at Cannes Film Festival. Jungfeng also won Young Artist of the Year by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2009. 4 March, Friday, 7.30pm Like this? Check out the coolest indie cinemas in Singapore.