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US university offers to buy S’pore short film
Local movies making their mark abroad
A Singaporean film maker’s short film may soon be part of an American university’s audio and video collection – thanks to exposure in a foreign film festival.

After the 10-minute film, Once Upon A Time In The Not Too Distant Future, was shown at the Hawaii International Film Festival this year, the University of Hawaii contacted Miss Christine Lim its director, about buying it.

Miss Lim’s experience highlights an encouraging trend for Singapore film makers – more of their films are getting exposure in overseas film festivals.

Better yet, their work is also gaining respect.

Miss Lim’s film is one of several local movies which have been making the rounds at international festivals.

Other home-grown film makers who have made the international scene include Eric Khoo and K.Subramaniam.

Last year, five Singapore short films were shown at the South-east Asian Film Festival in Amsterdam.

This year, apart from the Hawaii festival, several Singapore short films were also shown at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival and the Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Miss Lim, a Singapore Broadcasting Corporation producer, said she will sell her film to the university, but has not decided on the price.

"Ragged - shown at the Hawaii International Film Festival"

She said: “It’s good to have someone interested in my work. This sort of exposure is, I feel, very important.”

Her movie tells the tale of anti-smoking troopers going after a man who desperately needs a cigarette. It won the top prize in the short film category of the Singapore International Film Festival earlier this year.

Miss Teo Swee Leng, director of the Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF), said of overseas interest in Singapore films: “It says that the effort of having the best Singapore short film awards is paying off.”

She said the SIFF helps the film makers promote their work overseas by showing their movies to festival directors and telling them about the competition.

But, she added: “It doesn’t mean that if you send them the film, they will show it. It depends very much on how the programmers see the film.”

Besides Miss Lim’s film, others which have been shown overseas include Carcass, Barbie Digs Joe, August and Symphony 92.4 FM, by Mr Khoo; Ragged, co – directed by two brothers Nisar and Nazir Husain; Ah Tong by Mr Victor Pan; The Cage, an animated short by Mr Subramaniam; and China Doll by Mr Meng Ong.

On the international exposure, Mr Khoo said: “It is very rewarding. You meet foreigners who can relate to what you are doing. Some film makers have said that my work has an international touch.”

And will Singapore short films be shown one day at prestigious film festivals in Cannes, Berlin and Venice?

Said Mr Philip Cheah, SIFF’s programme director: “It’s a matter of time. The connections are already there, it’s the quality now.”

To further encourage film makers here, next year’s short film competition includes a cash award of $5,000 for the best director.

Previously, there was no cash prize accompanying the award.

There will also be a new special achievement prize for a deserving entry - a $60,00 package which includes, among other things, film stock, equipment rental, film processing, film editing and finished sound mix.

The best short film award winner bags a cash prize of $10,000 and Kodak film stock.

Click here for more information about Ragged.



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