ST:14 home-grown works in S'pore film fest (Feb 22)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feb 22, 2008
14 home-grown works in S'pore film fest
Two films with gay content, Women Who Love Women and Lucky7, could
prove controversial
By Douglas Tseng
THIS year's Singapore International Festival showcases 14 movies made
by home-grown talents including two works with gay content which could
prove to be controversial.

Women Who Love Women: Conversations In Singapore is touted as one of
the few documentaries ever made about lesbians here. In it, three
Singapore lesbians talk candidly about their lives and loves.

Lucky7 is an experimental film with seven directors at the helm. One
director does a 10- to 12-minute segment of the film and this is
continued by the next director who knows only what has happened in the
last minute of the previous segment.

The movie's central character is played by by Sunny Pang. It has
homosexual content and has been rated R21 for 'sexual content and
disturbing images'.

Festival director Philip Cheah said Women Who Love Women was submitted
to the censors on Jan 10 and is pending a rating.

He said: 'All the films are like our children, we want to see them all
through the process.''

The festival has a policy of showing films uncut. Last year, Kan
Lume's experimental film about a gay couple, Solos, was withdrawn from
the festival after the censors ordered three cuts.

Other films that were withdrawn after the censors wanted cuts included
Sam Loh's serial killer thriller Outsiders (2005) and Zai Kuning's
short film Even Dogs Have Choices (2005), a short film featuring local
singer X' Ho.

Women Who Love Women, directed by Lim Mayling, 28, an events manager,
was screened at the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival last
November. It has also been screened privately in Singapore.

The three lesbians are Amanda Lee, 24, an undergraduate at the
Australian National University in Canberra, Australia; Sabrina Renee
Chong, 40, a photographer; and Gea Swee Jean, 24, who works in
business and IT marketing.

When asked how the audience would react to the documentary, Lim said:
'We will leave it to the audience to have their own thoughts. It is
still a little surreal to have been selected for the festival. It
remains to be seen if the film will be screened or how it will be rated.''

Other Singapore works to look out for include Royston Tan's After The
Rain, a short film about a young lad's move from the countryside to
the city, and Tan Siok Siok's Boomtown Beijing, a documentary on the
impact of the upcoming Olympics Games on a group of Beijing residents.

Royston is one of Singapore's most well-known directors, whose last
film, 881, about getai singers, made about $3.5 million at the box
office. Siok Siok is a long-time television producer who has worked
with Discovery Channel and MediaCorp TV. Boomtown Beijing is her debut
film, which she made while lecturing at Beijing Film Academy.

Festival manager Yuni Hadi said of the Singapore film segment:
'Whatever pre-conception we have of what a 'Singapore film' is, should
be left at the door and be challenged, twisted, questioned and discussed.'

The festival's opening film on April 4 is Wayne Wang's The Princess Of
Nebraska, a story about a pregnant Chinese girl's life in the United
States. Wang, who made his name with The Joy Luck Club (1993) and Eat
A Bowl Of Tea (1989), will be here for the festival.

Other films to watch out for include Wang Quanan's Tuya's Marriage,
which won the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival last
year. It tells the heartbreaking story of a Mongolian woman who tries
to find a suitor to take care of her and her disabled husband.

# Ticket sales at Sistic outlets start from March 5. For ticketing
details and programme information, visit

# The Siff venues are Lido cineplex at Orchard Road, National Museum
of Singapore, The Substation, Goethe Institute, Republic Polytechnic
and Sinema@Old School.