23rd Singapore International Film Festival: 15 - 24 April 2010

Can hardly wait...=) Just realized I have missed most of the festival. The last one I posted was only for the 20th Singapore International Film Festival. =(

The Singapore International Film Festival kicks off next month. The S$500,000 festival will showcase close to 200 films from over all over the world.

It's one of the most anticipated festivals for movie buffs in Singapore. Now in its 23rd year, the Singapore International Film Festival is back with a wide selection of films.

One of the highlights is a film called "Shake Hands With the Devil", a sad tale about the struggles in Rwanda seen through the eyes of a U.N peacekeeper.

Meanwhile Park Jin Pyo's latest effort, Closer To Heaven will also be showcased.

And setting the tone for the festival is the film, "Mao's Last Dancer". It's about a dancer from China who defects to the US and eventually becomes a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet. It stars one of Asia's most established actresses, Joan Chen.

This year's festival includes special segments on Dance, Women in Film as well as cutting edge flicks from New York.

Kirpal Singh, festival director, Singapore International Film Festival, said: "We are showing films that have very broad appeal and will reach out to both the general viewership as well as the niche film going public.”

When it comes to censorship, organisers said they have had meetings with the authorities and have been pro-actively persuading them to give more leeway.

Majority of the films have been passed while some are still in consideration.

Geoff Malone, chairman & founder, SIFF, said: "We don't show films if they want cuts for it but I don't think we've got anything hugely controversial. Of course with the Board of Film Censors, the whole thing has opened up a lot more these days, it certainly got a lot better than when we first started the festival. Singapore's come a long way."

Festival Director Kirpal Singh added: "We've had meetings with people in the MDA. We have also been very pro active in trying to persuade them that it is time that the Singapore Film Festival became like every other big international film festival.

“This means that films that have to go through the usual process of censorship are actually submitted for viewing but are given more leeway in their screening so that Singaporeans can also proudly walk anywhere in New York or Paris or London and say that these days even the Singapore Film Festival is liberal and shows films now that weren’t allowed five years ago.”

And it's not long before the festival kicks off from April 15 to 24.

From Channel NewsAsia, "23rd S'pore Int'l Film Festival to take place from April 15-24".

THIS year's Singapore International Film Festival will see an emphasis on 'classical' values of film-making in its programming, says first-time festival director, academic and poet Kirpal Singh, 61.

The festival's board is trying to win untapped audiences, especially among teens and tertiary students. 'We have something for the young and the old, something for someone who wants more familiarity. We want to make sure we don't just cover extremes,' says Dr Singh.

He preferred to call the inclusion of more tried-and-tested fare an 'evolution' in programming, rather a departure from past practice.

Last year, for example, six films were withdrawn from the festival over film classification issues relating to religious and homosexual themes, language and images. Roughly the same number have been withdrawn in previous years.

Films which provoke for provocation's sake have been excluded from this year's programme, in favour of films which deal with sensitive issues in a 'powerful, compelling mode', he says.

Dr Singh says he does not expect films on the list this year to run afoul of the Board of Film Censors (BFC), Media Development Authority (MDA).

From Straits Times, "Less is more at film fest".

Last year was a tough time for the Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF). But like the themes of optimism and hope that are found in this year's selection of movies, the team behind it are looking at the brighter side of things.

According to founder Geoff Malone, the 23rd edition of the festival, which runs from April 15 to 24, will be "business as usual".

The Siff has undergone radical changes in recent months.

The successful 2009 edition was later overshadowed by the controversial departures of three key members last July: Its two new festival co-directors, Zhang Wenjie and Yuni Hadi, and board member Jasmine Ng, who cited differences with remaining board members Malone and Philip Cheah.

Last November, poet and educator Kirpal Singh and Audrey Wong were appointed new board member and festival manager, respectively.

There will always be challenges in setting up a festival but they've "now got an excellent team", said Singh.

The festival will comprise some 200 films from 36 countries, including 18 Asian premieres and 12 world premieres.

Among the films included are The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which is based on the novel by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson; Jim Jarmusch's The Limits Of Control; Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth; and opening film Mao's Last Dancer by Oscar-nominated Australian director Bruce Beresford, which tells the true story of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin's defection to America.

Singh added that they will also be "taking the festival to the people", citing SIM University in Clementi as one of the screening venues.

One glaring change is a smaller presence of South-east Asian films, which has long been considered one of the festival's main strengths.

"It is the purpose of the festival to highlight South-east Asia and Singapore, but it's also a matter of what good films are available internationally," explained Malone.

The line-up for festival guests is still being finalised and, added Malone, it may include an "Oscar-nominated actor".

Tickets for the festival go on sale on March 26. More details can be found at www.filmfest.org.sg.

From TODAYonline, "A new hope for the SIFF".

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