As this year'sSingapore International Film Festival draws to a close on May 1, festivaldirector Philip Cheah has revealed that the Board of Film Censors banned threefilms and asked to cut another three which were scheduled for screening -effectively removing six titles from the event.

Censorship is aconstant problem for the festival. "Every year a number of films are lost tothe censors, but this year is the highest in the past three years," Cheah says.He feels that the board's decision is ironic when Singapore is in the midst ofloosening up its strict censorship laws with the launch of a revised filmrating system in early April.

The three banned films are RakeshSharma's Final Solution, about the rights of fundamentalists in India,Pimmi Pande's documentary Destiny's Children, which touches upon thepolitical issue of Tibet, and Desperately Seeking Seka, a Swedishdocumentary of a famous porn star.

A further threefilms have been rated R21 with cuts, including local film Outsiders,director Sam Loh's character study of misfits, local short Even Dogs HaveChoices directed by Zai Kuning, and Malaysian short Choice directedby Patrick Lim. The festival's policy is not to show films that have been cuts,so they were withdrawn.

Outsiders producer Tan Chih Chong supports thefestival's policy. 'The scenes that were asked to be cut are pivotal to thedevelopment of the plot and are not gratuitous in any manner. We feel that thecuts would not only strongly compromise our story but also dent our sense ofcreativity as well,' he said.