MDA-backed SGIFF (Dec 4-14) is part of Singapore Media Festival.

The 25th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) has announced its line-up with 147 films from 50 countries. After a hiatus of two years, the SGIFF will open as part of the Singapore Media Festival, which also comprises the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore (SS) and Asian Television Awards (ATA).

Hosted by the Media Development Authority (MDA), the Singapore Media Festival (and SGIFF) will run Dec 4-14.

SGIFF will open with Ken Kwek’s Singaporean thriller Unlucky Plaza, which premiered in Toronto last month. Making a feature directorial debut with the film, Kwek previously was screenwriter on films such as Glen Goei’s The Blue Mansion and Kelvin Tong’s It’s A Great, Great World.
The festival will close with Lucky Kuswandi’s Indonesian film In The Absence Of The Sun. A film the follows three women in the megacity of Jakara, it is Kuswandi’s second feature after Madame X.

The fest has 25 world premieres including local debuting director Ric Aw’s Standing In Still Water in Singapore Panorama, Teddy Soeriaatmadja’s Indonesian film About A Woman in the Asian Vision section, Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterovbo’s France-Russia co-production Journey To The Mother in the Cinema Today section and Andrea Capranico’s Filipino documentary The Undertaker.

“The festival’s focus has always been to have a strong emphasis on Asia and Southeast Asia. What’s different this year is having a brand new team to look at Asian cinema from a fresh perspective,” said Yuni Hadi, executive director of SGIFF.

Festival director Zhang Wenjie said: “For a festival like ours, it is about finding an original voice that stands out amidst the information clutter we all live in. Audiences will be able to discover films that have a distinct expression, and directors who articulate their narratives with a clear vision. Ultimately, we want to deliver a programme that is more compact and focused.”

Other directorial debuts include Jason Lai’s Ms J Contemplates Her Choice with singer/actress Kit Chan, Chonlasit Upanigkit’s W and female director Natsuka Kusan’s Antonym.

The fest’s Singapore Panorama section will showcase films from local filmmakers such as Royston Tan, Kan Lume and Jiekai Liao, as well as a sex comedy from Han Yew Kuang, Rubbers, starring Ilo Ilo Actress Yeo Yann Yann.

Other notables include A Tribute to Korean director Im Kwon-taek; a restored version of 1972 Sri Lankan classic Nidhanaya, The Treasure by Lester James Peries, a film which was formerly thought to be lost but a print for which was found last year; Ahmad Abdalla El Sayed Abdelkader’s Decor, which recently made its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival; Xie Jin’s 1964 film Stage Sisters, a film “made on the cusp of the Cultural Revolution” that was restored and opened the Shanghai film fest’s 50th anniversary edition this year; and Lav Diaz’s 338-minute From What Is Before.