Iraqi cinema stole thelimelight at the Silver Screen Awards Gala of this year's SingaporeInternational Film Festival (SIFF) when Oday Rasheed's Underexposure wasdeclared best film.
Billed as the first featureshot in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Underexposure lets theaudience witness 'the powerful voice of cinema trying to understand post-warBaghdad', according to the jury presided by Philippine director Lav Diaz,artistic director for the Arab Film Festival in Rotterdam Intishal al Timimi,Malaysian filmmaker Chua Thien See and Singapore director Sam Loh.
Other winners on the nightincluded This Charming Girl's Lee Yoon-ki who was on hand to receive thebest director prize from Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Hong Kongdirector Alan Mak. Lee also accepted the best actress award on behalf of KimJi-soo who shared the prize with A Time Far Past's Ho Phuong Dung.
The Green Hat's Liao Fan shared the best actor honour with co-starLi Congxi while director Liu Fendou clinched a young cinema award. ApichatpongWeerasethakul's Tropical Malady picked up a special jury prize and theNETPAC/FIPRESCI award went to Iranian director Marziyeh Meshkini's StrayDogs.
In the Singapore short filmcategory, Boo Junfeng's A Family Portrait claimed best film while GavinLim was named best director for his Subtitle. Celebrating 15 years ofthe Silver Screen Awards, a new HIP award was launched with Han Yew Kwang's TheCall Home being voted the favourite film among the past SIFF award winningshorts.
As with previous editions,this year's SIFF has been plagued by censorship. A total of five films werewithdrawn from screening, compared to the record six from last year. TheHistory of Sex and Raspberry Reich were banned by the Board of FilmCensors; Writer Of O and Masters Of The Pillow were passed withcuts and hence withdrawn; and Martyn See's local short Singapore Rebelwas withdrawn after being classified as a party political film.
Japanese anime Ghost inthe Shell 2: Innocence will close the festival on April 30.
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