More filmmakers from Singapore continue to shine bright with notable selections at the Cannes Film Festival

Following the success of two Made-with-SG feature films winning at the Cannes Film Festival in 2023, more films produced by Singapore talents have been given the opportunity to shine at the prestigious annual event this year. These include two feature films — Viet and Nam, which was co-produced by Singaporean producer Lai Weijie and will be competing in the Un Certain Regard section, and Mongrel by Singaporean director Chiang Wei Liang, which will be screening at Directors’ Fortnight.

A scene from the film Viet and Nam. Photo courtesy:
A scene from the film Viet and Nam. Photo courtesy:

There are also two Singaporean-directed short films — Withered Blossoms by Lionel Seah, competing in the La Cinef (formerly Cinefondation), and Cold Cut by Tan Siyou, screening as part of a special programme under Directors’ Fortnight, an official news release from the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Supporting local filmmakers

Viet and Nam and Mongrel were awarded the Singapore Film Commission’s (SFC) and Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Southeast Asia (SEA) Co-Production Grant and New SG Director Grant respectively, under the Media Talent Progression Programme.

Both films have been acquired for global distribution. Pyramide International, one of the biggest independent French distributors, has acquired world sales (excluding France) for the eight-country co-production Viet and Nam, while Mongrel was picked up for sales by Paris-based independent sales company, Alpha Violet. This demonstrates the confidence that the distributors have in the quality of the two films and reflects SFC’s and IMDA’s success in supporting our local media talents and productions on the global stage.

We are ecstatic that Singapore’s talents have continued with our strong showing last year to once again make their mark at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. For more than 25 years, the Singapore Film Commission has been nurturing our promising young local directors and film talents, enabling them to showcase their flair and passion in telling universally appealing stories on the global stage. To date, we have had over 30 projects by Singaporeans premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, which is remarkable for a small city-state like Singapore. We wish the competing films all the best this year!

– Justin Ang, Assistant Chief Executive of Media, Innovation, Communications and Marketing, IMDA.

Recognising the SFC’s support, Singaporean producer of Viet and Nam and Mongrel, Lai Weijie said, “The Singapore Film Commission was the first major supporter of both Viet and Nam and Mongrel. This gave both teams a lot of encouragement and put us in a good position to apply for other forms of support. We will always be grateful to the Commission for believing in the visions of these films and are glad that they will both be premiering in Cannes. We are excited to share these films with Singapore and international audiences.”

Director of Mongrel, Chiang Wei Liang, expressed, “For years now, I have put all my energy and time towards this film, and I am excited to finally share it with the world. I hope that Mongrel’s selection at Directors’ Fortnight will help this film find its audience around the world. I will never forget the support of Singapore, Taiwan, and France to help this dream come true.”

A still from Mongrel. Photo courtesy:
A still from Mongrel. Photo courtesy:

Both Chiang Wei Liang and Lai Weijie are IMDA’s Singapore Digital (SG Digital) Scholars. Mongrel also counts IMDA SG Digital scholars Lim Ting Li (supervising sound editor) and Grace Wong (sound editor) amongst its core production team.

Short films selected for sections at Cannes Film Festival

Since 2007, Singapore has also had short films selected for various sections at Cannes Film Festival. This year, Withered Blossoms by Lionel Seah was selected out of over 2,260 submissions from film schools around the world to compete in the La Cinef (formerly Cinefondation), a section catered specially for young filmmakers and students.

Tan Siyou, whose short film Cold Cut will be featured at both Directors’ Fortnight and the Singapore-Philippines pavilion, said, “I am super looking forward to sharing my work with top industry professionals and meeting like-minded partners to collaborate with.”

Singapore-Philippines pavilion

The SFC’s participation in this year’s Marche du Film will mark almost 20 years of featuring Made-with-SG content and Singaporean media companies at this pivotal platform and enabling Singapore filmmakers and producers to forge collaborations with international media entities. Around 20 Made-with-SG titles will be showcased at the Singapore-Philippines pavilion at the Marche du Film’s Village International. Besides showcasing the latest film projects of participating companies, the Commission will also be hosting networking sessions for international partners to explore collaborations with our local media companies.