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Singapore’s longest-running film festival blends the classics with modern art from November 23

As the end of the year approaches, Singapore’s film circuit gears up to welcome a movie extravaganza that offers a wrap-up of the most eye-catching movies of 2017. The 28th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is scheduled to be held from November 23 to December 3, 2017.

Executive Director, Yuni Hadi and Programme Director, Pimpaka Towira, with the local filmmakers at the 28th SGIFF Press Conference
Executive Director, Yuni Hadi and Programme Director, Pimpaka Towira, with the local filmmakers at the 28th SGIFF Press Conference. Photos courtesy: SGIFF

The event is set to take place across various venues, including Marina Bay Sands, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Museum of Singapore, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, Filmgarde Bugis+, Objectifs and *SCAPE.

Part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF), SGIFF is set to showcase a diverse spread of films that stood out in the past year, from a melodramatic story edited down from 10,000 hours of surveillance videos (Dragonfly Eyes by Chinese filmmaker Xu Bing); to a high-wire sociological suspense (The Square by Swedish director Ruben Östlund which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival), and a female-driven journey of vengeance and justice (Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts by Indonesian director Mouly Surya).

Pimpaka Towira, Programme Director of SGIFF.
Pimpaka Towira, Programme Director of SGIFF.

SGIFF Programme Director Pimpaka Towira said, “The demand for quality content has never been greater today. In the last one year, we have witnessed bold experimentation from film auteurs to showcase diversity in storylines, genres and styles, as they push the envelope in filmmaking. Staying true to our role as a vital focal point to uncover these gems and boundary-pushing creativity, this year’s Festival line-up provides an insight into the talent that permeates the region and showcases the promise of the industry here in Asia.”

As many as 18 world premieres, 17 international premieres and six Asian premieres will be screened during the days of the festival, which will kick off with a special screening of Angels Wear White by Vivian Qu on the first day, following which film-goers can look forward to 112 films across various genres and presentations during the 11-day festival.

Garin Nugroho
Garin Nugroho.
Koji Yakusho
Koji Yakusho.

SGIFF will also recognise contributions by veterans in Asian cinema – Garin Nugroho and Koji Yakusho – while spotlighting talents of tomorrow at the Silver Screen Awards held at Marina Bay Sands. Indonesian filmmaker Nugroho will be presented with the Honorary Award for his contribution to the film industry, while the Cinema Legend Award this year will be conferred on Japan’s veteran actor Yakusho.

To highlight the evolution of the entertainment industry over the years and development of filmmaking technology and science, the festival will introduce the inaugural Southeast Asian Producer’s Network this year. 12 regional commissioners and producers, including Singapore’s Fran Borgia, Indonesia’s Mouly Surya and representatives from HBO Asia and Astro Shaw, will gather to chart the future of collaborative filmmaking in the region, while sharing insights with festival-goers through a public talk.

A still from 'Call Me By your Name'.
A still from 'Call Me By your Name'.

Speaking about the new initiative, SGIFF Executive Director Yuni Hadi said, “Our movie-going culture has entered a new stage. Filmmakers and producers are producing great content that are played across multiple screens from cinemas to television to online platforms, in search of that space that will allow our stories from Asia to shine and find its audience. It is an important time for us to reflect how and where the stories from our region can be told, and the Southeast Asian Producer’s Network creates that conversation and challenges the industry to think out of the box."

In addition, one of the Festival’s SG Originals talks will see Singapore filmmakers discuss the usage of over-the-top platforms to be more accessible to viewers. The Future of Cinema Forum will also show scenes from films that were shot in Virtual Reality (VR) – including Manic and The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes, while discussing how the use of both VR and Augmented Reality (AR) can connect both creators and audiences.

SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival, hosted by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). SGIFF's Official Sponsors include Presenting Sponsor since 2014, Marina Bay Sands; Official Festival Time Partner, IWC Schaffhausen; Official International Realtor, List Sotheby’s; Official Automobile, BMW and Official Airline, Singapore Airlines.

“The Singapore International Film Festival has been an anchor of the annual Singapore Media Festival, which celebrates the best of Asian storytelling. We look forward to a robust line-up of the best films from the region, discovery of exciting new ways to tell stories, and celebration of talent at this year’s festival,” Joachim Ng, Director of the Singapore Film Commission, IMDA, said.

Some of the films and events to watch out for during the festival are listed below:

A scene from 'The Song of Scorpions'.
A scene from 'The Song of Scorpions'.
  • The Song of Scorpions (Special Presentation film – screening on 24 Nov, 7pm @ Marina Bay Sands)
  • The Song of Scorpions’ director Anup Singh and actor Irrfan Khan will be attending the festival and giving an In Conversation session on the afternoon of November 24.
  • Ajji by Devashish Makhija
  • The Brawler by Anurag Kashyap

Short films as part of the Singapore Panorama Shorts:

  • Stitches by Laavania Krishna
  • Angel by Don Aravind

Tickets for SGIFF went on sale from October 25, 2017 at all SISTIC outlets, its website and hotline +65 6348 5555.

Tickets for the opening film, Angels Wear White; and special presentation films, The Song of Scorpions; and Oh Lucy!, are also available through and the Marina Bay Sands MasterCard Theatres Box Office.

Ticket Prices (excluding SISTIC booking fee)

Opening Film: SGD25

Special Presentation Film: SGD15​

All other films: SGD12

Masterclasses, In Conversation & Talks: Refundable registration fee SGD5

Discounts & Concessions

  • Students, senior citizens and NSF – SGD1 discount for Opening Film and SGD0.50 discount for other films.
  • General Public – every booking of 10 tickets or more in a single receipt is entitled to a 10% discount.
  • Film Starter Kit – 4 tickets of different films out of 10 SGIFF-recommended titles at SGD32 for those new to watching independent films
  • Immersion Kit – 4 tickets of different films across Classics, Focus, Films in Competition and Singapore Panorama sections at SGD32
  • Super Fan 50 – every booking of 50 tickets in a single receipt is entitled to a 25% discount
Tushaar Kuthiala
Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both copy and content, and has written several articles, news reports on a wide range of topics. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation.