By Ken Hickson
Singapore is scheduled to host the first South Asia International Film Festival in September this year.
According to the organisers, Singapore South Asian International Film Festival (SG.SAIFF) will be devoted to garnering greater appreciation of South Asian cinema and culture.
It will do this by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers through competitions and awards, as well as promoting the diverse cultural and media perspectives of the South Asian diaspora.
Singapore, being a significant gateway to Asia – north, south, east and west – was selected as the location as it enhances the potential of the festival to emerge as melting pot of diverse cultures, using cinema as a medium.
The festival will be held from 1 to 9 September at various venues.
“Anywhere in the world where there is a significant South Asian diaspora, there is a dedicated South Asian film festival. Singapore lacks one so far and we think that this festival will serve as a unique opportunity for a cultural interaction between Singapore and South Asia”, says Abhayanand Singh, the Chef Executive Officer of Muvizz (www.muvizz.com), who has taken the initiative to stage this festival for the first time in Singapore.
The festival will showcase a combination of features, short films and documentaries under two separate sections. One will be Competition, where titles from South Asia countries will compete for an award.
In the Showcase section, the best of world cinema will be screened during the festival period, with most films being shown for the first time Singapore.
Additionally, the festival will also offer Singaporeans and visitors from neighbouring countries a unique opportunity to learn about acting, film making and screen writing from South Asian film industry experts and personalities.
Knowledge sessions, like panel discussions, master classes and business networking events, will be included in the nine days of the festival.
On the opening night of the festival – Friday 1 September – will be a red carpet affair featuring distinguished film industry personalities from eight participating South Asian countries and a world film premiere.
The first star to be named as a participant in the Singapore event is Manoj Bajpayee, who has also agreed to play the role of “Mentor” for the festival, Mr Singh confirmed.
Having recently won the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Actor held in Australia (APSA), the well-known Indian actor — who also uses the name as Manoj Bajpai – has soared to cinematic heights with distinctive performances in ‘Satya’, ‘Pinjar’, ‘Raajneeti’, ‘Aks’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Chakravyuh’ and ‘Special 26’. Quite recently, as the start in ‘Budhia Singh Born to Run’ and ‘Aligarh’ he won two National Awards and three Filmfare Awards.
“As an artist, I have been very supportive of content-driven cinema and have been part of many such films in my career. Being associated with a film festival like SGSAIFF gives me an opportunity to interact with talents from all over the Southeast Asia and admirers from all over the world. I look forward to watching a lot of films from South Asia during the festival and be part of an event which bridges the gap between South Asia and South East Asia. This is my way of giving back to the medium of cinema,” said Manoj Bajpayee.
He has also given outstanding performances in his short films ‘Taandav’ and ‘Kriti’ and for the former he received the Best Actor Male Award in the Filmfare Short Film Competition. Both the shorts were proudly produced by Muvizz.com.
The first weekend of the festival (2 and 3 September) will incorporate movie screenings for children, workshops on acting, writing and filmmaking, networking and masterclasses. There will also be what’s billed as a “Bollywood Nite”.
Every evening during the week – from Monday 4 September to Friday 8 September – there will be screenings of two or three films. The venues and the films will be announced closer to the time.
As the festival will conclude on Saturday 9 September with a spectacular Cultural Programme at 5000-seat Star Theatre, incorporating exciting stage performances, music, dance as well as presentations of film awards, this festival is poised to become the largest event ever staged to celebrate South Asian cinema in Singapore.
Website – www.sgsaiff.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SGSAIFF/
Muvizz is an Over The Top (OTT) or Video On Demand (VOD) platform offering cult, classic and independent films to cinema lovers around the world. Based in Singapore, it offers only a curated list of titles ranging from short films to documentaries to feature films in various languages to its users so that they don’t have to go through thousands of titles to decide which one to watch. It is creating a social community of cinephiles where movies are used as a medium for discussion and debates on its platform. The company is working towards having an exclusive content on its website which includes creating its own content, like short films, documentaries and web series. Noted film personalities like Vishal Bharadwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Shabana Azmi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ketan Mehta, Sudhir Mishra, Hansal Mehta, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Rajkumar Rao have all supported this endeavour, so that independent films and film makers can use technology to have a wider reach. Muvizz was started by Mr Abhayanand Singh and Mr Piiyush Singh. Abhay has more than a decade of experience across various industries including banking, finance, pharma, art, furniture, software and media. Piiyush, on the other hand, comes from media where he has been involved in television production for more than 10 years. https://www.muvizz.com/about-muvizz