Presented by Objectifs


12 to 15 July 2017
Presented by Objectifs
Admission: Screenings $5 per session, buy tickets here or at the door. Talks are free.

This year’s Asian Film Focus explores notions of archival and found footage in the context of contemporary filmmaking in Asia, highlighting works from Vietnam, India, the Philippines and Singapore. What can we glean from these glimpses into the past, and what does it say about our present and our future?

Ever since its advent, film has been used as a means to record significant moments. From personal memories to historical milestones, its particular qualities have helped create time capsules that historians, archivists, artists, and filmmakers have turned to for insight into the past and creative inspiration. As the process of recording and archiving film continues to evolve in our lives, found footage has emerged as an important storytelling device as filmmakers seek to appropriate material to shape different narratives, and capture space and time.

This theme will be explored through short films that have been selected by curators from the focus countries. The curators are:

  • Shireen Seno, visual artist and filmmaker (Philippines)
  • Supriya Suri, Artistic Director of Cinedarbaar (India)
  • Truong Que Chi, curator of Nhà Sàn Collective (Vietnam)
  • Leong Puiyee, film manager at Objectifs (Singapore)

Click here for the line up. For more about the film programmers, click here.

Dialogue Sessions

Join us as we discuss this year’s AFF theme with filmmakers, film curators, and writers.

Click here for more information.


 

TIME MACHINE: SHORT FILMS

Film Screening / 12 July, Wednesday, 730pm / 67 min / M18: Some Sexual Scenes
Tickets here: http://aff12jul.peatix.com
There will be a post screening Q&A session. 

“Eleven Men” is composed of scenes from a range of Vietnamese classic narrative films featuring the same actress, Nhu Quynh. Spanning three decades of her legendary acting career, most of the movies — from 1966 to 2000 — were produced by the state-owned Vietnam Feature Film Studio. The film’s text was adapted from “Eleven Sons”, a short story by Franz Kafka first published in 1919, which begins with a father’s declaration: “I have eleven sons”, then describes each one of them in acute and ironic detail. Transposing the father’s voice of Kafka’s story, the film begins with a woman stating: “I have eleven men”.
Piecing together nostalgic home videos shot by her family two decades ago, coupled with current telephone conversations with various family members, Bare follows the filmmaker’s attempt to define her relationship – past, current and future – with her alcoholic father. Should she stand by him, drawing only on her memories of what a wonderful father he was? Or should she move on, as some of her relatives are urging, and build a life which excludes him?
An experimental animation that is part socio-political commentary and surrealist whimsy, advocating for a new and personal take on the alphabet.
An old female voice narrates memories of growing up in a Singapore that no longer exists, the passing of a generation and her acceptance of death; deep into the night, mechanical fans rotate to the rhythm of passing wind, a mourner accompanied by restless phantoms and a lonely moth perched upon the yellow funeral tent; together they welcome the silent light of daybreak.
Abstracted scenes from the film ‘Razia Sultan’, which features a doomed romance between the only female sultan of Delhi and her Abyssinian slave, play out on monitors in several sites in Delhi that are strongly associated with the African community. The film draws tangents between the 13th century romance and African-Indian lovers in contemporary Delhi, exploring notions of belonging, memory and the idea of landscape in relation to the African Identity.

 

Eleven Men by Nguyen Trinh Thi


Film Screening / 13 July Thursday, 830pm / 33 min / NC16: Some Violence
Tickets here: http://aff13jul.peatix.com
There will be a post screening Q&A session 

Rumoured to have used footage salvaged from a commercial studio dumpster, the film is a commentary on Filipino on-screen macho culture and one of the rare surviving works in the brief filmmaking career of Ramon ‘RJ’ Leyran. It was a product of the last Christoph Janetzko film workshop, with a focus on experiments with optical printers, held in 1990.
‘These Old Frames’ is a pastiche of old home films from the filmmaker’s grandfather, shot on 8mm. Through her exploration of the footage, she discovers fragments of family history, situations, events and characters, which helped her understand her grandfather and how he formed his own identity in a free India.
Pulsating in the stillness of the night, the flickering lights add a new sight to the nightscape in Singapore. When a light malfunctions, the light is fixed the following night. The lights in the city never go out- it is always functioning as it should be.
Using footage from the public funeral of an important poet who was banned for decades in Vietnam, this video is connected to the political and historical situation of the country, provoking some questions still impermissible to be asked publicly in present-day Vietnam. What if one can play history in reverse and then replay it again?
An experimental love poem/monologue composed of images that recur and repeat themselves. The narrator reminisces on a relationship and anticipates meeting his love again, both with trepidation and excitement.

 

The Lights Went Out by Adar Ng


Film Screening / 14 July, Friday, 730pm / 41 min
Tickets here: http://aff14jul.peatix.com

There will be a post screening Q&A session.

The film elucidates Comrade Anil Kumar Rai’s ideas and philosophies. AK Rai played a key role in organizing workers, farmers and adivasis to fight for an independent Jharkhand. He started the Bihar Coillery Kamdar Union with the coal miners in Jharkhand to fight against the mafia in late 1960s, which is active to date. The film explores the complexity of the lives of coal miners prone to disasters and accidents, one being the Chasnala Mine Incident in 1975, where more than 350 coal miners drowned, when a lake broke into the mine. The film is a blend of mainstream film footage, current images of coal miners in Dhanbad, archival images and AK’s voice to mark the poignancy of an eternal battle.
As the journey starts, wide empty landscapes make one wonder what one is looking for. A mysterious object? A crime scene? Something horrifying? The scenes are getting more and more specific, but they do not lead to any concrete solution – only an injury in place of a metaphor.
In this novel retelling of an old story, Darna wakes up to discover that her magical stone has grown as big as her heart. Alone in a world where silence is her only companion, she learns to come to grips with the finitude of love.
A simple record of a day in the life of the filmmaker’s mother.
One of the most prominent and well-crafted films that emerged from the Christoph Janetzko experimental film workshops, Kalawang is a satirical piece that uses found footage of war, sex, and pop culture to unpick the cultural and libidinal complex of colonisation.

 

Kalawang by by Cesar Hernando, Eli Guieb III & Jimbo Albano


Film Screening / 15 July Saturday, 830pm  / 48 min / PG13
Tickets here: http://aff15jul.peatix.com
There will be a post screening Q&A session 

Coming Attractions is a two-channel video where pictures and sounds from acclaimed American war films released between 1977 and 2015 have been remixed; the work engages the spectacle of cinematic warfare to explore the ideologies of imperialism and politics of representation advanced through the Hollywood gaze.
Song to the Front abstracts a feature-length 1970s Vietnamese war propaganda film and its aesthetic and political elements into a 5-minute vignette. Set to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which represented a sacred pagan ritual in pre-Christian Russia where a young girl dances herself to death to propitiate the god of Spring, “Song” deconstructs the melodramatic and romanticised elements of the original social-realist drama. Playing with the original plot line in an ambiguous manner, the filmmaker desires an imaginative space for the viewer’s reinterpretation of the historical event and perspective.
Filmmaker Charles Packer chronicles his grandfather’s life. Using photography, home videos, interviews, his grandfather’s writings as well as footage taken while following in his grandfather’s footsteps to create a unique work of portraiture that explores how we remember our departed loved ones.

An experiment in optical printing using Super 8 home movies and hand-coloured found film material. The film was created during the influential Christoph Janetzko workshops, conducted in 1989 and 1990, in collaboration with Mowelfund Film Institute, Goethe Institut and the Philippine Information Agency.

Straight 8 – A Portrait of Tom D’aguiar is an attempt to revisit a collection of home movies that date back to the 1940s, in and
 around Bangalore. The home movies were from an old house that was about to be demolished, where the filmmaker found a plastic bag of films made by Tom D’aguiar.

 


 

DIALOGUE SESSIONS

Join us as we discuss this year’s AFF theme with filmmakers and film curators. Admission is free.

Register to attend here: http://afftalk13jul.peatix.com

Film is an important medium that allows us to record personal stories and experiences. When we hit re-play, we re-experience past times, and past memories. Together, such films preserve and form our collective history. In this dialogue with the programmers and filmmakers of the AFF, understand how filmmakers and artists use film to reconstruct their recollection, and how film can be a time machine that captures the past and the present.

Panellists: Shireen Seno, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Liao Jiekai, Amshu Chukki

Moderated by: Thong Kay Wee (Outreach Officer, Asian Film Archive)

Thong Kay Wee currently works as the Outreach Officer at the Asian Film Archive (AFA). Part publicist and part programmer, he is responsible for devising strategies and programmes to propagate Asian cinema which is the AFA’s mission. His key contributions to the AFA include curating the exhibition series Celluloid Void: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia (2015, 2016) and creative producing for the film history-cum-art exhibition series State of Motion (2016, 2017), as part of National Arts Council’s Singapore Art Week. Thong graduated with a BA (Hon) in Communication Studies from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, specialising in Cinema Studies.

Register to attend here: http://afftalk15jul.peatix.com

Moderated by Leong Puiyee, film manager at Objectifs

Short films are known to be a launch pad for new filmmakers. The short film format not only allows filmmakers to hone their craft but to also experiment with the form without necessarily following a particular structure. The format is currently thriving – more people are creating short films, and there are more platforms for these works to reach wider audiences. From film festivals to the Internet, how have short films and their role evolved over the years? How important are they in the current film landscape?

 


 

ABOUT THE FILM PROGRAMMERS

Shireen Seno, visual artist and filmmaker (Philippines)

Shireen Seno is a lens-based artist whose work addresses memory, history, and image-making. She received an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto with a double major in Architectural Studies and Cinema Studies. As a visual artist, her work has been exhibited at Republikha Gallery, Manila Contemporary, mag:net gallery, Green Papaya Art Projects, the Ishmael Bernal Gallery at the University of the Philippines Film Center, and the Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. Her films have been screened internationally at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Jeonju (Korea), and the German Historical Museum (Berlin), amongst others.

She is an alumna of the Berlinale Talents (2014) and Oberhausen Seminar (2015) and was 1 of 4 finalists in Film for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (2016-2017).

Supriya Suri, Artistic Director of Cinedarbaar (India)

Supriya Suri is a film maker, cinephile and curator and currently the President and the Artistic Director of Cinedarbaar. She was awarded the prestigious French Art Scholarship to study Cinema in Paris, where she was also awarded the Cite Universities Film Grant.  She returned to India to form Cinedarbaar, a non-profit dedicated primarily to using cinema as a tool to advance the dialogue in film curating, criticism, and skill development for the youth. As a result she has programmed several film festivals, conducted film discussions in collaboration with government organisations of India and embassies, cultural centres in India.

Truong Que Chi, curator of Nhà Sàn Collective (Vietnam)

Truong Que Chi is currently a curator of Nhà Sàn Collective, an artist-run and non-profit contemporary art space in Vietnam. She is also a film lecturer at the Hanoi University of Theatre and Cinema. Her works have been featured at various local and international film festivals, exhibitions, and symposiums including among others the Oberhausen International Film Festival, Les Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin – New Cinema and Contemporary Art, South by Southeast. A Further Surface at Times Museum, Hanoi Mini Docfest. Truong Que Chi graduated with a Master’s degree in Film Studies from University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Leong Puiyee, film manager at Objectifs (Singapore)

Puiyee is responsible for the film programme and projects at Objectifs, where she curates and manages programmes such as Women in Film and the Asian Film Focus. She is also the Programme Manager (Short Films) for the Singapore International Film Festival. An occasional zine artist, Puiyee has taken part in the 2013 Tokyo Art Book Fair and Print Lab: Art and Design publication exhibition under Grey Projects. Puiyee graduated with a diploma in Arts Management from Lasalle College of the Arts.


About the Asian Film Focus

The Asian Film Focus promotes the creation and appreciation of independent films from the region. It is dedicated to the short film genre, cinema’s most democratic and expressive form. Each year, we work with the foremost film programmers in Asia to bring audiences exciting gems from different countries, with a different theme each time. Through screenings, panel discussions, and networking sessions, industry and audience members can come together to discuss trends and developments in film, and forge a community that celebrates the creative power of filmmaking.

The Asian Film Focus programme is made possible with the support of the Singapore Film Commission.