Co-presented by Objectifs and The Substation
10 to 13 September 2015
After a hiatus of 6 years, Objectifs and The Substation are proud to announce the return of Asian Film Symposium (AFS). AFS showcases short films from partner countries in South-East Asia, where film programmers are invited to curate cutting-edge short films from their respective countries and share them with the local audience. In addition, through intimate dialogue sessions, AFS provides a vital platform for sharing and exchange among filmmakers, critics and programmers, encouraging dialogue among these key players in regional independent film industries, in the presence of an audience who will hear them debate and discuss pertinent topics that affect cinema in the region today.
This 2015 edition of AFS features the theme: Pop! Culture. Deemed as the ‘culture of the people’, pop culture encompasses the collection of ideals and ideas influenced mainly by the mass media. From fashion, television, language, music and films, these elements very much make up the contemporary aspects of our lives. Pop Culture is everywhere; we talk about it, we read about it and in some ways, we are obsessed about it. How does pop culture affect or influence our society? Through these short films, the notion of pop culture will be explored from an Asian perspective.
This year’s Country-In-Focus is Taiwan. A special program curated by Taipei International Film Festival curator Kuo Ming-Jung will be presented on Saturday 12th September, with the curator in attendance.
Their respective curators and a filmmaker will represent all countries featured in Asian Film Symposium.
The 8 countries participating are:
Singapore: Objectifs & The Substation
Cambodia: Davy Chou (Curator, filmmaker) and Somchanrith Chap (Filmmaker)
Indonesia: Varadila Nurdin (Curator, film programmer from Minikino) and Ari Rusyadi (Filmmaker)
Malaysia: Tan Chui Mui (Curator, producer and filmmaker) and Taufiq Kamal bin Abd Rahman (Filmmaker)
Philippines: Shireen Seno (Curator, filmmaker) and Jade Castro (Filmmaker)
Taiwan: Ming-Jung Kuo (Curator, Taipei Film Festival programmer)
Thailand: Sanchai Chotirosseranee (Curator, Thai Short Film And Video Festival programmer) and Pramote Sangsorn (Filmmaker)
Vietnam: Marcus Manh Cuong Vu (Curator, filmmaker) and Do Quoc Trung (Filmmaker)
Film screenings are ticketed. To purchase tickets, please go to: http://asianfilmsymposium10sep.peatix.com/ .
Tickets are also available at the door before each film screening.
The Dialogue Sessions are free, open to public.
*You can also download the official Asian Film Symposium programme booklet here.
Film Screening / 10 Sept, Thursday, 8pm to 10pm / Venue: Objectifs / 81 min / PG13
Food is the subject of this prizewinning short film at the Singapore International Film Festival. It chronicles a day in the life of a food lover from his breakfast in a coffee shop right up to his dinner in a fancy Chinese restaurant.
The whole story happens inside a room where the characters hide and are free to say and do whatever they want—with only the four walls as witnesses. This is a story about love. Maybe not.
An improvised story set against the abandoned buildings of Kep, a coastal city for holiday makers in 1960s, Kep Secret explores the memory of these ruined homes through the eyes of a young boy. Re-imagining his playground for the first time, the boy relives through sound, the ghosts of excess and war.
A romantic comedy set in the mid 1980s when RM2.50 can buy you a packet of fried noodles, fish balls, one soft drink and an ice stick. Love was simpler back then… or was it?
Nick is starting her new life with a new family. Her husband passed away many years ago. She tries to erase all memory of her late husband but they seem to keep coming back to her.
The Story of Ones gives a face and a sense of place to the unseen and offers a personal counterpoint to the officially sanctioned. Like entering a roomful of stories, the viewer steps into an unfamiliar space guided only by the sound of the Vietnamese state radio tuning in to lifestyle programming, call-in shows and radio dramas.
A Gift (Directed by Mallory Lee)
Dialogue Session / 11 Sept, Friday, 7pm to 8pm / Venue: The Substation
From web series to narrative music videos and experiential video art, the short film is undergoing evolutions to form, tone and genre. What do various practitioners in the field consider a “short film” at present? In the face of prolific outputs of audiovisual content from amateurs to professionals alike, film programmers and filmmakers from the region will share their thoughts on what current pop culture has informed their understanding of a short film today, with a special focus on the shifting preference of consumption modes in the short form media.
Film Screening / 11 Sept, Friday, 8:30pm to 10pm / Venue: The Substation / 87 min
Blossom your life! follows a day of different LGBT characters from Ho Chi Minh City who fight for their rights of acceptance in soceity. It is a call for being yourself and express yourself to the LGBT community which has been insreasingly recognised and accepted in Vietnam.
A world-within-world story, Fonzi is the tale of a movie character who, like Pinocchio, wants to be a real person. Except Fonzi takes it one step further, and believes herself real when she isn’t. And unlike Pinocchio, (who had Disney and magic), Fonzi can never be real.
In a side street tavern, two village youngsters are discussing about their plan to make a film. Making a film is not as easy as they imagined as they realised that it is not only about the imagination, but it also required courage and the ability to laugh at our own works.
The film opens with images of a sorrowful young woman. The film concludes with images of a desperate young man fleeing into a jungle. In between, there are images that comprise a wealth of information, but there is still no clarity. Only the despair of the disappearance.
Endlessly portrays a sentimental portrait of the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild.
Fonzi (Directed by Kirsten Tan)
Film Screening / 12 Sept, Saturday, 11am to 12:30pm / Venue: Objectifs / 73 min
A single mother who works as a door-to-door encyclopedia seller must learn to adapt or face extinction in the advent of computers and the Internet.
While searching for his way out, Nunui meets a companion.
This is a story of a five year-old kid who experiences his first cinema-going experience with his parents.
A mysterious man finds himself in the muddy monsoon in a village terrorized by a local gangster.
One can live just to survive or to accomplish one’s dream.
Ilham plays out the scene of where he first met Rozita in his mind. He relieves the memories as he deals with an identity/existential crisis. Set using the premise of love and relationship, Rozita binti Roslan
tells a story of human attachment.
A boy watches a scary sea monster movie and becomes afraid of the sea. Problem is, he comes from a family of fishermen and is expected to become a fisherman too. Will this spell the end of his traditional livelihood?
Breathe (Directed by Twatpong Tangsajjapoj)
Dialogue Session / 12 Sept, Saturday, 1pm to 2pm / Venue: Objectifs
Exposure and discourse about independent cinema has improved since the dawn of the connected age. However, available access to knowledge of alternative content is not always tantamount to growth of the independent cinema. How have filmmakers and programmers addressed these issues that are so pertinent to growing audiences (for their brand of cinema)? What are some measures they have taken in their own line of work to not only grow a healthy viable appetite for their programs and films but to sustain the presence of independent cinema in their countries as a whole? Through this dialogue, audiences will get an inside look at some of the challenges film programmers and filmmakers face in the spirit of elevating a national consciousness about independent film, and what are some choices they make in an effort to grow this audience.
Film Screening – In Focus: Voices from Taiwan / 12 Sept, Saturday, 2:30pm to 4:30pm / Venue: Objectifs / 105 min / R21
A high school outcast tries to impress a girl by retrieving her stolen pair of gym shorts from a town pervert.
Chi is a six-year-old little girl who lives on the Happiness Road with her family. She recently started attending school, but finds herself quite different from everyone else and many things taught there are very strange…
A hacker who goes by the name Intoxicant is threatening to destroy a famous internet forum. While people are gathering in the system and expecting something to happen, six different users begin to suspect each other. When the countdown to annihilation begins, the chaos between trust and truth is about to grow.
A crazy groupie mom and an unsleeping baby girl meets the most popular but rotten rock ‘n roll band, Rock Rabbit. They strike a song called “Rock ‘n Roll Lullaby”. You may feel scary, but behind the fear, it just lacks a tiny bit of love, and a little more adventure.
Is love nothing but an illusion mix of memories and imagination? A boy meets a girl on Green Lake. Mesmerized by the beauty of the girl, the boy spares no effort in getting closer to her. However, what really happens when the boy finally gets a moment alone with the girl?
Rowboat (Directed by C.J. Wang)
Dialogue Session / 12 Sept, Saturday, 5pm to 6pm / Venue: Objectifs
Popular culture is manifested in our lives through mediums like music, film and fashion. How do such mediums affect or influence the work of a filmmaker/programmer? How has it shaped the artist / programmer they were before to what they are now? Through this intimate and personal discussion, this dialogue hopes to draw parallels or distinctions between the overarching effects of mass-market culture across countries whose cultures may be disparate but their effects may not be so different.
Film Screening / 12 Sept, Saturday, 6:30pm to 8pm / Venue: Objectifs / 73 min / PG13
Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On Diamond Island, the country’s pinnacle of modernity, two friends tell each other about the dreams they had the night before.
An experiment for the Northeastern people living in Thailand, they have to wear spacesuits and go to Mars for work.
A short documentary film about the story behind the early scene of the fixed gear community and culture in Jakarta, Indonesia.
On duty with Shu Qi addresses the topic of sexual awakenings in teenagers. These initial contact, whether surprising or daring, honest or cheeky, are only the foundation for two lonely individuals – a weird guy and an infamous hot girl in high school as they find their way to each other, in spite of everything.
Ishak, an experienced police diver, contemplates the emotional perils of his vocation following the most challenging dive of his career.
Beansprouts and salted fish is a story about the unintentional lies and unthinking acts that grown ups inflict upon children — and the sad humour of the consequences.
Cambodia 2099 (Directed by Davy Chou)
On Duty with Shuqi (Directed by Do Quoc Trung)
Film Screening / 13 Sept, Sunday, 2pm to 3:30pm / Venue: The Substation / 80 min / NC16
Like tells the story of a university student who is addicted to Facebook.
Shot along the train tracks, roads and escalators in Japan, The Story I Forgot to Tell is an anthropological daydream revolving around the mythology of a man who steals peopleʼs dreams on the train.
A young man writes a letter to his lover about his thoughts which includes nocturnal troubles and drug stores. This film is a comic snapshot of an ordinary person’s ordinary concerns on the health care situation in the Philippines.
An experimental piece about finding love, and letting it torture you.
Two low level assassins are assigned by their boss to aid the legendary killer Mack. Unfortunately for them, they start off their day late and everything goes downhill in a flurry of bodies and unlucky coincidences.
The White Building, built in 1963, is one of the symbols of the New Khmer Architectural movement. Abandoned during the Khmer Rouge regime, families started re-settling in the building in the 19080s. Boding is an invitation for the viewers to develop their own interactions with the space.
Recorded “live” for 24 minutes, conversations about how four cups of coffee, Clint Eastwood, and the parallel world can answer mankind’s biggest question which is, “Are we alone in the universe?”.
Pendekar Kesepian (Directed by Yusron Fuadi)
Film Screening / 13 Sept, Sunday, 4pm to 6pm / Venue: The Substation / 113 min / PG13
Feeling explores the loneliness of two teenage girls of the same age who lead two different lives. But their special friendship makes them value their life more.
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World is a documentary about Robert Zhao Renhui, a Singaporean photographer who has been exploring the relationship between humans and animals in his body of work produced through ‘The Institute of Critical Zoologists’.
Seemingly apathetic teens discuss the possibility of infidelity while cuddling in bed in this Ilonggo-language film. Produced under amBisyon2010, the ABS-CBN News Channel’s answer to the uncertainties and promises of the 2010 elections, where twenty independent filmmakers tackled with the state of their nation.
Michael has many roles; an actor, a producer, and even a kickboxing instructor. One day, he decides to join his first amateur MMA Fight Tournament much to the dismay of the people around him. This mockumentary pokes fun at this humbling experience he had.
Deeply depressed and heartbroken, Marvin is forced by his brother to use a love potion so that his aching heart would be cured. While dining at a dumpling stall, Siomai of Tisa, he meets a pretty nursing student. After having a short conversation, he feels mysteriously drawn to her and thus tries to use the love potion to win her heart. Will the love potion work, or will their love take its course even without it?
The ideal world of perfect goodness is a spiritual refuge for people nowadays. Unsurprisingly, some sects, new religions and politic group are growing.
To Siomai Love (Directed by Remton Zuasola)
About The Substation
Founded in 1990, The Substation is Singapore’s first independent, contemporary arts centre. Since its inception, The Substation has supported local and overseas artists by promoting research, experimentation and innovation in the arts, and aims to bring different artistic perspectives together in critical dialogue. It presents and supports a wide range of artists and programmes, from traditionally trained dancers to local rock bands; established visual artists to young poets; publications to short film festivals; to seminal conferences on Singapore arts and culture. Over the years, The Substation has worked with some of Singapore’s most critically acclaimed artists, writers and intellectuals. It continues to work closely with young and emerging artists, supporting them and nurturing their growth through its core programmes and other means.
The Substation is a recipient of the National Arts Council’s Major Grant 2014 – 2015.
About Moving Images
Moving Images was launched in 1997 and is Singapore’s first year-round programme dedicated to independent and short films. It is known for its diverse and innovative programming focusing on the experimental, shorts, and documentaries, nurturing local and Asian filmmakers, and connecting them internationally.
Asian Film Symposium is supported by “Watch Local”, an initiative under the Singapore Film Commission.
This event is also proudly sponsored by