City of London Festival 2015 – Singapore on Film series
By Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark
Just ahead of the 53rd annual City of London Film Festival 2015, we at CU-F have decided to take a minute to discuss some of the many good things we anticipate at this year’s festival. With over 200 events spanning over a three-week period, with a special section specifically dedicated to Singapore on Film, this June/July offers a number of opportunities to become involved in this long standing festival.
Originally conceived with the aim of revitalising the cultural life of the city, the City of London Film Festival has grown to become one of the UK’s leading art events, enjoyed by millions throughout 2009-12. With a reputation that continues to grow, for the past 53 years, the festival has animated outdoor spaces with an extensive programme of music, theatre, stand-up comedy, film presentations and talks largely for free. For instance, 2014’s festival featured over 260 events, of which 133 events were for free, attracting audience numbers well upwards of 500,000. Set up in every corner of London’s commercial heart, locations include The Gherkin, Canary Wharf and Broadgate to name a few.
This year, the festival’s film section will be exclusively held at the Barbican from June 22nd to July 10th, showcasing a number of acclaimed films in contemporary Singaporean cinema. The showcase also includes musical concerts (23rd, 27th and 29th June) alongside films section.
As Singapore celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence, the festival is a well-timed chance to highlight the long-standing association with London with a programme filled with many of Singapore’s cultural riches. Also referred to as Singapore on Film, for audiences simply craving something new, or for the lovers of foreign cinema, this years City of London Festival 2015 is the place to be this summer.
In particular, we are excited for Anthony Chen’s 2013 drama Ilo Ilo, the official submission of Singapore to the 2014 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film Category. Chen’s debut feature was both a box office and critical success, winning a handful of awards that includes top prize of Camera d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Set in mid to late 90’s Singapore, Ilo Ilo is a portrait of a middle-class family’s struggle with a slew of issues as the attempt to live during the Asian Financial Economic Crisis. Ultimately, Ilo Ilo chronicles the relationship of the family with their new maid.
For anyone interested in Chen’s debut CU-F can exclusively reveal that the word “Ilo Ilo” is not once mentioned throughout the film’s 100 mins, but related to the Ilonggo dialect of Iloilo province which one of the characters speaks within the film. Perhaps one of the many draws of Chen’s semi-autobiographical film is it muted tone with no exaggerated melodrama which helps to create a very authentic piece, pointing to why it won big at the 2013 Oscars.
And if you though things could not get any better, CU-F can also confirm that there will be short introductions to two of the film selected to be a part of the film series, which includes Eric Khoo’s second film 12 Storeys, Singapore’s first official selection for the Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard section.
Other films on the programme include Tan Pin Pin’s 55-minute documentary Singapore GaGa (2005) which will premier Tuesday 30th, K.M Basker 1961 film Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang (Wednesday 1st), P. Ramlee’s Penarek Becha/ The Trishaw Man (1955) and Eric Khoo’s 1997 film 12 Storeys (Thursday 2nd). Films comprising the short films category include Wee Li Lin’s 11-min Autograph Book (2003), the 10 minute long Katong Fugue (2006) by Boo Junfeng and Timeless (2010) by K. Rajagopal
So for all you lovers of cultural diversity in film, head down to the Barbican this July!
For more information visit http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/series.asp?id=1448 or visit Colf.org for The City of London Film Festival 2015: Singapore on Film. Also like their Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/CityofLondonFestival