ATF: Singapore Looks to 2020 as Prolific Year for Local Movies

Naman Ramachandran

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Singapore cinema will claim a share of the spotlight at the ongoing Asia TV Forum & Market, where some 80 local media companies are promoting their wares at the Singapore Pavilion. The crop of local movies for 2020 looks substantial.

Local powerhouse mm2 Entertainment leads the way with a line-up from several genres. Ong Kuo Sin’s musical comedy “Number 1” follows a laid-off white-collar worker who finds an unexpected alternate career as a drag performer. From the same director is “One Headlight,” a co-production with Byleft Productions and Vividthree Productions, where the young protagonist seeks to reunite his niece with her elusive father after the death of his sister. Also with Vividthree is Sam Loh’s “Hell Hole,” in which a mother and son seek revenge from the afterlife.

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Taipan Films’ “Circle Line” directed by Chua Jing Du, Singapore’s first monster film, is set against the backdrop of a faulty underground train system, where a despondent mother and a group of strangers on the last commute band together to battle an unknown creature.

Raihan M. Halim’s horror “Ibu,” from Papahan Films, follows a woman and her stepdaughter who discover a sinister presence that threatens to tear them apart.

Leonard Yip’s tropical noir “Malam,” produced by M’GO Films, follows a young man with a murderous past who encounters an elusive woman.

Joyce Lee’s comedy “Fat Hope”, from Encore Films, focuses on an aloof supermodel who, due to a curse, becomes overweight overnight.

Singapore films including “Ilo Ilo,” “A Land Imagined,” and “Pop Aye” have won a growing number of awards on the international festival circuit. But, with the notable exception of titles by Jack Neo, most have failed to make much of an impact at the local box office, and market share typically remains below 5%. Currently on release in Singapore is Anthony Chen’s “Wet Season,” which debuted in Toronto and has since played at the Golden Horse festival in Taiwan and at Tokyo Filmex.

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