Enough alternative films to last you till the end of the year

Just three months ago, we declared that Singapore's summer film festival season had arrived, with the long-running European Union Film Festival returning for its 27th edition, the 6th French Animation Film Festival wowing audiences with a selection of six films filled with deep stories and the Mexican Film Festival gracing the screens at The Projector.

After a quick cooling-off period, it seems like we’re going back into full gear, with a number of festivals offering an abundance of indie films that confront difficult issues and narrate moving stories. Get your calendars out and mark these dates.

Films At The Fort (Aug 3-20)

Films at the Fort 2015. Photo credit: Matthew H. Sturgess

Singapore's annual open-air cinema is currently on-going at the natural amphitheater Fort Canning Park. While we may not have a drive-in cinema anymore, this, along with a couple of other small-scale outdoor events (like Singapore Open Air Cinema Club at The Hive), will have to do. Now into its fifth year, the festival will screen a total of 15 awesome films, including the classic 1986 film starring Tom Cruise, Top Gun, action-thriller Hell or Highwater and Academy Award-winning tale of human connection, Moonlight. Tickets are selling out so act fast.

Middle East Film Festival (Aug 4-20)

Returning to The Projector in partnership with the Middle East Institute-NUS is the second edition of the Middle East Film Festival. This year, all six films chosen for the festival, albeit well-received and critically acclaimed at international festivals, are not allowed to be shown in their own countries. Take for example Tramontane; while it tells the story of a blind musician on a journey to find records of his own birth, the film also unveils something else about Lebanon. We’re also excited how four of the six films are centered on courageous women fighting back and banding together to stand strong against all odds.

IndigNation Queer Films Festival (Aug 18-20)


The third edition of the popular IndigNation Queer Films Festival won't have a huge gala night to open the festival, or an amazing disco party after the screening of the opening film, but this year's selection is just as impactful as the last. Kicking off the festival is Front Cover, a moving dramedy centered around an ambitious gay fashion stylist who's tasked to work with a difficult movie star from China. There's also the double feature showcasing two films focused on LGBT women, as well as the return of Short Circuit, a showcase of local LGBT shorts presented by Boo Junfeng.

Israel Film Festival (Aug 24-Sep 10)

Now in its 25th year, this festival has become one of the oldest and longest running ones around. They're upsizing their offerings this year, screening more than 15 films, documentaries, classics and even a 10-episode TV series over 10 days, across two venues. Expect women-centric films like the A Quiet Heart, Past Life and Sand Storm, as well as other films that shed light on Israel like the documentary Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land, which puts to bed the misconception of their thriving and very forward gay scene.

Singapore Eco Film Festival (Sep 1-3)

A Plastic Ocean

The Singapore Eco Film Festival, happening in Sep at the ArtScience Museum, brings together many environmental organizations of Singapore, along with a couple of films from around the world and panelists who will be hosting discussions around climate change, citizen initiatives and related issues. The full program line-up is still in the works, but you can expect films like A Plastic Ocean, a documentary that covers the efforts by journalist Craig Leeson, free diver Tanya Streeter and an entire team of scientists and researchers to uncover truths about plastic pollution and solutions that are actually working; Cowspiracy, which explores how animal agriculture is impacting the environment; and The True Cost, which exposes the repercussions of fast fashion.

Singapore South Asian International Film Festival (Sep 1-10)

This 10-day festival shines the spotlight on South Asian cinema, showcasing films that will give audiences an insight on the many perspectives of South Asian diaspora. They've also split up the list of feature films, shorts and documentaries into two parts—Competition, where various films will vie for an award; and Showcase, which is self-explanatory. Look out for critically acclaimed films such as 1980 Bollywood classic, Alberto Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai, which will kick off the festival on Sep 1. Besides the films, the festival will also be hosting a slew of workshops, master classes, panel discussions and live performances at various venues across Singapore.

A Design Film Festival (Oct 20-29)

This is one of the more stylish (remember how sexy the tickets in past years were?) and highly anticipated film festivals in Singapore, which focuses on films that reflect the current landscape of design across various creative disciplines. While details are still being sorted out as we speak, a quick check on their Facebook page reveals titles of films that we can expect in Oct like Dries, a biopic of fashion designer Dries Van Noten, REM, which offers an insight into the life of celebrated architect Rem Koolhaas and the Southeast Asian debut of Hanzi, a film about modern Chinese typography works from director of Design & Thinking and Maker, Mu-Ming Tsai.

Perspectives Film Festival (Oct 2017)

Apart from all the major film festivals that'll be happening in the months to come, another one that has always stood out is the annual Perspectives Film Festival, which is run by undergrads from Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. There are no details yet, but they'll be celebrating their 10th anniversary come Oct, so you can expect a possibly even more fantastic selection of films this time round.

Singapore International Film Festival (TBA)

Southeast Asia’s longest-running international film festival returns for the 28th time, acting as a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their work on a more regional level. Details on the films that'll be featured this year won't be out till much later, but if last year's is any indication, the festival will probably take place at the end of Nov, or the start of Dec. There's currently a call for entry for shorts and feature films, which will end on Aug 21. Look out for updates on their Facebook page and website.