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These festivals prove now is a good time to be a film lover in Singapore

Take a break from Netflix

By Adam Kerr | Oct 20, 2017

  • These festivals prove now is a good time to be a film lover in Singapore
    "Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back", A Design Film Festival 2017

With all that Netflix and the digital world have to offer, it can seem very pointless to catch a film in theaters these days. But there’s a kind of romanticism and spectacle that cinemas have to offer that sitting in your PJs at home while eating takeout can never replicate. So why not give your laptop a break and head out, because there are so many festivals with great selections just waiting for you to discover.

Painting With Light (Oct 7-29)

The National Gallery Singapore is putting the art of film (very meta) in the spotlight with an international festival of over 30 films on art. Painting with Light will showcase award-winning feature-length and short films exploring the multi-sensory medium of art that's been divided into four sections to reaffirm the role of art in the human experience. Tickets are $10 for feature films, and free-of-charge for shorts.

Our pick: The Space In Between, a part-documentary, part-video installation following the intriguing experiments of performance artist Marina Abramovic, who tests the limits of her body in her art

Monaco Film Festival (Oct 14-22)

Asia's first Monaco Film Festival will feature a total of 13 films across various genres ranging from comedy to drama to thriller at Alliance Francaise de Singapour and Capitol Theatre. Feast your eyes on the second smallest country in the world (Singapore is #19) and all its glamor, rich history and breathtaking scenery at this festival, which will leave you wanderlusting for a trip to the crown jewel of the French Riviera.

Our pick: Hors de Prix, a cute lil' rom-com about a young gold digger who mistakes a shy bartender for a wealthy millionaire, only to completely fall head over heels for him later

Fade In/Fade Out (Oct 14-29)

Relive Asian tales that reflect the power of human imagination through films from the 1960s to 2000s about deities, mythical creatures, superstition and the supernatural at the fourth edition of Fade In/Fade Out, a collaboration between the National Library Board and Asian Film Archive. The screenings are all free, though limited seats are on a first-come-first-served basis.

Our pick: Medium Rare, Singapore's first full-length English film that's loosely based on the horrendous ritual murders by Adrian Lim back in the early '80s

Objectifs Women in Film (Oct 19-28)

Initiatives like this are needed for to give women filmmakers the attention they deserve. Back for its third edition, the showcase continues to serve as a powerful hit back at the patriarchy, highlighting the career highlights of Kiki Sugino, as well as a selection of six feature-length and five short-films from Europe, the U.S. and Singapore.

Our pick: Snow Woman, a film based on an ancient spirit of the same name that's popular in Japanese folklore, which Kiki Sugino directs and stars in

Perspectives Film Festival (Oct 20-22 & 26-29)

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. They’re back for a super-sized 10th edition showcasing a total of 11 films—three of which are Singapore debuts and another three are restored classics—across seven days with a special fringe event on Oct 15 where they'll be screening virtual reality short films to allow filmgoers a new way of experiencing stories. Each of the films explores the theme of rebellion; the kind that goes against social norms or defy institutional systems and go on to inspire the world with their ideas.

Our pick: The Lure, a bizarre yet immersive musical horror film inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's original The Little Mermaid

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. Now in its seventh edition, the festival will be screening a total of 10 films at Capitol Theatre, all focusing on the current outlook of the design world and ranging from disciplines like acrchitecture and contemporary art to fashion and music. Tickets are $15 each.

Our pick: You're Soaking In It, a Black Mirror-esque eye-opener which blows the top off the advertising world, unveiling the information gathering techniques in the digital age and a disturbing side of it you never knew you were a part of

Cartoons Underground 2017 (Oct 21)

Kult Kafe's hosting the sixth edition of Singapore's largest independent animation festival, and see three films win the Golden Durian award for best film, best director and best Singaporean film out of the 13 on this year's line-up.

Our pick: Poles Apart, an animation film set in the Arctic landscape featuring a hungry polar bear who's caught in the dilemma of befriending a Canadian grizzly bear or eating it (fun fact: it was produced by Singaporean Low Ser En and won the McLaren Award for Best British Animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival)

German Film Festival (Nov 2-12)

The 21st edition of the German Film Festival, presented by Goethe-Institut Singapore, continues to focus on films that confront contemporary issues and universal message, showcasing more than 30 that span across genres of art-house, comedy, documentary and even music. 

Our pick: Western, the festival's opening film that addresses narratives around prejudice, language barriers and cultural differences; all set in the region between Bulgaria and Greece

French Film Festival (Nov 9-19)

The French make films like they make their wines—with finesse, and attention to detail. Organized by the French Embassy, Institut Francais Singapour and Alliance Francaise, this edition boasts 16 French comedies, dramas, thrillers and biopics that flaunt the diversity and artistry of French cinema.

Our pick: Ce Qui Nous Lie, a melodramatic film about a family of siblings who are forced to rediscover one another when they're tasked to see out the grape harvest after their father passes away 

Singapore International Film Festival (Nov 23-Dec 3)

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 should be out anytime now. Look out for updates on their Facebook page and website.

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