Singapore Shorts ’23 – Now That’s What I Call Y2K Shorts!: Part 1 (with Q&A session)

  • August 19, 2023 | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM | Saturday
  • Oldham Theatre

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This screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.

The 2000s was a pinnacle period in history. The world was going through massive changes including survival after the 9/11 terror attack, Global Financial Crisis, rise of the internet, and deeper recognition of social issues. Singapore too was having its own awakening with the birth of a “free speech zone” at the Speakers’ Corner, the beginnings of the LGBTQ+ community demonstration event Pink Dot, the SARS outbreak, and the legalisation of what had once been considered risqué vices like casino gambling. As technology leapt forward, filmmakers experimented with digital video recording and dissemination, which continues to advance now more than ever.

Now That’s What I Call Y2K Shorts! showcases a snippet from this whirlwind decade, when a slew of imaginative and wild films emerged, that threw caution to the wind, and captured the chaotic energy of the era.

Guest Programmers

Aishah Abu Bakar

Aishah Abu Bakar is a freelance content manager and film programmer currently based in the UK. As programme manager for the Singapore International Film Festival (20152018), she managed the Asian feature film section, as well as masterclasses and talks. Prior to that, she was the Programme Manager for Moving Images at The Substation (20092014) where she was in charge of organising screenings and related events such as the Singapore Short Film Awards, the Experimental Film Forum, Singapore Indie Doc Fest, and First Take, a regular running local platform for first-time filmmakers. She is  well-versed in the art of producing, having worked in the television and media industry prior to her film career.

Tang Kang Sheng

Kang Sheng is a filmmaker and film researcher fascinated by the fractures within human connections and explorations of the perception of time and memory. He has directed short films that have travelled globally. His most recent film, Back to One, was screened at the Singapore International Film Festival (2021) and won the Special Mention Award at the National Youth Film Awards (2022). 

Taking a special interest in 20th century Singaporean film and television, he is currently conducting research into that era. He was a guest curator for the 4th Singapore Film Festival New Delhi (2020) and is also a film educator, having received an MFA in Film Directing at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

There will be ten short films screened for Now That’s What I Call Y2K Shorts!: Part 1

The Rating for this selection is is PG

Part 1


Cat
Year: 2014
Director: Afiq Azman
Runtime: 2 min
Country: Singapore
Language: None
Rating: PG

Synopsis
A cat sits in wonder and majesty, listening to the humdrum of its surroundings. Amidst the intense noise, can the cat remain stoic? Screened at The Substation’s First Take in 2014, Afiq Azman’s Cat is a meditation on the sounds of the mundane in a regular housing estate in Singapore.

Director’s bio
Afiq Azman is an independent film producer, writer, and director. His documentary shorts have gained recognition on platforms such as Viddsee and History Channel Asia. His narrative works were previously screened at The Substation.

 


Mat Superhero
Year: 2006
Director: Suffian Zain
Runtime: 15 min
Country: Singapore
Language: Malay, English
Rating: PG

Synopsis
An average Joe finds his calling after saving the life of a woman attempting suicide. First screened at The Substation’s First Take in 2007, this hilarious look at everyday people trying to be good samaritans explores the idea of the saviour complex in men.

Director’s bio
Suffian Zain is a content creator and filmmaker. His other films include Tak Dong Cheng (2008), Love In any Genre (2012), and Taragak (2020), which won the Viddsee Juree Award 2021 under the LifeSG category.


Comma
Year: Ezzam Rahman
Director: 2008
Runtime: 4 min
Country: Singapore
Language: None
Rating: PG

Synopsis
Is it possible to philosophise tea-making as an examination of existence? Will tea remain as tea if the vessel is lost? Ezzam Rahman interrogates this notion in his experimental short which became a hot favourite in The Substation’s First Take in 2008.

Director’s bio
Ezzam Rahman is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Singapore. His accolades include the Grand Prize for the President’s Young Talents in 2015, as well as the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council in 2016.

 


Crammed
Year: 2003
Director: Ellery Ngiam
Runtime: 11 min
Country: Singapore
Language: English
Rating: PG

Synopsis
An overworked primary school boy struggles to live up to his workaholic mother’s expectations, resulting in a fatal decision. Made with Ellery’s 24th birthday lottery winnings, Crammed won the Asian New Force IFVA Critics Award at the 2003 Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Festival.

Director’s bio
Ellery Ngiam is an award-winning writer and director. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2000, his other short films include Jia Fu (2004), and Dance of a Modern Marriage (2008).

 


Daddy
Year: 2008
Director: Haidar Afandi
Runtime: 1 min
Country: Singapore
Language: Malay
Rating: PG

Synopsis
In a dark room illuminated by flashes from the screen, we hear a son pleading for his mother to return home. An experimental-style video touching on families separated by working conditions, Daddy was screened at The Substation’s First Take 2010 and competed at the Very Short International Film Festival.

Director’s bio
Haidar Afandi graduated from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media, majoring in Fine Arts and Digital Filmmaking. She has made four short films, including Wedlock (2010) and Sehari Sendiri (2011).

 

Who Loves The Sun
Year: 2005
Director: Chen Hsi Wong
Runtime: 13 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Rating: PG

Synopsis
On a hot summer’s day, three youths find their innocent adventures spiralling out of control, forcing them to question their friendship and to live with the consequences of their actions. A winner at the Malibu Festival of Film, Who Loves The Sun screened at The Substation’s First Take 2007.

Director’s bio
Chen Hsi Wong is an Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media. Her works include the award-winning feature Innocents (2012) and the documentary short Conversations on Sago Lane (2010).

 


Complacency
Year: 2011
Director: Ting Szu Kiong
Runtime: 11 min
Country: Singapore
Language: English
Rating: PG

Synopsis
A man searches around Singapore to find the key to satisfaction in life to appease his unhappy wife. Shot on an iPhone and inspired by the silent comedies of Charlie Chaplin, Complacency was screened at The Substation’s First Take in 2011.

Director’s bio
Ting Szu Kiong is a self-trained independent filmmaker. He has made many short films including My Keys (2007), his debut which was nominated for Best Short Film in the Asian Festival of First Films.

 


Fistful of Yusof Ishaks
Year: 2008
Director: Nelson Yeo
Runtime: 5 min
Country: Singapore
Language: Mandarin
Rating: PG

Synopsis
A son witnesses a confrontation between his father and an assassin sent by his longtime arch-rival. Filmed in sepia tones and seeping with sleepy suspense, this Singapore-style HDB Western in the vein of Sergio Leone was first screened at The Substation’s First Take in 2008.

Director’s bio
Nelson Yeo is a Singaporean filmmaker. Some of his more recent films include Mary, Mary, So Contrary (2019), Here Is Not There (2020) and Dreaming (2021), which was commissioned for the 32nd Singapore International Film Festival.

 


Pirate(d) A Musical
Year: 2008
Director: Shaun Koh
Runtime: 4 min
Country: Singapore
Language: English
Rating: PG

Synopsis
A pirate is bored of the same old songs he listens to on the ship, so he lands on the shores of Singapore looking for new musical inspirations. This campy parody filled with titles from famous rock songs was made for Reel Revolution 2008, a youth film mentorship program by The Substation.

Director’s bio
Shaun Koh is a director, producer, writer, cinematographer, and editor. A graduate from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, he is the founder of T25, a collective of artists experimenting with new and old technology in cinema and photography.

 


Bloom
Year: 2006
Director: Jeremy Sing
Runtime: 4 min
Country: Singapore
Language: English
Rating: PG

Synopsis
Wearing a headdress of flower petals, Rose wanders the streets of Bugis to spread joy and happiness, no matter how funny people think they may be. This whimsical project shot on Super 8 film features some of Singapore’s renowned filmmakers including Sun Koh, Michael Kam, Gözde Zehnder and Yeo Lee Nah.

Director’s bio
Jeremy Sing is in the communications industry and is also the founder of SINdie, a website that covered Singapore and Southeast Asian films. His other short film works include A Wake (2006), The Girl In A Red Sarong (2007) and Moving(2009).

 


For the full Singapore Shorts ’23 programme, please click here.

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