Winners of Viddsee Juree Awards Singapore 2018: Gold prize, Ler Jiyuan; Audience Choice Award, Xinming Ng; Silver prize, Kaizer Thng
Two outstanding Singaporean short films, ‘The Drum’ and ‘Such Is Life’, were honoured at the inaugural Viddsee Juree Awards Singapore, an initiative that celebrates and supports filmmaker communities in Asia.
Directed by Ler Jiyuan, ‘The Drum’ is a family drama centred around a father struggling with a late-life crisis and a strained relationship with his son. The filmmaker whose diverse portfolio include telemovies ‘Gone Case’ and upcoming HBO Asia Original, ‘Grisse’, said, “I’m proud to have competed amongst such a talented bunch of finalists who have made such good films. I believe our identity lies in the stories we tell; it’s important for us and the younger generation to make films that tell about Singapore in the way that it is, rather than the sanitised version of it.”
Taking Silver was Kaizer Thng, whose 19-minute dark comedy ‘Such Is Life’ is centered around a junior undertaker who learns about the cold business of death from his elder colleague. The graduate of Nanyang Technological University who currently works as a Video Content Strategist for SGAG said, “I hope this award encourages people to do more genre films beyond comedy, like musicals, action films, and period pieces. They’re not easy to make; and for dark comedies, writing jokes in a country with so many laws and restrictions regarding religion and race isn’t easy. It’s difficult, but it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.”
Viddsee Juree Awards Singapore 2018 judges: Bastian Meiresonne, Don Aravind, Elvert Bañares
The winners were picked by a jury that comprises Elvert Bañares, the Filipino festival director of CineKasimanwa: Western Visayas Film Festival; Singaporean screenwriter and director Don Aravind; and Bastian Meiresonne, the artistic director for the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema in France.
The Top 10 finalists of the Viddsee Juree Awards Singapore 2018 with judges (clockwise from left): Shaiful Reezal, Chang Kai Xiang, Syamsul Bahari, Benjamin Low, Matthias Lim, Elvert Bañares, Sabrina Poon, Eleaner Choo, Don Aravind, Bastian Meiresonne, Kaizer Thng, Ler Jiyuan
Gold and Silver winners were awarded film production grants from Viddsee worth SG$8,000 and SG$4,000 respectively, along with audio equipment provided by RØDE Microphones. The Gold winner also won a five-day Global Film & TV Program in Los Angeles sponsored by the Motion Picture Association (MPA). All ten shortlisted finalists received a 12-month Creative Cloud All Apps subscription worth US$560 each from Adobe.
Aside from the main awards, Xinming Ng’s ‘Longevity Peach’ took home the Audience Choice Award, which included an Apple TV, following a two-week online voting period on Viddsee.com.
In the run up to the awards ceremony on August 19 at The Projector, Blue Room, Viddsee held a two-day programme at *SCAPE Gallery that included film screenings and panel discussions about film funding and incentives, content marketing and the changing role of women in film.
The jury on the Viddsee Juree Awards Singapore 2018 winning films:
Gold Award Winner: The Drum | Director: Ler Jiyuan
“For its highly sensible and human portrayal of the revealing of a mid-life depressed man to the true meaning of life; for striking an equal balance between storytelling and technical quality, helping in the wonderful dramatic dramatic dynamics of its pace and internal rhythm, aptly echoing the beats of the drums and the characters in the film.” – Bastian Meiresonne
Read our Q&A with Jiyuan here.
Silver Award Winner: Such Is Life | Director: Kaizer Thng
“For its playful yet sensitive use of death and life as a metaphor to portray domestic relationships in a manner that is unique and different from the usual; and for choosing to tell the story in a manner that involves good use of dark humor equally mixing it with warmth, effectively representing the characters’ inner feelings, nuances and cultural connections.” – Elvert Bañares
Read our Q&A with Kaizer here.
Audience Choice Award Winner: Longevity Peach | Director: Xinmin Ng
Said Xinming: “Making this film made me realise how I never really spent enough time with my grandparents, and I hope it encourages the younger generation spend more time with their grandparents, and understand their ways.”