Twenty-nine years on, the Singapore International Film Festival remains a highlight in the local arts calendar. This is no easy feat, considering the evolving tastes of cinemagoers everywhere.

One highlight during the annual film event is the selection of Asian titles which showcases the dynamic creativity of filmmakers around the region. From award-winning independent productions to daringly experimental works, there is no time better to be proud of Asian films. Here’s a look at five gems screening at the 29th edition of the festival.


Singapore’s Haw Par Villa is the centrepiece of this documentary by director-producer Craig McTurk. What mystery lies behind the grotesque yet surreal Chinese folklore-themed statues?

Come meet Teo Veoh Seng, an 83-year-old gentleman who started out as an apprentice at the park decades ago and marvel at his craftsmanship which brought the uniquely charming attraction to life. The filmmaker and cast will be in attendance at the film’s world premiere to share insights. We are also glad that the organisers added a screening after the first one sold out. 


The late Yasmin Ahmad was an inspiration to many. Her bold handling of social issues made people look beyond race, ethnicity and culture. The 2004 Malaysian film, which is also the first of the “Orked Trilogy”, tells the story of a love that blooms between a Chinese boy and a Malay girl.  

After passing away in 2009, Ahmad’s films like Gubra (2006) and Muallaf (2008) continue to remind viewers about the importance of transcending borders. The cast will be in attendance at the screening to share how the themes explored in the film have become more relevant today.


Adapted from a novel by Tomoka Shibasaki, this Japanese film is a surreal charmer. Things become strange two years after the female protagonist’s first love disappears suddenly, when she meets someone who looks exactly like him but acts differently.

Director Ryūsuke Hamaguchi began his career under the tutelage of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and his latest work was in competition for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The cast will be in attendance at the film’s Southeast Asian premiere.


Through four short films, this title takes a bold look at Thailand’s imagined future. The creative minds behind this production are Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnnon Siriphol and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who are among the most innovative and accomplished filmmakers currently working in Thailand.  

Produced and spearheaded by the Hong Kong team behind the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Ten Years (2015), this production made its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The filmmakers will be in attendance at the film’s Singapore premiere.


India’s official submission to the 2019 Academy Awards sees three teenage friends exploring their sexualities and identities in the shadow of their conservative village’s societal mores.

Director Rima Das’s third feature film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival earlier this year. The filmmaker and cast will be in attendance at the film’s Southeast Asian premiere.

Check out more highlights from the 29th SGIFF!

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