Frame By Frame

Interview by Elizabeth Tan
Photographs courtesy of SGIFF

If art is said to be more than a mirror to life, film should be more than just a projection. Perhaps one event that has faithfully documented the little changes our nation has witnessed over the past few decades is the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF). Now into its 25th year, SGIFF is the nation’s largest and longest running film festival.

A platform for young creatives and visionaries to showcase and hone their talents, the festival gives voice to marginalised views otherwise thrusted to the fringes of society. It also nurtures a growing community of budding filmmakers, film critics, artistes, and film lovers in general. Much like many other arts festivals, SGIFF  has not been without upheavals in its journey. Curious to better understand the intriguing world of film, we chat with Yuni Hadi, the executive director of this year’s SGIFF on the milestones we have crossed, and what we can look forward to in the future.

What is it like being executive director for Singapore International Film Festival this year?

It’s such a privilege to be back working for the Festival. Much of my career has been about promoting Singapore films and film literacy so this is an extension of the things I believe in. One of my favourite moments this year was meeting our Honorary Award recipient, Korean master Im Kwon-taek who has made 102 films. He’s amazingly humble and still so curious about life. I’m looking forward to his first visit to Singapore.

You guys went on a hiatus in 2012, and relaunched again last year. Now that you’re onto your second year since the resurgence, how have things changed?

We’re deeply moved and encouraged by the support of the local film community who really want to have a film festival for Singapore again. In addition, the Southeast Asian film community has also expressed their excitement (since they heard about the news) for our return.

So, how do you curate the films? What would you say is the direction for this year’s film festival?

The one thing a festival can offer that is special is the talent from its own country. And for us, understanding how we can play our part in promoting local film talents is key. Creating opportunities for discussions, cultural exchanges and networking opportunities helps play a part in connecting the wider Asian and international film community. There are so many films a year, every year. The festival’s role is to give context to these films, celebrating both new talents and understanding the past.

Read more in The U Press N˚8 (Singapore edition).