Personal short films win local competition
Film-makers from local production studio and NTU win cash prize and trip to Busan International Film Festival
Mr Sufyan Sam'an's maternal grandmother is Chinese but was raised by a Malay family.
At the age of 70, she reunited with her birth mother, in 2014.
His family history inspired Mr Sufyan and his colleagues from local production studio, The Flying Kick Asia, to go outside their corporate video comfort zone and attempt a short film about interracial families.
Their film, The Red Packet, nabbed Overall Best Film in annual local film competition ciNE65 IV's Open Category.
The short film also beat 36 other entries to win Best Direction for Mr Sufyan.
Themed Home Truly, this year's competition encouraged film-makers to reflect on what makes Singapore a home for future generations.
The competition received a total of 103 film entries.
Mr Sufyan,32, said: "I did not imagine that this simple and innocent film would be nominated, much less win the competition. I am thankful for the recognition."
The Red Packet tells the story of a young Malay boy who offers a Hari Raya greeting upon receiving a hongbao during a Chinese New Year gathering, much to the adoration of his Chinese grandmother, who shows that her love for him is not based on his skin colour or religion.
The producer, Miss Chng Ying Tong, 25, told The New Paper: "The creative freedom was refreshing and liberating."
The team's aim was to celebrate Singapore's multi-racialism by showing how people can participate in each other's festivities, which are not restricted by race or religion.
"Interracial families and relationships are Singaporean experiences,"said Miss Chng.
In the student category, Mr Jeth Heng and his team won Overall Best Film for #12-99.
It follows the tale of a Singaporean woman who opens her home to a duped Chinese foreign worker.
The third-year student, who is majoring in digital film-making at Nanyang Technological University, wanted to combat negative attitudes against migrant workers.
Said Mr Heng, 25, who directed the short film: "We should try to understand our foreign workers' problems. They are like fish out of water and vulnerable. So until we relate to how they feel, they will always remain strangers (to us)."
Both teams won cash prizes and a trip to the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea in October.
There, Miss Chng met Miss Bianca Balbuena, an established producer from the Philippines who showed Miss Chng that "there is no logistical problem too hard to solve" through her vast experience in producing feature films.
Mr Heng was inspired by the independent film-makers he met at the event to continue making films despite "Singapore's small film industry".
He said: "Their passion does not reflect how financially insecure they are because typical monetary considerations don't daunt them.
"This has given me hope as a film-maker, and I have to push myself by using new approaches and perspectives for my future films."