All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)

It’s undeniable how much love Singaporeans have for the big screen. Whether it’s for Hollywood-approved favorites like A Quiet Place and Black Panther, indie greats like Get Out and Call Me By Your Name (finally an award at the Oscars; read our review here), documentaries like Villages Visages and Icarus, or even animation films Coco and Loving Vincent, we can’t help but lug our butts to the theaters to break away from the occasional Netflix binge. If you’re out for a good film or 10, there are a number of festivals happening right now to check out. 

Stories That Matter 2018: Borders (Mar 16-Apr 29)

, All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)
I Am Not Your Negro

Not all films are just about entertaining. Enter Stories That Matter; an annual program held by Objectifs to address critical issues through both film and photography. This third edition’s theme is borders, tackling matters of physical, social and political borders that both define and restrict communities, and laying out on the table possible ways of collaboration and change. Apart from exhibitions and seminars, this program will also be screening Singapore premieres of five documentaries such as the 2017 Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro, the award-winning Taste of Cement and more.

Voilah! French Festival Singapore’s French Animation Programme (Apr 21-29)

, All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)
Fantastic Planet

French animation works may not have garnered the same global appeal the way Japanese anime has, but they’ve definitely gained a following over the years, thanks to a couple of works that have now gained “cult” status. As part of the on-going Voilah! French Festival Singapore, the organizers have teamed up with The Projector to bring you classic French animation films like A Cat in Paris, which follows a the secret life of a Parisian cat; Persepolis, a minimalist-noir, coming-of-age animation of a young girl set during the Iranian Revolution; sci-fi flick Fantastic Planet and more.

Polish Film Festival (Apr 26-29)

, All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)
Breaking The Limits. Photo credit: R. Palka

Every now and then, a full, extensive festival dedicated to sharing various cultures from around the world pops up, and we’re down for it. The second edition of Poland Shiok! Festival marks Poland’s 100th year of independence, so you can expect a myriad of events dotting the island, including a four-day film segment. Take a look into the lives of Polish people at the inaugural Polish Film Festival, co-presented by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and The Projector, through notable films like Breaking The Limits, which is based on the true story of former drug addict turned Ironman Jerzy Gorski; United States of Love, a tale of four women breaking out of their unhappy circumstances, and more.

Singapore Chinese Film Festival (Apr 27-May 6)

The sixth edition of the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, a joint program organized by Singapore Film Society (SFS) and Centre for Chinese Studies, Singapore University of Socail Sciences (CCS@SUSS), returns with a whopping 58 films in total across four main sections: Chinese Panorama (narrative feature films), Documentary Vision (documentaries), Chinese Shorts Showcase (short films) and a Tribute to Leslie Cheung (four films to pay homage to the man himself). Highlights include Manfei, a biopic documentary on the late Taiwanese dancer and choreographer Lo Man-fei that will kick off the festival; Inmates, a five-hour magnum opus that delves into life in a mental institution in Northeast China (it won Best Documentary at the 54th Golden Horse Awards) and an animation shorts segment. The films will be screened at Golden Village Suntec City and VivoCity, Capitol Theatre, The Projector, National Museum of Singapore and LaSalle College of the Arts.

Singapore International Festival of Arts’ (SIFA) Singular Screens (Apr 28-May 11)

, All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)
A Man With Integrity (Lerd)

SIFA returns for its 41st edition, marking a change of guard at the helm as Singapore Repertory Theatre director Gaurav Kripalani takes over as festival director. And among the hundreds of events scheduled is the pinnacle performing arts festival’s film series, which will see one Asian premiere and 12 Singapore premieres curated by Asian Film Archives. Each of these films celebrate the independent voices around the world and the power of the individual, and professes a love for cinema, providing unique cinematic visuals and narratives. Opening the festival is A Man With Integrity (Lerd) by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, who’s known for socially and politically charged works. The film follows a man living the simple life by minding his own business an tending to his goldfish farm in northern Iran, but unfortunately faces the threat from the growing power of corruption in the area.

Peroni Sunset Cinema (May 2-13)

, All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)

The highly successful outdoor cinema series that debuted last year on Tanjong Beach is back for another run. Once again, Singapore’s first-ever silent cinema event is promising “award-winning films, sunsets, DJs, bars, food stalls, deck chairs and friends”. This is where you’ll probably want to catch award-winning and -nominated films of the year on the big screen. The gates open at 5pm for you schmooze and booze before films like Steven Spielberg-directed historical political motion picture drama The Post, the fantastical The Shape of Water and more are screened.

European Union Film Festival (May 10-20)

, All the film festivals happening in Singapore right now (and beyond)
The Divine Order

More than 20 European films showcasing the best of contemporary European cinema will be screened at National Gallery Singapore. This festival, back for its 28th run, will showcase Austria as the featured country and will open with Fly Away Home, a 2016 Austrian drama epic based on the novel of the same title by Christine Nostlinger. The film is set in Vienna at the end of World War II and shows us the capital through the an innocnet nine-year-old girl. And keeping with the long-standing tradition of collaborating with a Singapore film school, the festival will be partnering with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s prestigious School of Film and Media Studies to present a couple of short films by students and their alumni—each of which will be presented just before the screening of the festival’s official selections—like Boo Junfeng’s Un Retrato De Familia (A Family Portrait) and Kirsten Tan’s Ten Minutes Later.