To talk about heritage in such a young country like Singapore seems somewhat pretentious. Yet, in a fast economy like ours, where an ever changing landscape and a recent loose immigration policy have the danger of diluting or even destroying what little we own, it is with much urgency that our heritage, however young, be preserved before it is lost forever.
I do not know my heritage and I really had no interest in it. My chief purpose of attending the screening was that I suddenly had an unusual free Saturday afternoon, plua I wanted to support two friends who were co organizers of this event. Am I glad I went, for I was given a wake up call on the poor knowledge I am lacking about my own country. I believe I am not the only one.
There were eight finalists in the 2016 competition which was curated into this movie, each which was given 10 minutes of screen time.
The screening started with Singapore Icons In Pop Culture by Humble Productions. The documentary features five companies who revolutionize what iconic objects represent Singapore, and it’s not the Merlion. Instead, the humble ang ku keuh (Red Tortoise cake) has been made into keychains, cushions, magnets and various touristy souvenirs by these companies. Tee-shirts which shout Huat and kueh tutu (another pastry) souvenirs are commonplace items which are found to be dear to Singaporeans that are uniquely us.
Preserving Art by Rise Pictures is another documentary which is about amateur Chinese opera groups which are sprouting up island wide. An aunt of mine is part of one such group, thus I have special fondness for this. Plus, I am always in awe of seniors who spend their time pursuing their passions.
Retrospection by Shutter Speed Crew captures the nostalgia of film photography, which is still being practiced.
I especially enjoy the animation Curry Fish Head by Hommade Animation, which tells the story of a girl growing up in a kampong to her adulthood in modern day Singapore. The stunning artwork flows so naturally from one to the other that it is no wonder it won the second runner up.
My friend’s production (Blacspice Films) won the first runner up for The Old Voices. The story, was the other rare film, among the documentaries, which was told as a creative non-fiction story. It tells of an old man suffering from demantia who listens to radio stories that has been extinct.
Cassette by Cassette, a quaint very short clip, brings back nostalgia for those who used to record their own playlist from radio.
Transcend in Heritage by Team DKX is a documentary about puppetry in Singapore. The dying art form is being revived by paper Monkey Theatre and I hope to catch the actual act.
The winner of the competition is Art of Singapore by Project Unsung Heroes, which is a clip from a series from Project Unsung Heroes that was commissioned for SG50. The documentary showcases the art of Mr Ang Hao Sai, the last movie painter in Singapore.
At the end of the screening, there was a question and answer session with the organizer and three of the finalists.
The competition was judged by a panel of two film makers and two heritage experts, thus giving equal weightage to artistic film style and heritage content.
This anthology has been circulating around the island and the next screening will be at the Art House on 25 Mar, Sat, 3pm. Please support it.
Kindly register your attendance at http://houseparty-filmdialogue.peatix.com/