Monday, October 29, 2007

Singapore Dreaming Wins Best Asian/Middle Eastern Film Award in Tokyo

‘Singapore Dreaming’, the feature film by Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh, has just won the Best Asian/Middle-Eastern Film Award at the 20th Tokyo International Film Festival.

The Tokyo International Film Festival is one of the world’s most important film festivals and ‘Singapore Dreaming’ was competing in a category titled ‘Winds of Asia-Middle East’, featuring new films from all over Asia, including the Middle East and Central Asia. Other films in this category included ‘Exodus’ by Hong Kong director Pang Ho Cheung and starring Simon Yam; ‘Breath’ by South Korean auteur Kim Ki Duk; ‘The Wall Passer’ by Taiwan’s Hung Hung; ‘Mad Detective’ by Hong Kong’s Johnny To; ‘Cut and Paste’ by Egypt’s Hala Khalil; and ‘A Few Days Later’ by Iranian superstar Niki Karimi.

‘Singapore Dreaming’ is the first Singapore feature to win this prestigious award. The film has previously won two other major awards: the Montblanc New Screenwriters Award at the 54th San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature at the 30th Asian American International Film Festival in New York.

Directors/Screenwriters Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh were unable to attend the award ceremony in Tokyo as they had to be in Washington DC, where ‘Singapore Dreaming’ is the closing film of the US Asean Film Festival at the Smithsonian Institution, an event partly sponsored by the Singapore Embassy, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Washington Post.

Receiving the award on Woo and Goh’s behalf was Ms. Thong Leng Yeng (Attached photo: Ms Thong Leng Yeng receiving the Best Asian/Middle Eastern Film Award on behalf of ‘Singapore Dreaming’ at the Tokyo International Film Festival), a Monetary Authority of Singapore officer stationed in Tokyo, whose mother Alice Lim Cheng Pheng played the lead role of ‘Ma’ in ‘Singapore Dreaming’. According to Ms. Thong, “The jury said it was an excellent film with familial themes which resonated across borders.”

“The win came as a complete shock,” said Goh. “I learned about it at 5.30 a.m., when the phone rang. I thought, at this hour, it could only be bad news. But it was Alice calling to congratulate us. In my jet lag-addled state, I thought I was dreaming, but it was a dream come true.”

“When we made Singapore Dreaming, we wanted to tell a really Singaporean story, and it’s great to see it has touched overseas audiences as well,” added Woo. “I think this bodes well for all Singaporean filmmakers who want to tell authentic Singapore stories.”

On receiving the news, Singapore Film Commission Director Mr. Man Shu Sum issued a statement saying, “I congratulate the Singapore Dreaming team on achieving this milestone for Singapore film. Their success proves we have talent on par with the world’s best.”

On 9 November 2007, ‘Singapore Dreaming’ will also be the first Singapore film to get a commercial theatrical release in Taiwan since 2002’s ‘I Not Stupid’.

Released commercially in Singapore by Golden Village in September 2006, this family drama was executive produced by Dr Woffles Wu, and stars Richard Low, Yeo Yann Yann, Lim Yu-Beng, Serene Chen, Alice Lim and Dick Su. The DVD of the film is distributed in Singapore by Scorpio East, and is available at all good DVD retailers.

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