To accompany the making of CIVIC LIFE: TIONG BAHRU, Dan conceived and produced the short film competition WHERE THE HEART IS, in which Singaporeans were asked to make 90 second short films about places that mattered to them.
Run in collaboration with DepicT!, a programme strand of the UK’s leading short film festival Encounters, the competition was met with a terrific response. More than 150 films were submitted, resulting in a quirky, heartfelt and beautiful portrait of Singapore’s landscapes, both physical and emotional.
After long deliberation, The Jury decided unanimously to award THE JURY PRIZE to Isazaly Mohamed Isa’s CORRIDOR.
Says TIONG BAHRU director Christine Molloy, “I feel CORRIDOR is hard to beat in terms of a response to the brief we set – a very evocative, creative and playful response indeed. It covers nostalgia but in the most captivating way.” Nicholas Chee of Sinema echoed this sentiment: “CORRIDOR…embodies the essence of what you can do with a film in 90 seconds – Tell me a story by bringing me into your world.”
Isazaly was born and raised in Singapore, completed his foundation studies in the arts at LASALLE College of the Arts in 1990 and continued his passion in filmmaking in Kuala Lumpur. He is currently freelancing and provides his editing and motion graphics skills, to both the Singapore and Malaysia television industry. Isazaly’s prize was a 6 day visit to the Encounters Short Film Festival in Bristol, where CORRIDOR played alongside TIONG BAHRU for its first UK screening.
Over the ten days of voting for THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE, more than 5,600 votes were cast, with all films receiving wide support, and being viewed more than 22,000 times in total. The overall winner was Prashant Somosundram for his film paying tribute to the migrant workers of Singapore, WHEN THE DAY BEGINS.
In addition to the overall winner of The Jury Prize, two films receiving special praise from the jury: Stephane Lasserre’s meditation on the en-bloc phenomenon, WHERE THE HEART WAS, and Tang Kang Sheng’s rawly emotional REMEMBER.
Christine Molloy: ‘WHERE THE HEART WAS‘ is not only a beautiful and evocative film, it is also political, suggestive of the bigger, more contentious issues that define people’s relationship to place in Singapore. Again, of all the submissions covering that kind of terrain it was easily the strongest in our minds.
Joe Lawlor: “Employing a family album of evocative photographs, REMEMBER skilfully attempts to reach back into a personal history. The effort to reach back is both courageous and illusive. Illusive, because for all their resonance the photographs aren’t enough. Something more is needed. Words. And not just any words, but words which conjure up a specific place. REMEMBER is a thoughtful reflection on the tension that exists in all of us. The tension between who we are now and where we have come from so that we may better forge a future for ourselves. What made this film so strong for us is that the narrator recognises how both the past but also specific places mark us and how place is central in that act of remembering.”
The winning films in both categories and the Special Mention films in The Jury Prize strand played alongside a selection of films from the competition, accompanying the screenings of TIONG BAHRU at the National Museum of Singapore in October 2010.
The Top 19 films from the competition were screened at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2011, in a special series of open air screeings in Martin Place, and at the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of State in Perth in 2012. All 19 were also featured on the CIVIC LIFE: TIONG BAHRU DVD.