Happy 50th birthday, Singapore! Since 1965, Singapore has become an international financial hub and gateway to Asia. Singapore has also created a vibrant and active feature film industry with world class talent, backed by the Singapore Government.

On Saturday  31st  October the Monkey Baa Theatre in Harbour Street, Darling Quarter, Sydney, was the venue for the second year of the Singapore Film Festival (SGFF).

The 2015 Festival was curated by  Brandon Hong Kai Jie  with the Festival organiser being  Angela Lee,  Vice President of the Temasek Club.

Brandon chose a highly entertaining range of feature films. On the day, at eleven in the morning, everyone was welcomed by dragon dancers. Screenings, which ran from 12 noon to 7pm, came with goodie bags from the event sponsors.

Time nor Tide – Remembering Lee Kuan Yew, public man, private life, a television documentary about the first and longest-serving prime minister of Singapore.

WAYANG BOY  (2014)  – This was a delightful and entertaining 106 minute family comedy which explored xenophobia through Singaporean eyes. Directed by Raymond Tan, the film told the heart-warming story of a eight-year-old boy from India named Raja (Denzyl Dharma) who has moved to Singapore, but has difficulty making friends at school. Raja finds his passion in performing Chinese Opera, to make new friends.

His Chinese Opera teacher (Law Kar-ying) succeeds in preventing the school’s Chinese opera troupe from being shut down, with a Royal Command Performance in front of an actress who looks nothing like Queen Elizabeth II. This was a genuine audience pleaser.

Set within the 1990s Singapore pop culture, THAT GIRL IN PINAFORE (2013) was a uniquely Singaporean tale, about four teenage boys coming-of-age as well as featuring their love of  “xin yao” Singapore folk song music, music that is all sung in Mandarin.

Directed by Yee-Wei Chai, the film featured a great soundtrack, including English subtitles, with new arrangements of nine famous “xin yao” songs. Another highlight was the delightful theme song The Sparrow with a Bamboo Twig. This movie ticked all the boxes, and the audience loved it.

All in all, a very impressive film festival and hopefully this now annual festival will continue to grow and increase its profile in the years to come.