FANS of contemporary Chinese cinema will have plenty to look forward to at the inaugural Singapore Chinese Film Festival (SCFF).
The 10-day event will run from April 26 to May 5 and feature as many films - all premieres - from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China directors, a handful of whom will drop by to engage local movie makers in public dialogues and to attend post-screening Q&A sessions.
The festival is a collaboration between the Singapore Film Society and SIM University's UniSIM Centre for Chinese Studies.
Screenings will take place at Cathay Orchard Cineleisure and The Arts House's Screening Room; the talks will be held at The Arts House's Living Room.
Kicking things off on opening night will be 10+10, an omnibus of 20 short films made by a host of popular and upcoming Taiwanese directors, such as Hou Hsiao Hsien (A City of Sadness), Sylvia Chang (20 30 40) and Arvin Chen (Au Revoir Taipei). The ensemble cast includes the likes of Shu Qi, Kwai Lun Mei and Leon Dai.
Among the visiting filmmakers are Chinese directors Wang Jing and Hao Jie. Wang Jing won critical praise for his bleak drama Feng Shui which will be screened; Hao will present his sexually frank black comedies Single Man and The Love Songs of Tiedan. The latter stars his wife Ge Xia, who will accompany him and take questions about her role in the film.
Unlike a typical film festival, SCFF's selection is not just limited to arthouse fare. Also in its line-up are accessible, youth-oriented Taiwanese movies, such as the hit coming-of-age flick Jump Ashin (starring heart-throb Eddie Peng) and romantic comedy Cha Cha for Twins.
Professor Eddie Kuo, director of UniSIM Centre for Chinese Studies at SIM University, said of the diverse range of works to be screened: "These films differ in styles, content and even accents in their Mandarin, but nevertheless are stories of Chinese societies and cultures; their stories are different, yet they share common roots."
Kenneth Tan, who chairs the Singapore Film Society, said: "Singapore has had quite a number of country-themed film events in which some superb Chinese films have been screened, but this festival is the first of its kind to bring together such a representative cross-section of many works across genres, generations and boundaries."
He added: "The Chinese Film Festival will serve to raise awareness of and appreciation for the Chinese language and culture for society at large; it should foster a better understanding of the cultural diversities among the different Chinese communities."