Dear Puttnam School of Film,
What a joy it has been to partner with you for this year’s 22nd European Union Film Festival in Singapore.
Just a little bit of FYI background before we begin to reflect on the joyous bits: the European Union Film Festival is the second oldest film festival in Singapore. It returned to Singapore for its 22nd installation from the 10th to the 20th of May this year. But work had begun way back in January. Traditionally the Festival is co-organised by the European Union Delegation to Singapore , and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union of that semester. Just like your College academic calendar, a year in the European Union is organised into two semesters – but for us, Semester 1 is January to June, and Semester 2 is July to December. For the 1/2012 semester this year, Denmark held the Presidency.
So in early January 2012, the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore and the EU Delegation made a trip to your LASALLE Campus to explore a possible partnership. What a beautiful campus! We met with the Head of the Puttnam School of Film, Mr Gisli Snaer. Our choice for shortlisting the Puttnam School as the official film school partner for this year’s EUFF was clear from the beginning. Urban (true) legend has it that the film students are highly aspiring, critically reflective and vastly creative – they represent the type of characters we know the youths will need to lead the future in their own special way. Mr Snaer was also enthusiastic about the various ways PSOF could support the EUFF and in return, how the EUFF could engage his students, and widen and deepen their experiences and exposures. Back in our offices, we watched the DVDs of the Diploma and Thesis films (what fun jobs we have!). What we saw reinforced our decision – the Puttnam School and the Festival are on track for a beautiful partnership.
So the three parties got busy. PSOF supported the EUFF in many ways, for which we remain grateful. First, PSOF provided us with the 15 short films’ titles and details (ratings, names of cast and crew, running time – all of which were important to be included in the EUFF’s publicity materials). One of your lecturers Sean Ashley spent his weekend converting the films into Blu-ray format – poor thing! The films ranged from 11:08 minutes (“Wild Dogs”) to 22:32 minutes (“Labour Day”), and were all previously produced as part of the assessments for course work. As organisers of the EUFF we got to watch these films first! When we were done, we could not wait to get them out to the mass audience!
Throughout the months leading up to the EUFF, it was hectic. PSOF engaged with the EUFF in various ways. It provided the EUFF with the venue for the Media Preview on the evening of 12 April, where exclusively-invited arts and entertainment journalists and bloggers flocked the Screening Room for a sneak preview of the British submission, “Trishna” (with support from the British Council Singapore.
During the Opening Night on Thursday, 10 May at Golden Village VivoCity, Mr Snaer also delivered an introductory remark to explain PSOF’s involvement as the selected film school partner for this year’s EUFFand introduced the award-winning short film “Hentak Kaki” to the audience. Three students – Widya Chen, Shane Mok and Khusoiry Misuary – also generously volunteered their help around the cinema during the Opening Night (thank you!). Some of the Puttnam School students attended the gala, and listened as their Head of School spoke positively of our partnership (happy to know the feeling was mutual!) and watched “Hentak Kaki” on the big screen of GVMax hall– before the 2010 award-winning Danish film “In A Better World” was screened (The film had won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 83rd Oscars, and the same award at the Golden Globe Award 2011). We think everyone had fun that evening! It was memorable.
We will also not forget to mention that PSOF also provided some indirect support and introduced us to the very talented Mr James Khoo and Ms Alicia Lim, alumni of the School, who under the banner of their new film setup, Pangolin Films, produced the official teaser for this year’s EUFF. To do this, they first had to come to the EU Delegation office and pitch their creative ideas to the Meeting of the EU Cultural Committee in Singapore. We forgot to ask James and Alicia how nerve-wrecking that experience must have been! Not surprisingly, the Committee loved their “Snow” pitch, and Pangolin Films started to get busy and delivered the teaser which was used to promote the EUFF. The long and short versions of the teaser are available on www.euff.sg and also on YouTube.
All in all, judging from ticket sales, over 1,400 patrons watched the 15 student films. About 330 by-invitation-only guests watched “Hentak Kaki” on the big screen on the Opening Night, and over 100 patrons each watched “Window of Dreams”, “The Red Veil” (including Mr Nicolas Cuche, the director of the 2010 French film, “La chance de ma vie” (“Second Chance”), who flew in for the EUFF), “Outing”, “Spring”, and “Father & Son” [screened with the 2009 Swedish film, Bröllopsfotografen] (“The Wedding Photographer”). In general, the patrons were reported to be deeply impressed by the short films of your very promising students.
In everything we did for the EUFF, we invested extra efforts to ensure that the PSOF’s hard work and achievements were strategically highlighted; and that the cast, crew, and lecturers were rightly acknowledged and recognised for their hard work. The EUFF might struggle to find film schools to fill the big shoes the Puttnam School left behind, but with the abundance of talent in Singapore, the EUFF will somehow find its match in the Little Red Dot. And oh, we also got inSing.com to write about the EUFF-PSOF partnership. Our thanks to Gisli, Charles, Mardhiah and Sean – and all the students and staff of PSOF – for the success of the 22nd EUFF.
Don’t forget that the 23rd EU Film Festival will return to Singapore, again in May, next year. Meanwhile, the EUFF’s permanent website and Facebook page will continue to be (inter)active and serve as a reference point of qualityEuropean films showcased to Singapore.
Thanks again and till next time,
Bernhard Faustenhammer & Angel Lam
Political, Press & Information Section
EU Delegation to Singapore
Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore
Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 1/2012
About the Festival
In summary, the 22nd European Union Film Festival (10-20 May 2012) showcased an increased film participation: last year, the Festival screened 18 films from 18 Member States, while this year, the Festival screened 23 films from 23 European countries (Member States and two non-Member States, Iceland and Switzerland). All the Member States which participated in last year’s Festival returned to this year’s Festival, in addition to new participation from the Czech Republic, Portugal, Romania, and European countries Iceland and Switzerland. The participation of Bulgaria (new), Czech Republic (new), and Slovakia was appreciated as they liaised from their Embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia. The same appreciation goes to Luxembourg, which liaised with its Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
* All images and logo are copyright of the European Union Delegation to Singapore.
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