A short-film competition that’s treading new ground

By Jessica Teh

“I feel like a Hollywood star already!” I exclaimed to my photographer friend who was effortlessly snapping away pictures of me parading  amidst the glitz and glamour of one of the ciNE65 interactive sessions, a local short-film competition organized by Nexus Singapore which provides film-makers a platform to tell their Singapore story.

With a dazzling array of glamour lights paired with the unmissable splendor of the red carpet, GV Great World City was transformed into a prestigious cove for film-makers and enthusiasts in light of ciNE65’s showcase of the Audience’s Choice Best Film event. Earlier this year in July, Nexus launched the inaugural ciNE65, a short film competition that encourages Singaporeans and those living in Singapore to make films that encapsulate the Singapore spirit. The word “cine” means film while the number “65” connotes all things Singaporean – from Singapore’s year of independence in 1965 to its international dialling code (+65). This competition encourages aspiring film-makers to tell what the Singapore story means to them.

Held on the 28th of October, ten aspiring filmmakers were given a chance to showcase their films and what it means to them to be Singaporean via their shortlisted film submissions.”Most of the young ones are running away from this country,” said Zur, one of the finalists who crafted the story for his film based on his observation about the exodus of youth to countries abroad. A similar stance was reiterated by Ivan Tan, director of Long Ride Home who added that, “It’s not only about what I’ve felt, but it is a relevant issue that a lot of young Singaporeans have left this country for better options elsewhere.”

Apart from dealing with tumultuous story-lines and nerve-wrecking deadlines, Zur and his four colleagues admitted that their biggest challenge was dealing with the unpredictability of Mother Nature. “ You never know when it’s going to rain. A slight change in weather can affect the production schedule for the day. Reading the weather is probably the toughest thing we’ve had to do.”

Testing as it might have been, five of them share a laugh when reminiscing about the good times and the bad. The built up excitement didn’t fizzle out at the entrance. It seeped into the cinema hall with great rounds of applause by friends and family who came to support their loved ones with popcorns and nibbles in hand.

For all 10 finalists, it has been a long journey in the making. From limited budgets to one day casting calls, it was evident that all teams present shared profound mutual respect for each another with the exchanging of comments and compliments.

Although this might be a maiden festival for ciNE65, it has, in fact, grabbed the attention of both aspiring and professional film-makers, with a promise of unveiling Singapore’s next breed of film-makers.

“The scene will grow and we are definitely certain about that,” comments Zur with a reassuring smile.