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New Citizen Cinema programme for local filmmakers to get a special chance to screen their productions in public

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By Phyllis Lee/

The Freedom Film Festival (FFF) is back for its sixth year in Singapore – with a new incentive programme in store for local filmmakers.

Titled Citizen Cinema, this programme seeks to invite members of the public to submit film productions that highlight social, cultural, political and environmental issues within the nation.

The makers of the top three films will win $500 each, and a compilation of the best film entries will be screened during the FFF held at The Projector in Golden Mile Tower on 12 November. This means that in the end, those who prove their filmmaking capabilities will still be able to use the festival as a platform to get their name and work out in the public – even if they don’t win the prize award.

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The FFF is an annual human rights film festival that originated from Malaysia in 2003. Since 2012, local civil activist group Function 8 Limited has been partnering up with the festival to bring it to Singapore.

Each year, the festival screens about 30 selected local and international films, but the number of submissions for Singapore films have always been low.

Mr Tan Tee Seng, who is a part of the festival’s local organising committee, said: “What we really want is to give a platform to local filmmakers (for them to) try to make stories that are beyond the capabilities of a software. Basically, we’re talking about real stories.”

Tan revealed that Function 8 Limited has been providing a grant of $5,000 for local filmmakers to produce their submissions since about three years ago. However, this initiative still did not push up the entry figures for local films.

“Even if we provide a grant, there are no Singapore film submissions. In another year, the submissions were (of such) poor quality that they [the Malaysian administrators] did not think anyone deserved a chance,” he shared.

Despite the poor response, the local organisers decided to take it to the next step to encourage local filmmakers through Citizen Cinema. Although the details of the programme were only released on Thursday (17 August), there have already been several individuals contacting Tan to express their interest in it.

When asked if there is a target number of submissions he would like to hit, Tan said: “We would be very happy if this programme can yield 10 submissions. For those who are deserving (of the opportunity), even if they don’t win, we will still try to give them a screening opportunity.”

“Not many filmmakers have an opportunity to screen (their productions) to the public. We’re putting it up at The Projector for them, so it is a good platform,” he continued.

Indeed, this is a good time for local filmmakers to showcase their abilities – so send in your submissions before 30 September! For more details about the submission, click here.

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