Singapore Worldwide Movie Pageant (SGIFF) has retained banned movie #LookAtMe in its official choice, regardless of the very fact it can’t be screened within the nation.
Directed by Singapore filmmaker Ken Kwek, the movie was handed a neighborhood exhibition ban final week on the grounds that “it denigrates a non secular group and has the potential to trigger enmity and social division in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-cultural society”, in response to a joint assertion by the Infocomm Media Improvement Authority (IMDA), Ministry of House Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Tradition, Neighborhood and Youth (MCCY).
The movie centres on twin brothers, one homosexual and one straight, whose lives are upended when one posts an irreverent video lampooning the homophobic pastor of a right-wing church.
“There’s something defiant and virtually brazen about Ken Kwek’s model of cinema and #LookAtMe may be his most confrontational but,” mentioned SGIFF programme director Thong Kay Wee. “This distinction provides to the lexicon of latest Singapore cinema and deserves to be witnessed by a neighborhood viewers for everybody to type an opinion about.”
Nevertheless, SGIFF’s printed programme – made out there at a press occasion to launch this yr’s line-up – states there’s “no screening out there” for the movie.
Produced by Eko Footage, the function acquired its world premiere on the New York Asian Movie Pageant (NYAFF) in July the place it proved one of many buzz titles of the occasion and acquired a particular point out for the efficiency of Malaysian-born, US-based actor Yao (aka Thomas Pang) who performs the twin function of dual brothers.
“#LookAtMe is at coronary heart a narrative a few household’s love,” mentioned director Kwek. “Sure, it appears at LGBTQ rights and depicts a fictional spiritual chief who behaves hypocritically, however it additionally explores many different themes, akin to cancel tradition and social media extra.
“The movie is finally a piece of fiction and I believe a lot of the Singapore viewers is mature sufficient to grasp this. After all, I would favor if folks had been allowed to look at the movie and make their very own judgments about it or select to not see it in the event that they really feel it’s not their cup of tea. Sadly, that’s not going to occur as we’ve determined to not enchantment the ban.”
The movie’s manufacturing staff had beforehand deliberate to submit an enchantment in a bid to overturn the ban. However after studying extra concerning the IMDA appeals course of, which features a $355 (S$500) price, they selected to not problem the choice.
Regardless of the native ban, the movie’s pageant run continues and it’s scheduled to display screen at upcoming festivals within the US, Australia and Thailand.
Kwek has beforehand skilled censorship in Singapore. In 2012, his brief movie anthology Intercourse.Violence.FamilyValues was banned for holding racial content material. Nevertheless, the ban was later overturned and given an R21 ranking. The 45-minute featurette ultimately opened in native cinemas and performed for 15 weeks.
Kwek’s debut function, hostage thriller Unfortunate Plaza, premiered at Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant and opened SGIFF in 2014, marking a primary by a neighborhood movie.