Friday, March 5, 2010

The Asian Film Archive turns five

The Asian Film Archive, based in Singapore, turns five years old this year.

It's celebrating this weekend. Very short notice I realize, and I'm sorry I didn't pick up on this earlier, but tonight the Archive has organized Short Films from Asia, a screening at 8 at the University Cultural Centre Hall, National University of Singapore. They'll show Butterflies Have No Memories (Walang Alaala Ang Mga Paru-Paro) by Lav Diaz, Lost in the Mountain (Cheopcheop Sanjung) by Hong Sang-soo, Everyday Everyday (Mei Yi Tian Mei Yi Tian) by Tan Chui Mui, A Letter to Uncle Boonmee by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Block B by Chris Chong.

On Saturday, there's the Save Our Film Campaign Finale, with video projections, film-trivia quizzes and DVD giveaways running from 1 to 5 along Orchard Road. The Save Our Film campaign to celebrates Singapore's and Asia's rich film heritage and aims to raise awareness of the need to save it for our future. Watch the YouTube clip to find out more.

Also this weekend -- and now (facepalm) I'm really sorry I didn't see this sooner or was alerted to it -- I might have arranged for a vacation and re-entry visa so I could fly down: Media Fiesta: The Spectaculars. Seven Singapore films from the 1950s to '70s will be shown today and tomorrow at the Cathay Cineplex: Our Sister Hedy, Bionic Boy, They Call Her... Cleopatra Wong, Mat Bond (Mr Bond), Mambo Girl, Air Hostess and Sumpah Pontianak (Curse of the Vampire). Sigh. I'll probably die before I get to see the likes of Cleopatra Wong, Bionic Boy and Mambo Girl on the big screen.

Next Saturday, March 13, it's Spotlight on NUS Alumni Filmmakers, with a screening of Flooding In the Time of Drought by Sherman Ong and White Days by Lei Yuan Bin. These are two recent highly experimental feature films that represent a bold new direction for Singaporean cinema. You can meet the filmmakers and pick their brains in a panel discussion. Both digital productions, they are preserved with the support of the National Archives of Singapore and will be projected from the digital servers of ACDN. Admission is free, courtesy of the NUS Centre for the Arts and NUS Office of Alumni Relations. The shows start at 2 at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House Auditorium at National University of Singapore.

These are fantastic opportunities to celebrate Asian film and highlight the cultural importance of film preservation.

Update: Cleopatra Wong and Bionic Boy director Bobby A. Suarez, aka "George Richardson", died on February 8. Also, here's an interview with Cleopatra Wong herself, Doris Young, aka Marrie Lee.

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