Another way to #SupportLocal is to watch the films made by our local filmmakers. Whether you love Jack Neo’s ‘Ah Boys to Men’ film series or Golden Horse award-winning film ‘Ilo Ilo’, or even if you call ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ our own, there are many films out there made by Singaporeans that we can and should be proud of.
If you are not sure where to start, Viddsee is a good online platform that features a whole lot of short films by filmmakers around the region. Alternatively, check out 15 Shorts, which will be screened on meWATCH from 19 May 2020.
15 Shorts is a collaboration between the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and Blue3Asia that see 15 local filmmakers and online creators coming together to tell the stories of real Singaporeans.
This is a part of Mediacorp’s ongoing ‘Lights. Camera. Singapore’, an initiative to champion Singapore storytelling by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans.
Based on real-life events, this series of films uncovers the stories of a lesser-told side of Singaporeans from the 1970s to the 1990s. Some of the profiles include pioneer architect Tan Cheng Siong, Sister Gerard Fernandez who was a pioneer in death row counselling, journalist Augustine Pang and more.
Get inspired and motivated by the 15 film directors who provide an alternative perspective to the nation-building narratives of the era.
View the episodes from 19 May here.
(Tan Jianhao with Ridhwan Azman)
Uncle Choo spots a young Majid practising football and is struck by the teenager’s passion. The film is inspired by legendary coach Choo Seng Quee who groomed football greats including Majid Ariff. The latter, in turn, inspired a new generation of footballers including Fandi Ahmad.
(Tan Wei Ting with Kirsten Tan)
Tan Cheng Siong believed in the potential of a vertical kampung in Singapore, where a ‘C’ shaped high-rise building could foster a sense of community. This film tracks the pioneer architect’s journey with Pearl Bank Apartments, from its very start to its final days when the development was finally sold. Now at the age of 83, Tan Cheng Siong continues to combat social isolation with architectural solutions that are inclusive and community-oriented.
(Jerrold Chong, Andre Quek with Eric Khoo)
A brown dog, with a severed foreleg, struggles to survive amidst a harsh cruel human world. Inspired by true events, this is the story of how Cathy Strong, the co-founder of Animal Lovers League, discovered her calling for saving animals in need. Cathy’s encounter with the puppy reminds her of what inspired her to start Animal Lovers League, which she co-founded with Mohan Div.
Geetha is a hotline counsellor for Tinkle Friend which reaches out to young children in Singapore. Her story intertwines with a primary school boy Ravi who is left at home by himself. The film is inspired by the volunteers behind Tinkle Friend, a helpline for primary school-aged children.
Yunying, a Chinese-speaking housewife, is diagnosed with breast cancer and worries about the consequences on her family. Mandarin teacher Hedy is a recent breast cancer survivor who is unexpectedly given an opportunity to help other women. Their two paths cross.
The film is inspired by the volunteer who initiated the Breast Cancer Foundation’s Mandarin Support Group to help women who had challenges accessing healthcare information communicated in English.
News reporter Augustine discovers that an injured migrant worker has been left for dead by his employer in a forest. At a time when stories on migrant workers were untold, Augustine challenges convention in the newsroom.
This film is based on the true story of Augustine Pang and other Singaporean journalists who covered the plight of migrant worker Mohd Bashar. Their stories prompted an outpouring of donations and gifts to Bashar.
Don is a 15-year-old delinquent who is beyond parental control. Almost everyone has given up on Don, including Don himself. Inspector Chia is a police officer who deals with secret societies and juvenile delinquents. Will he see the good in Don? Or is his compassion misplaced?
The film is inspired by the true story of Inspector Chia Hwa Tong who, apart from his police work, was known by members of the public for going beyond the call of duty and for his remarkable service to youth.
Teresa Hsu was the founder and matron for Home of the Aged Sick, one of the first homes for the sick elderly in Singapore, until she was made to retire at 85. Renowned as Singapore’s own “Mother Teresa”, this short film charts her life’s turning points following retirement and what shaped her relentless story of giving.
At the height of the AIDS scare in the 1980s, health worker Iris arrives at a HDB flat, introducing herself to a family as the younger son’s counsellor. The son is afraid and ashamed of his condition, and the family would like to be discreet.
This film is based on the true story of Iris Verghese, who counselled numerous AIDs patients and their families. Her actions were courageous at a time when there was much fear and stigma around the condition.
(Chong Yu Lun)
A jaded salaryman, Kelvin lives a separate existence from his cheerful condo security guard Shanti. But a devastating illness forces Kelvin to make a promise that will change both their lives. The film is inspired by the true story of Kelvin Lee who helped a family in need. He received the Good Neighbour Award from Sembawang GRC in 1999.
Abandoned by his father, Aaron, a 17-year-old boy, is left in debt and homeless, together with his mother and younger sister. They are forced to live in a tent at East Coast Park. Aaron’s world is shaken after he meets a suspicious man who claims to want to help his family.
This film is based on the true story of Rashid Bakar who made the news in 2000 for housing homeless families in his one-room flat. As a child, Rashid had lived alone on the East Coast of Singapore, sleeping in boats and surviving on scraps for two years
(Chai Yee Wei)
Roman Catholic nun Sister Gerard Fernandez became a death row counsellor after Catherine Tan was sentenced to hang. Catherine Tan was one of the two holy wives of the infamous Adrian Lim – a spirit medium whose outrageous story of sex, rituals and rites shocked the entire nation.
Sister Gerard visited and counseled Catherine every step of the way – until Catherine walked to the gallows in her final moments.
This film is inspired by Sister Gerard Fernandez, who was a pioneer in death row counselling. She co-founded the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry. When asked why she counsels doomed prisoners, her answer is always: “The condemned need hope. We may condemn them, but God condemns no one.”
The Buddy tells the story of 8-year-old Hidayat, who is tasked by his teacher to be a buddy to his isolated and erratic classmate, Tam. The two develop a close bond, eventually making a decision that will change Tam’s life forever.
This film is based on the true story of Nurhidayat Hamid, who attended Ping Yi primary school in the 1990s. He embraced and guided an autistic classmate at a time when there was little understanding of the condition. Hidayat was the inaugural winner of the first-ever Readers’ Digest Youth Kindness Award.
Rosie Wong, a blind woman, shares a retrospective account about the three lives which shaped her life. Taking inspiration from ‘The Giving Tree’, her life is significantly changed by a kind stranger, Pak Cik Tubi Moh Salleh, who helped her get to work everyday for 5 years. Pak Cik Tubi continued this good deed for the next few years, tirelessly helping Madam Rosie. For his kindness, Tubi won The Straits Times Courtesy Search in 1990.
(Nicole Midori Woodford)
Tommy opens up his life and home to those who are alone in their last hour, as they move from the world of the living to the dead.
This film is based on the life of Tommy Yu. A former hooligan, Tommy found joy helping and befriending old folks. Today he runs Seng Xiang Services, which performs pro-bono funerals for those who die alone. He has been volunteering with seniors for the past 30 years.