Short film competition asks 'what does home mean to you'

This article mentions and quotes our Founder, Director and Executive Producer Yahssir  M during his interview at the cine54 short film competition in 2014. 

What do you believe in about our home?

This is the question raised to local budding film-makers by organisers of this year's cine65, as a call out for short film submissions. Now in its third season, this short film competition organised by Nexus invites Singaporeans to reflect on their past, present and future as a nation. 

Explaining that this year's theme - "Believing • Home" - was inspired by the pioneer generation, Director Nexus Colonel (COL) Roland Ng said: "Our pioneers believed in Singapore and they have built a very strong country. We wanted... to let film-makers share about what they believe in Singapore, what makes them feel that this place is home, and we hope that the films created… (would) allow others to see Singapore through their lenses." 

Participants can also draw inspiration from three commissioned films by well-known film-makers. Among them is Mr Kenny Tan, the winner of the "Overall Best Film" and "Best Screenplay" in the open category of the second season of cine65. 

For Mr Tan, family was a topic that was close to his heart. "How you get through national service, how you work so hard and bite the bullet... it's all about family. So, I wanted to use this chance to focus and pay tribute to those who matter," said the 32-year-old.

His film Tireless is a tribute to those who have sacrificed tirelessly for the growth and well-being of each individual and the society, such as mothers and healthcare workers.

Fellow commissioned film-makers Bertrand Lee and N. Mohamed Yahssir directed SINGAPURA and Old Kakis respectively. The former sees a young soldier going through emotional turmoil when Singapore becomes under attack, while the latter revolves around two old friends reminiscing about the changes in Singapore since its independence.

Encouraging other film-makers to take part in cine65, Mr Yahssir, 31, said: "It (the theme) brings back nice memories, to (allow us to) go back into the past. It lets (film-makers) explore within themselves."

Similarly, Mr Lee urged participants to just "have fun" in the competition. 
"All you need to do is come up with a good idea, take (your gear out) to shoot, and have fun with it!"

On his own inspiration for his film, Mr Tan explained: "When you think about home, the Singaporean approach is to think about something nostalgic, something very slow. I thought of doing something more visual.

"I asked myself 'what is home', and ultimately, it's a sense of national pride, so (I wondered)... what if we were to lose it, what if we had to defend our national pride? That's how I came up with this storyline."

This year, a new technical award - "Best Documentary" - has been introduced to encourage people to film a real slice of life in Singapore. The award aims to recognise the craft of film-makers who help Singaporeans to reconnect with the past, or bring a fresh perspective to the everyday life of Singaporeans. The winner will walk away with $1,000 cash and $500 worth of equipment product vouchers.

In addition, all participants will get to hone their film-making skills through a series of workshops and seminars held from January to February 2015. These will be conducted by industry experts such as Ric Aw, Pok Yue Weng and Juan Foo.

The competition is open from now to 6 April 2015. The top prize includes a cash prize of $3,000 and a learning trip to an international film festival, among others. 

Prizes aside, aspiring film-makers will get to explore their inner creativity in the competition and enjoy their journey of learning, said COL Ng. 

"What we hope is that, through this theme, film-makers can start to reflect on what they believe in Singapore. 

"They can also approach pioneers or their parents or friends (for their thoughts) and, through artistic creation… tell a story which other Singaporeans may have missed in their daily lives."