Singapore may be small, but we are a nation burgeoning with talent! So, what better way to celebrate our uniqueness and verve than with a film (or two!) that celebrates the best of local cinema?
While we’ve always had a complicated history with the arts, there’s no denying that local films are making their mark here and abroad with their daring vision and alternate, experimental story lines.
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One of these films is Anthony Chen’s acclaimed new release, Wet Season, which stars Yeo Yann Yan and Koh Jia Ler as a teacher and student who form an unlikely friendship.
We had a chance to speak to Yann Yann about the film and here’s are some excerpts from our phone interview with the acclaimed actress:
You recently won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards (an accolade that many liken to the Asian Oscars). How did this make you feel?
“I won Best Supporting Actress there in 2013 for Ilo Ilo and it was very dreamy the first time. I learnt a lot more from my experience this time because I’m older now and more mature so I was able to absorb more. This time there was also a round-table talk with my fellow nominees and the audience so we were able to talk about the process of learning about a character. It made me feel less lonely knowing that everyone puts their heart and soul into their work. I met women there – my co-nominees- who inspired me with their work ethic and their passion.”
What did you feel when you won the award? Did you expect to win?
“Honestly, being at the Golden Horse Awards and being asked to present, I was very wary. The presenting was the most nerve-wracking part for me, not so much receiving my own award. You see, because I’m an actor, I usually stand behind the character so to stand on stage as myself was scary but I wanted to challenge myself and that’s also why I agreed to give a TED Talk on performing. As for Best Actress, I didn’t have time to celebrate getting this achievement much because we had so much publicity to do and travelling for press for this film. When I did think about the award I thought ‘It’s about the job, not about me’ until a friend of mine reminded me that I should be celebrating this moment that many people wait their whole lives for.”
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Why should Singaporeans watch Wet Season? What about it will resonate with the audience you think?
“The movie has already been to more than 10 film festivals around the world and even sold out in some places. We’ve had many foreign audiences that love the film but truly, Wet Season will have the most recognisable moments for Singaporeans so I hope that Singaporeans will watch it because the message is touching: No matter how tough the situation you find yourself in is, don’t forget the sunshine in your heart. I’m so glad that the film is making people believe in the light again. Human emotions don’t really differ wherever you are so this film affects everyone.”
How do you feel about getting the Inspiring Woman in Film award at SGIFF this year?
“It’s the first time I’ve gotten an award for my body of work. It was very heartfelt, and I’m very honored to receive this award. I’ve never expected myself to be an inspiration for anyone. I’ve very lucky that I get to be part of an art form that can inspire people. This award shows people the possibility of growth as an actor in Asia.”
Ready to explore other films that give us a slice of Singaporean life? Here are some films that everyone on the Little Red Dot must watch to get a sense of what it means to be a true local: