Every year, The Singapore Women’s Weekly gives prominence to 18 distinguished and powerful women who are successful in their own right as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet Emily Hoe, Great Women Of Our Time 2020 Arts & Media nominee, and the executive director of the Singapore International Film Festival.

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Meet Emily Hoe – Great Women Of Our Time 2020 Arts & Media Nominee

Not many people can say that they started a new job in the middle of a pandemic, and yet for Emily Hoe, this was the case. As an experienced arts manager, Emily Hoe’s step into the Executive Director of the Singapore International Film Festival was widely publicised. 

Having always been interested in the creative side of things, Emily’s accomplishments in the arts industry began in 2007 when she started at The Substation, then the Esplanade. “I’ve been in the arts since 2007. I started with the Substation which is very multidisciplinary and we had film programmes. So film isn’t something that is very new to me.”

“I think that film is a fabulous medium to tell stories. There are many, many different ways that you can tell your story or someone else’s story. There’s different formats, different genres, and different impacts that you can make on people.”

Having always been interested in the creative side of things, Emily’s accomplishments in the arts industry began in 2007.

For Emily, who believes that film can be a powerful medium to tell stories, she shares “I can be a bit of a crybaby when it comes to films. I cry at TV commercials occasionally. So for me, film can be something transformative. It can just unlock emotions and that array of emotions can obviously be really really wide. It can cause you to question whether that is questioning yourself or the environment around you. Questioning your beliefs. If those questions then inspire conversation, then I think that is an even more positive impact that the film can make. It can educate, it can inspire.”

As she sees it, film allows a kaleidoscope of perspectives. It opens up our minds to see how someone else views the same thing. There are so many different ways that we can view film and feel the emotional power of film, and the breadth of how it can touch someone is boundless. 

“And then if you happen to be in an actual cinema with people who have all decided to go and watch this film for whatever reason, there’s that kind of shared sense of community that you’re all going through an experience together. Even if you’re viewing it on your own, there is still that sense of community as you have people around you that are laughing at the same or maybe different things sometimes. I think that feeling of community is really strong and we can see that is shifting into the digital space with watch parties and conversations that happen around watching a film even though you might be separated by distance. We’re still brought together in a digital space which is quite heartening.”

Film and other creative mediums have become even more of a necessity during a pandemic. In a time of isolation and distance, many have come together in desperation for the comfort that art can bring. Musicians are live-streaming concerts from their homes, museums are creating video tours to simulate the experience virtually, and film is just another means of connection. 

Emily Hoe great women of our time
As the Executive Director of the Singapore International Film Festival, she hopes to expand on the work to reach an even wider community and continue instilling a love for film within the community.

For Emily, though Circuit Breaker measures were announced the day after she began her role at Singapore International Film Festival, she steadied herself through the unprecedented start. “When it comes to change, my philosophy is that you should worry about the things that you can change and not the things that you can’t change. I do tell that to my daughter because she sometimes gets worried about things that you can’t really do anything about. So what you can do is think about maybe if you were in the same situation what you would do differently? You can’t go back and change the past, but you can learn.”

“Having a support network has helped me too. Just recognising that sometimes you are going to need help. And if you’re like me you might not want to ask for help but sometimes you’ll just have to step out of your comfort zone and do that. You should not be ashamed of that at all and just recognise that this is just the situation and you need to continue to roll forward.”

The Great Women Of Our Time Awards 2020 is brought to you by the presenter, Lancôme.