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Three Singapore films, including a first from NTU, selected for Cannes Film Festival 2019

The films include the first short from NTU School of Art, Design & Media and an animated surreal dark comedy written by Eric Khoo and helmed by Huang Junxiang and Jerrold Chong.

Three Singapore films, including a first from NTU, selected for Cannes Film Festival 2019

Movie still from animated dark comedy Piece Of Meat. (Photo: Finding Pictures)

Not one but three Singapore films will be flying the flag proudly at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, arguably the most prestigious film festival in the world.

Piece Of Meat, an animated short film directed by Singaporean filmmakers Huang Junxiang and Jerrold Chong, has been selected for the festival’s Directors’ Fortnight section.  

Written by veteran Singapore auteur Eric Khoo, Piece Of Meat is one of the 10 short films vying for the €2,500 (S$3,800) ILLY prize.

A movie still from animated satire Piece Of Meat. (Photo: Finding Pictures)

The aim of section, according to Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Paolo Moretti, is “to establish new directors and new types of film in Cannes” and “to showcase brilliant and visionary works”.

Singaporeans who previously showed their films at Directors’ Fortnight include Khoo in 2005 with Be With Me as well as Anthony Chen with Ilo Ilo in 2013. Chen historically won the festival’s coveted Camera d’Or that year.

Animated over a two-year period, Piece Of Meat is a cutout stop-motion animation featuring anthropomorphised objects representing Singaporeans, with its story centred around – get ready for this – a lamb cutlet trying to make ends meet.

But the origins of this satirical dark comedy date back three decades, starting out as an idea conceptualised by Khoo.

The Piece Of Meat crew from left to right: co-director Jerrold Chong, writer Eric Khoo, co-director Huang Junxiang, and animator Mark Wee. (Photo: Finding Pictures)

Huang told CNA Lifestyle that the team cannot wait to see the audience's reaction to the animated film. "Most importantly, it's great that it was such a smooth collaboration between Jerrold and myself," he said. "And I am glad Eric's vision is on screen! We're glad that the cutout animation style worked well for the story, highlighting our present-day relationship with materialism and images." 

"I’m just so happy that a heartfelt idea I had close to 30 years ago has finally been realised in the good hands of Jerrold and Junxiang," Khoo told CNA Lifestyle. "They have crafted an amazing short that I’m extremely proud of. It’s wonderful to be back in Cannes!"

Piece Of Meat has also been selected for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, one of the most acclaimed animation film festivals in the industry. It will compete under the Annecy’s Short Films Perspectives section, where the film will be eligible for the Jury Award and the Le Cristal d’Annecy (Best Short Film), both of which are Oscar-qualifying awards.  

The other two films representing Singapore in Cannes are feature film The Women and short film ADAM.

ADAM is the first film from NTU School of Art, Design & Media (ADM) to compete in Cannes Cinefondation.

Directed and written by Lin Shoki, a fourth-year digital filmmaking student from ADM, ADAM tells the tale of a young boy with a turbulent family life trying to find his place in the world.

Selected for the Cinefondation Atelier section, The Women is a co-production between Singapore film company Potocol and Myanmar's One Point Zero. Helmed by producer Jeremy Chua, the feature film tells the story about a group of women in Myanmar struggling to survive while working menial jobs and realising their biggest problem is about the lack of rights.

The 2019 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 14 to 25 in the south of France.

Source: CNA/gl