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Controversial Singaporean filmmaker Ken Kwek, whose last movie was banned in the Southeast Asian city state, has had his latest feature, Unlucky Plaza, passed by censors and the movie will be the opening film of the Singapore International Film Festival in December.
A black comedy about a down-on-his-luck Filipino immigrant who takes a group of prominent Singapore residents hostage, the movie has been given an M-18 rating, a Singaporean classification which restricts admission to viewers over 18.
Kwek’s 2013 satire Sex.Violence.FamilyValues was banned by Singapore’s Board of Film Censors and by the Malaysian government. The decision caused public outrage, prompting censors to reverse their decision, after Kwek made substantial cuts.
“I’m delighted that the film will be shown at the SGIFF, whose organizers have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. I’m relieved about the M-18 rating, too, and earnestly hope the authorities will stick to their decision this time,” said Kwek.
SGIFF executive director Yuni Hadi said opening with Unlucky Plaza was a sign of SGIFF’s commitment to the local industry.
“We’re honored to have the film kick off the festival, and play our part in promoting a Singapore film that we can all be proud of. We hope that as we continue to grow with our industry, an occasion like this will not be a rarity,” she said.
Unlucky Plaza, which is based on a true story, features Filipino actor Epy Quizon (Pinoy Sunday), Singapore’s Adrian Pang (The Blue Mansion) and stage and TV actress Judee Tan in her feature debut. The film was written and directed by Kwek, who also produced with Leon Tong and Kat Goh.
Media Luna has world sales rights to Unlucky Plaza and the company’s Ida Martins said the feedback had been very positive: “There are a few offers on the table already, but what is most important to me is to succeed in finding a theatrical distributor in Singapore. The censorship decision will be a great asset in making this a reality.”
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