Eight Directors Awarded $250,000 in New Singaporean Grant Initiative

The winners of the New Talent Feature Grant include popular Singaporean TV director M Raihan Halim whose debut feature is about a young Muslim girl who secretly takes up professional wrestling.

SINGAPORE—Eight Singaporean directors have been awarded up to $250,000 each at ScreenSingapore as part of the New Talent Feature Grant, a first-time initiative launched by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) to boost the careers of young local directors and foster the development of Singaporean screen content. The directors are to receive less than the $250,000 only if their budgets are lower than this sum.

The eight feature films awarded the funding range from documentaries, thrillers, romantic-comedies and art-house projects, in various languages, including English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Bengali. Of the eight directors, seven will be using the funding to make their first film.

The first-time feature film directors are Ric Aw (Building Waves), Abbas Akbar (Singapooru), M Raihan Halim, (Banting) Jason Lai (Ms J Contemplates Her Choice), Kesavadas S/O Rajagopal (A Yellow Bird), Tan Ai Leng (Sinema), and Tan Pin Pin (Hinterland). Teo Eng Tiong will use the grant to produce his second feature, The Confinement Nanny.

The SFC said the films were selected from a total 25 submitted proposals. “These eight directors stood out for their directing vision and promising scripts,” the SFC said in statement. The SFC also highlighted the project proposal from M Raihan Halim, a popular local telemovie director. Halim will be using the NTFG funding to produce his debut feature, Banting, about a young Muslim girl who secretly takes up professional wrestling. It will be the first feature-length Malay film to be made in Singapore.

According the terms of the new grant, 40 percent of the awarded funds must be used on spending in Singapore. Under the NTFG, the directors will have full ownership of the intellectual property of their films.