Singapore sending five Pusan's way


SINGAPORE -- A record five films from Singapore will screen across sections at October's Pusan International Film Festival, the Media Development Authority of Singapore said Wednesday.

The slate includes Royston Tan's "881" and Tan Pin Pin's "Invisible City," both of which premiere internationally at Pusan.

"881," a musical about two childhood friends who grow up mesmerized by the glitter and glamour of the local "getai" stage, already has earned S$3.4 million ($2.3 million) at the Singapore boxoffice, making it this year's top-grossing Asian film. The film has been running in Singapore since August.

Tan's feature screens in the newly introduced Gala Presentation section alongside Hou Hsiao Hsien's "Flight of the Red Balloon" (Taiwan), Im Kwon Taek's "Beyond The Years" (Korea) and Lee Myung Se's "M" (Korea).

Anthony Chen's "Ah-Ma" (Grandma), which received a special mention in the Palme d'Or Short Film Award at this year's Festival de Cannes, screens in PIFF's Wide Angle-Asian Shorts 1 category.

"Invisible City," a documentary about fading parts of Singapore's history, screens in the Wide Angle-Documentary Category.

The other two films are Ekachai Uekrongtham's "Kuaile Gongchang" (Pleasure Factory), which screens in the Midnight Passion section, and Lume Kan and Loo Zi Han's "Solos," unspooling in the Window on Asian Cinema category.

The MDA also said that Xie Dong's "Knife," a Singapore-Thailand-China collaboration by LeBrocquy Fraser Prods., was one of 35 projects officially selected for the 10th annual Pusan Promotion Plan.

The high-definition film is the story of an outcast soldier who rescues his daughter from a city gang.

The PPP, held in conjunction with the Pusan International Film Festival, is a project market for the latest Asian independent film projects and gives promising directors and producers a change to explore opportunities with potential co-producers and financiers.

"This is a bumper year for Singapore films," said Man Shu Sum, MDA director of broadcast and film development and director of the Singapore Film Commission.

"To date, 10 Singapore-made films have been released in the cinemas, with at least three more to be screened by the end of 2007. This compares to an average of five films per year for the past five years," Man said.