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Singaporean short films for time-starved millennials: Watch these mini-movies by local filmmakers on YouTube, Viddsee, and more

Singaporean short films for time-starved millennials: Watch these mini-movies by local filmmakers on YouTube, Viddsee, and more

WFH just got better

Text: Simran Panaech

Editor: Crystal Lee


Busy, busy, busy. We always keep busy, don't we? And even if we have to stay indoors nowadays, we're still, somehow, starving for time. If you're not exactly slowing down, or are just bored out of your mind staying at home, show your love for our local filmmakers and artists with this curated list of beautiful mini-movies. They are short so you don't have to invest a feature-length-film time to them. Popcorn?

"The Brown Dog" by Eric Khoo, Jerrold Chong, and Andre Quek

Inspired by the true story of "Captain Hook", a young puppy is abandoned by his owners in an empty, isolated street. He struggles through harsh elements when finally, Cathy Strong, who runs an animal shelter, finds the puppy at the brink of death. The film is based on the true story of Cathy Strong. Cathy's encounter with the puppy reminds her of what inspired her to start Animal Lovers League (ALL) with Mohan Div.

Home to about 500 dogs and cats, ALL consist of vagrant strays, abandoned, traumatised, abused, and rescued animals. A strictly no-kill shelter, the animals are up for adoption by loving and committed families. To support the continuing care for these animals, you can donate here.

This film is part of 15 Shorts, a campaign launched by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre and local film company Blu3 Asia for Giving SG. Directed by prominent local filmmakers, each film is taken on as a low-bono, non profit passion project for their chosen charity, which viewers can donate to after watching the films.

"Waiting Room" by Nicole Midori Woodford

Set in the 1990s, Waiting Room tells the story of Tommy Yu, a man who opens up his life and home to help those who are all alone in their last hour, as they move from the world of the living to the dead. The film is a poetic reflection on death, and friendship. It intertwines the moments of the dead and the living, by ritualising the day-to-day gestures that Tommy extends as part of his giving, together with the space and time that is inhabited by the people who pass away.

The film was made as a non-profit passion project to support Love & Unity Volunteer Establishment, an organisation that helps the socially isolated and needy elderly. To help fund activities, outings, and pro-bono funeral services for these people, you can donate here.

This film is part of 15 Shorts.

"Thief" by Tong Khoon Mun

Shot entirely on a Huawei P30 Pro smartphone, this film follows the journey of a young boy as he attempts to find ways to cover his pocket money losses without getting caught by his strict mum. The film recently won APAC Best Film and APAC Best Director at the first-ever Huawei Film Awards.

Beating 20 finalists from 107 submissions to the theme of 'Empowering Your Possibilities', the awards was created to nurture a group of talents to explore artistic possibilities in telling great stories with their Huawei smartphones.

"Not The Same" by Chong Wu Koh

Someone is cutting onions when this film plays. Winner of the Viddsee Shortee Award for the month of March, the film is about a family grieving the loss of their grandfather a year after his death during Chinese New Year.

The award recognises the most watched, shared and talked about Asian short film on Viddsee every month. This isn't the only film to watch on this local online video platform. There are plenty others from all over Asia as well as short series to binge on in a fragment of the time.

Temasek 20/20

Supporting local and the youth are great elements to keep our creative industry going. Temasek, a Singapore investment firm, does this with their 20/20: The Temasek Short Film Project. It's a short film series aimed at nurturing the next generation of local filmmakers. It provides 20 young aspiring groups — from secondary school students right up to young working adults — with funding as well as mentorships by some of Singapore's most renowned directors. This year's theme is imagining what lies beyond 2020.

If you care about climate change, watch "Kadal", a film set on Pulau Ubin in 2050 where the increase in sea levels forces its elderly inhabitants to relocate with much hesitation. Another example is "Hungry Ghost", a comedy about the impact on the next generation due to the shortage of food production.

Regardless Of

This anthology of five films — scripted and directed by young students under the guidance of industry leaders — is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between six students, creative agency Tribal Worldwide, production house MLC TV, and the Singapore government. Their titles are in chapters, together with time ranges like 9am to 11am and 7pm to 9pm. The films deal heavily with Singaporean themes — family time, education, public transport, HDB living and the elderly.

Secret to Happiness by Loretta Chen

This film intricately intertwines happiness and tragedy set in the backdrop of the picturesque Kingdom of Bhutan, where its 'Gross National Happiness' has set the tone for finding the meaning of being happy globally. Loretta Chen is an award-winning director, professor and best-selling author with her roots in Singapore and is based in Hawaii.

You'll have to catch this film at a film festival, though, but it's worth a mention. The film is showing at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and slated for the Cannes International Independent Film Festival as well as other film festivals this year. When the international film circuit is complete, the film will be released on YouTube.

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