Singapore Prize Winners Announced at SGIFF

Five exemplary projects received a prize of up to PS1 million each to boost their work in solving the planet’s key environmental challenges. They were picked from a pool of 15 finalists that included creating a waste-free world, fixing the climate, reviving oceans, and protecting and restoring nature. The winning projects were announced on Tuesday at a glitzy ceremony held in the state-owned Mediacorp Theatre. Britain’s Prince William, a trustee of the Earthshot prize, was among those attending the event.

In the English literary category, organizers say there’s a “special resonance” to this year’s shortlist because many authors are writing about personal relationships amid the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, more than half of the writers on the list are being shortlisted for the first time, including former directors of the Singapore Writers Festival, Yeow Kai Chai and Pooja Nansi, as well as Mok Zining and Daryl Lim Wei Jie.

NUS history professor Hidayah Ibrahim was also on the shortlist for her book Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam. She says the win means that ordinary Singaporeans have important stories to tell. “It is an affirmation that anyone with a passion for history and a lifelong residence in the country can write about it,” she said. The citation for the award, written by academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen, described her work as “a synthesis of history and primary source, thanks to its author’s rich contributions.”

Singapore’s film industry also took home several prizes at this week’s SGIFF. Zukhara Sansyzbay won best performance for her role in the film “Convenience Store.” The jury special mention went to “Arnold is a Model Student,” and the audience choice award was won by the documentary short “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

The winners of the Singapore prize were announced at a glitzy ceremony in the state-owned Mediacorp Theatre, which was co-hosted by actors Sterling K. Brown and Hannah Waddingham, with bands One Republic and Bastille performing. The show was presented by Singapore’s National Book Development Council and supported by the government.

The SGIFF has been running since 1998. The awards have become the region’s premier showcase of Asian talent, highlighting regional films and filmmakers from across Asia. It is supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the Singapore Film Commission. This year, the festival expanded to include a short film category and an open call for filmmakers. The SGIFF is free to attend. More details are available here. In addition, the festival is a platform for global companies to connect with Asian business leaders. It also promotes the value of Singapore’s creative industries and its unique culture. Organizers are now looking at ways to develop the SGIFF into a global event. The organisers will announce plans for 2024 later this year.

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