Singapore film Here selected for 41st Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes

MUMBAI: Singapore continues its showing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival with Here by Singapore filmmaker and visual artist Ho Tzu Nyen selected for screening at the 41st Directors’ Fortnight section, which is known for selecting cutting-edge films with an original directorial style.

As a first-time feature film director, Ho is also eligible for the Camera d’Or (Golden Camera) award, a distinction for best first feature film in any one of the Cannes’ selections – the Official Selection, the Directors’ Fortnight or the International Critics’ Week.

Ho Tzu Nyen, who is both the scriptwriter as well as the director of the film, said, "Here represents a cinematic amalgamation of my interests and experiences in painting, conceptual art and sound art. I believe it to be a new kind of Singapore film – a total sensorial experience that is hopefully also a head-trip."

The film is supported by the Singapore Film Commission’s (SFC) 35mm Fulfillment Fund, which helps local filmmakers defray the costs of converting the digital version of their film to a 35mm print master, a format required by the Festival.

Singapore Film Commission director Kenneth Tan and Media Development Authority of Singapore COO said, "Singapore films have been gaining traction in the international markets over the last few years. Our varying styles and genres have been featured at Cannes every year since 2005, presenting our young filmmakers with a valuable launch pad for their international film careers. I am confident that local filmmakers such as Ho will continue to make their mark around the world."

Here is a co-production by Canada’s gsmprjct media and M’GO Films and Singapore’s Akanga Film Asia, Oak3 Films and Tzulogical Films. The film was shot entirely in Singapore across 11 days in a former mental hospital. It tells the story of a middle-aged man who struggles to make sense of his reality following the sudden death of his wife. The protagonist of the film, played by lead actor John Low, is selected to undergo a mysterious treatment known as the ‘videocure’. While undergoing treatment, he learns a profound lesson about love and fate. HERE’s screening at Cannes will mark the film’s world premiere while the theatrical release in Singapore is scheduled for June this year.

Ho Tzu Nyen added, "Here is both a love story, and also a story about the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea of ‘Amor Fati’ or love of fate – in which the test of an affirmative life is that of someone who is willing to live his life over and over again, without making a single change."

Ho will join a delegation of film companies and directors led by MDA and SFC to the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Market (Marche du Film) from 13 to 24 May 2009.