What is it about?

What does winning international film awards mean to Singapore film directors and Singapore cinema? Focusing on how the Taipei Golden Horse Awards (GHA) is variously understood by Singapore filmmakers, this article examines the implications of film festivals and awards for the ‘Singapore new wave'. How does GHA perceivably shape filmmaking and the way filmmakers understand issues of identity, language, prestige, cultural sensibilities and Chinese privilege? Based on interviews with ten Singapore directors and a producer-film festival director, media reports, film reviews and social media posts, I demonstrate that the supposed prestige of GHA is fraught with conflicting understandings of ‘Chineseness’, impartiality, inclusivity and credibility. For a sovereign country with a high ethnic Chinese population like Singapore which claims a national identity that is multilingual and multi-ethnic, at stake are the problematics of Chinese geopolitics and the linguistic-cultural practices of exclusion when it comes to GHA nominations and wins.

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Why is it important?

The Taipei Golden Horse Awards is under-researched and this is a full-length article that examines its relationship with Singapore cinema and directors. It is undoubtedly one of the most significant film awards in Chinese and Sinophone cinemas, and finding out what Singapore fiilmmakers thought about this institution offers an excellent opportunity to rethink Singapore cinema and is a precursor to a future project that explores the perspectives of Mainland Chinese film directors who hold the institution in high regard, even with the recent fallout between China and Golden Horse Awards.

Perspectives

I enjoyed writing this piece as it enabled me to find out what Singapore film directors think about international film awards, and not least the issue of (Singapore) Chinese privilege which has emerged in public discourse in recent years.

How Wee Ng
University of Westminster

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This page is a summary of: Taipei Golden Horse film awards and Singapore cinema: Prestige, privilege and disarticulation, Asian Cinema, April 2020, Intellect, DOI: 10.1386/ac_00015_1.
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