By Tiffany Gwee
‘Wukan: After the Uprising’ is a 4-part documentary that tell the amazing story following the village’s success when it overthrew its corrupt leaders and held democratic elections in early 2012. For over a year, local filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong dedicated their time to document Wukan’s situation after their victory.
No Explanation for the Delay
It was originally supposed to be screened in the upcoming Chinese Film Festival and the currently ongoing Southeast Asian Film Festival. Both festivals had sent their invites months ago. However, due to the Media Development Authority’s (MDA) delay in giving the film a rating, it will not be included in the line-ups anymore. Filmmaker Lynn Lee added, “MDA has neither issued a rating nor given a reason for the delay.”
Lynn also mentioned that she is “not entirely sure what (MDA’s) stance is” towards film restriction in Singapore.
Confused and Disappointed
When asked about her feelings towards this delay, she said that they find it “extremely puzzling”. “Our film has screened at festivals all over the world. It would be disappointing if we don’t get to show it in Singapore.”
With regards to how Singapore can achieve a more open and creative film industry in Singapore, she commented that “more transparency would be great”.
Amid the uncertainty that Lynn and James are facing due to the delayed rating for their documentary, there are instances of films which are banned overseas that are screening in the Southeast Asian Film Festival. Thai filmmaker Ing Kanjanavanit’s movie ‘Shakespeare Must Die’ is going to be screened in the festival despite it being banned in its home country due to its implications with Thailand’s political scene.
Supportive of Singaporean Directors and Filmmakers
Unfortunately for local filmmakers Lynn and James, they can do nothing but wait for MDA’s official release of the rating. Even then, the film will no longer be screened for the Southeast Asian Film Festival. Miss Lynn Sim, an organiser of the Southeast Asian Film Festival told TOC that the organisers did invite Wukan: After the Uprising to screen at the festival. They “are always very supportive of films and documentaries from Singaporean directors and filmmakers”.
Miss Sim wrote, “Due to the delay in the rating, we have decided not screen it this time as we have insufficient time to announce it as part of the festival line-up. We would certainly like to screen it in the future if we are able to.”
‘Wukan: After the Uprising’ recently premiered at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and also won a ‘Special Mention’ at the Dubai International Film Festival. It also won first prize at the Human Right Press Awards in held in Hong Kong.
The first episode of the TV version of the documentary can be found here