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20/20: Temasek short film project kicks off, asks questions about Singapore’s future

Can humans and robots co-exist in peace? What if one could replace painful memories with happy fantasies at the flick of a switch? Anchored on the theme of “Beyond 2020”, the highly anticipated second season of 20/20: The Temasek Short Film Project officially premieres today (30 May).

This season sees some of Singapore’s brightest filmmaking talent bring to life themes such as tech disruption, social resilience and environmental degradation, after almost a year of scripting, filming and production.

The result: 16 short films produced and directed by tertiary students from LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Technological University, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic, as well as an Open Category for young working adults.

The official premiere of Temasek 20/20 follows the sneak preview of four music videos produced by secondary school students earlier this month, featuring the original theme song “We’ll Be Okay”.

“We are immensely proud of the 20 groups of young filmmakers and the work they have produced this season. Their films are proof that young Singaporeans think actively about our collective future, and desire to be part of the nation-building conversation. Through Temasek 20/20, we are committed to providing Singapore’s next generation of filmmakers with industry exposure of the highest professional standards, and a key platform to establish themselves,” said Stephen Forshaw, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Temasek.

As with the previous season, Temasek collaborated with Singapore-based film production company mm2 Entertainment, who oversaw the filmmaking process alongside 10 acclaimed local directors.

Project participants were guided and mentored by the likes of Boo Junfeng, Michelle Chong, M. Raihan Halim, Ervin Han, Eric Khoo, Ong Kuo Sin, K. Rajagopal, Kirsten Tan, Royston Tan and Wee Li Lin.

Said acclaimed local film director Boo Junfeng, who is returning to Temasek 20/20 as a mentor for the second consecutive season: “I am glad Temasek 20/20 is back with a second season and I get to work with younger filmmakers on their projects. Over the course of being a mentor, I have discovered fresh voices and new perspectives in our burgeoning film industry. It has been a fulfilling journey.”

"20/20: The Temasek Short Film Project is about nurturing aspiring young filmmaking talent. It is therefore most gratifying to see more renowned local directors coming onboard in this second season to guide and mentor the next generation of filmmakers, and to see these filmmakers stretch themselves creatively to tell stories about issues close to their hearts" said Ng Say Yong, Chief Content Officer, mm2 Entertainment.

Inspired by Singapore’s relentless development, the young filmmakers explored tech-oriented topics such as the displacement of cash and artificial intelligence replacing human companionship, as seen in CA$H and Old Friend respectively. Other short films offered bold ideas and fresh perspectives that challenged societal norms, such as equal rights for all regardless of sexuality in Declaration, and the addiction to social media in 2.0.

Taking part in Temasek 20/20 for the first time is veteran film director, Raihan Halim, who mentored the filmmaking groups from Singapore Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic.

He said, "I am excited for the world to see the work these students have produced. They were unafraid to challenge societal norms to bring to life their vision, and I am proud of what they have accomplished in the process. It was my privilege to mentor these aspiring filmmakers, and Singapore should continue embracing the passion and creativity that so many of these young individuals possess.”

The young at heart amongst the public can join the Emoji Storytelling contest on Temasek 20/20 Contest, where they can win attractive prizes each week from 31 May to 25 June by summarising the short film(s) using emojis. They can also ‘collect’ bonus emojis by taking part in short quizzes, and sharing the films on their social networks.

From 20 to 26 June 2018, shoppers can also experience ‘live’ the magic of movie-making at the Temasek 20/20 pop-up Cinema House at B4 ION Orchard. Visitors will have the opportunity to recreate their favourite scenes from the short films and music videos, create their own GIF animations, immerse themselves in a cryonic simulation, and win attractive prizes from the Temasek 20/20 Box Office.

Films from 20/20’s first season in 2016, which were themed around local philanthropic causes gathered over a million video views and garnered invitations to participate in international film festivals; I Believe screened at the AS Film Festival in Italy, while Mother was featured at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival in Canada.