25 winners at 8th NYFA; NTU Art, Design and Media team sweeps 3 awards
‘Dirty Laundry’ was awarded Best Live Action Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director under the Student category.
Student filmmaker Kyaw Shoon Le Yee, 23, held zero expectations when she submitted her final year project film, Dirty Laundry, for consideration at this year’s National Youth Film Awards (NYFA).
But to the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Art Design and Media (ADM) student’s surprise, her team ended up walking away with not just one but three awards – making it the most awarded film at this year’s ceremony.
The short film was the team’s final year project in university. The film, inspired by the Burmese director’s experience of grappling with deeply-rooted misogyny in her culture, was awarded the Best Live Action Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director under the Student category.
Le Yee hopes that her film will be able to inspire fellow women to strive for equality and be true to themselves.
“I just hope that young girls out there are able to fight for what they want and believe … it’s tough to fight against your parents and tradition but try to turn your disadvantage into your advantage,” she added.
The team also revealed to Youthopia that they have received a nomination at the Seoul International Women’s Film Festival. They will physically attend the festival in South Korea.
The NYFA is a national award organised by *SCAPE which celebrates youths who excel in the various facets of filmmaking, from content creation, animation or screenplay writing.
The award ceremony, which is into its eighth year, was held at *SCAPE The Ground Theatre on Friday (Aug 19) and graced by the Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan.
This year’s edition saw a total of 321 submissions. Of these submissions, a total of 25 awards were given out in both the student and open youth categories.
The 13 winners in the student category were made up of students from NTU ADM, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and LASALLE College of the Arts. This also marked the first year where no awards were won by students from the NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information or local Polytechnics.
Members of this year’s jury consisted of distinguished individuals including National Youth Council CEO David Chua and industry experts.
Also awarded in the Student category is animation film Loose Threads. The film won the Special Mention Award.
Director Chayanid Siripaiboolpong, who created this film as part of her school’s project work, took inspiration from her grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
“We wanted to show the struggle of remembering and forgetting…and the bonds between family relationships that we hope remain after memories are gone,” the 25-year-old Animation Art student from LASALLE shared.
“Memories are very intangible and we can only picture it in our head, so animation is a way to bring that visual to life so that other people can see what the character’s struggles are about,” Chayanid added.
Making a comeback is last year’s Open Youth category Best Director Vikneshwaran Silva. This year, he was once again awarded Best Director for his film Altar.
He shared that in the process of creating the film, he “broke many conventional filmmaking rules” in order for his film to stand out.
The film tells the story of a security guard whose sole companion is the altar in his house. All eight scenes of the film were shot in the same angle, but with different lighting, depicting the protagonist’s life through the lens of “God”. It is ultimately this unconventional creative direction which led him to the award.
“I had to keep in mind that I had to engage my audience. So in the edit I felt that I had to do more than keeping to one shot.
“(Since) this film is from God’s perspective, things would not be linear. (I could) fast forward, do overlays and jump cuts,” he explained.
The 34-year-old shared that his entry for next year’s NYFA, which will also be his last eligible film due to the age limit, is already in the works. After which, he hopes to move into creating more films and even venturing into television series.
Another awardee in the Open Youth Category is 35-year-old Yuga J Vardhan. His film, The Sea Between Us, earned him the Best Screenplay award.
According to him, the film intends to make known the experiences of Singaporeans and Malaysians who had their daily commutes across the causeway disrupted during the pandemic.
“Every film I’ve made thus far, I’ve ensured every culture in some way is somehow represented… I want to make sure when this film goes out to the world it can be identified as a purely Singaporean film … Even in terms of the casting or language I ensured that I expressed that wholesomely.”
Although this is the last eligible year for him to participate in NYFA, Yuga remains optimistic about the future. Despite the challenges which may lie ahead, he is excited to tell more stories as a filmmaker.
In addition to these awards, the Youth Inspiration Award was also given out to pay homage to a young filmmaker with exemplary contributions to Singapore’s film industry. Jerrold Chong, who co-founded Finding Pictures and is acting Programme Director for Cartoons Underground, received this special award from Mr Tan.
In his closing address, Mr Tan urged the young aspiring filmmakers to never give up.
“The arts are not just essential. The arts are integral. It makes us whole. It helps us to tell a story like many of you have told on the screen today … Your works clearly demonstrate what our Singaporean youths are capable of,” he said.