New team for SIngapore film fest

New team for SIngapore film fest
The team includes (from left) festival director Zhang Wenjie, executive director Yuni Hadi and marketing manager Karen Wai.

Two former directors of the Singapore International Film Festival will return to helm the 25th edition this year.

Ms Yuni Hadi, who would be leading the festival as announced last December, will take the role of executive director. Her co-festival director in 2009, Mr Zhang Wenjie, will return as festival director and take charge of programming.

This was among the announcements made at the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart) on Monday as the Singapore International Film Festival, rebranded as SGIFF, named its new executive team.

The event has not been held since 2011 due to financial and personnel woes.

Previously known as SIFF, it will run from Dec 4 to 14 under the umbrella event, Singapore Media Festival, alongside ScreenSingapore, the Asia Television Forum and Market and the Asian Television Awards.

The trade events ScreenSingapore and the Asia Television Forum and Market were held together for the second time last year and attendance increased by 10 per cent from 2012 with 1,179 companies from over 60 countries participating.

The festival's Silver Screen Awards will also be brought back and it will be for Asian feature films and South-east Asian and Singapore short films.

Ms Yuni, 37, and Mr Zhang, 38, learnt from their 2009 experience that having just the two of them run the festival was "not the best way to work".

He tells Life!: "We did that because at that time, we did not have the right resources. But we feel that to have a good team in place is really essential to building a good festival."

Ms Karen Wai, 29, co-founder of indie bookstore BooksActually, has been brought in as marketing manager. One idea is to get filmgoers to reflect on what films mean to them, bringing a more "lifestyle angle" to movie-watching.

The festival board has expanded from three to 10 members and is headed by chief executive officer of Infinite Studios Mike Wiluan, and also includes actress and Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh and chief executive officer of Singapore International Arts Festival Lee Chor Lin.

The festival will be setting up an International Advisory Board led by Singapore film-maker Eric Khoo.

On the upcoming edition, Mr Zhang says: "It has always been a festival for the discovery of Asian films and a festival that pays attention to films from the region and we'll keep that in place."

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