Boomz award Anthony Chen

SINGAPORE - So the Best Foreign Film Oscar shortlist is out, and Ilo Ilo is not on it.No matter.

We've given local director Anthony Chen his own little "Oscar" trophy as a keepsake for creating a Boomz in our local film industry and becoming a household name.

The New Paper grants this additional Flame Awards trophy to a personality who shot to fame from next-to-nowhere, like previous honorees Ris Low, Foyce Le Xuan and "Massage Uncle" Toh Kia Hin.

Chen and his one-million-at-the-box-office- and-counting feature film debut made the grade for us, and many other film festivals that have awarded him and the cast trophies in 2013.

When he saw our fake Oscar trophy, he laughed. "This is not one of those terrible categories, is it?" he asked.

Far from it. He can add our Flame Awards trophy to the haul he has picked up since winning the prestigious Camera d'Or prize at Cannes in May.

That includes trophies from Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards - a Best Feature Film win that trumped Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster and Tsai Ming-liang's Stray Dogs - and film festivals from Hong Kong to Hungary.

He has amassed so many trophies that UFM 100.3 presenter Wong Woon Hong, one of Ilo Ilo's producers, told us he has them in the car and on his desk.


Chen has been so busy living out of a suitcase and fielding interviews from The Wall Street Journal, Xinhua and The New York Times that he joked that his wife has threatened to divorce him.

"I haven't even had time to reply her messages," he told The New Paper earlier this month, when he was back in Singapore for a few days to present his movie at the ASEAN Film Festival.

He will be spending his holiday break with her in London, where the couple are based.

The director, now represented in the US by United Talent Agency, will continue to field potential scripts and opportunities and a movie-making career that may go international, but his thoughts are still very much on what Ilo Ilo's success means.

"I hope that this film will open up a lot of other possibilities for other films, for Singaporeans to see that actually Singapore cinema doesn't come in one form, it comes in different shapes and sizes," he said.

"So when other films come from directors in a different form and style, hopefully, they will go and support as well."

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