Groups already promoting local films

SINGAPORE - The roles of a national film centre are already being performed by various organisations, and the Government will focus on strengthening each of these functions, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Lawrence Wong said on Monday.

He was responding to Nominated MP Janice Koh's suggestion for an independent centre to facilitate audiences' appreciation of film and promote stories, film culture and heritage.

She cited a lack of awareness of local films among Singaporeans and the need to take local cinema to the next stage of growth as reasons.

The idea was also supported by local film-makers Anthony Chen, Boo Junfeng, Jasmine Ng and Tan Pin Pin, who issued a joint statement on Monday.

Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) had also suggested a centralised film body, which could be an existing agency, during the debate on the Ministry of Communications and Information's budget.

Mr Wong, in his reply, said a national film centre would, among other functions, typically showcase local films and hold a film festival.

"In our case, we have the Cinematheque at the National Museum, and we also have the Singapore International Film Festival, which the Media Development Authority (MDA) is supporting, and which will make a comeback later this year," he said.

The other key function of curation and promotion of local films is undertaken by the MDA's Singapore Film Commission, he said.

Mr Wong acknowledged that there were merits to centralising a film centre's different functions - others include archiving and curating - under one entity. The MDA is open to reviewing this, he added.

But focusing on strengthening each function was "a more important priority than to get bogged down with organisational structures", Mr Wong said.


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.