Digital Film Production Students Win Laurel Leaves at Virtual International Film Festivals

Students winning awards by submitting films to online film festivals.

During the Movement Control Order in 2020, film students and lecturers at the Department of Film and Performing Arts found themselves at the crossroads. As gathering in groups was strictly prohibited, and filmmaking not allowed, a pivot was needed. An opportunity presented itself when film festivals moved their events online. The lecturers and students of the Digital Film Production programme started to dig deep into their film reserves and discovered a wealth of already completed films that required magical finishing touches.

A few graduates worked together with current students and lecturers in a virtual team to identify and produce a list of potential films for submission. Throughout the process, students were also required to update their lecturers, Dr Dusan Petkovic and Dr Adrian Lee Yuen Beng during the online consultation sessions. In return, the lecturers provided feedback about how students could improve on the information and design of their electronic press kits (EPKs), understanding and analysing the best film festivals for submission, being mindful of the themes, locations and terms and conditions for the submission of films and strategies in selecting the best film festivals. Students were also encouraged to search beyond film festivals by submitting their films for film competitions as well as pay-per-view channels. In total, more than 10 films were submitted to international film festivals.

The films selected by the students capably crossed international borders as they contained humanistic and cosmopolitan themes that transcended race, religion and culture. Four films – With Love, Elaine (MAS See Films: Students’ Category Jury Award at the 16th Mini Film Festival; Lift Off Sessions); Little Things (Lift Off Sessions); Tok Ayah (MAS See Films: Students’ Category Nominee) and Appetite Hunter (Official Selection at Golden Short Film Festival) were selected as nominees, official selections or have won accolades.

In the ensuing months, students who carried on the practice of submitting their short films to international film festivals held online also won accolades where: With Love, Elaine won the Best Student Short Film Award at the “Eye” Short Film & Music Video Competition and The Umbrella won the People’s Choice Awards for Drama at the Argo Shorts. This practice will continue to be a Key feature in the Creative Industries and Entrepreneurship subject as it provides hands-on experience of how students can and should be promoting their creative work.

Dr Adrian Lee Yuen Beng
School of Arts