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More opportunities for youth to showcase their work and pursue aspirations

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at the National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) 2018

28 July 2018

Distinguished guests,

Award nominees,

Ladies and gentlemen

1. Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here with you at the National Youth Film Awards, to celebrate the achievements of our aspiring young filmmakers.

Sharing personal experiences and building a collective Singapore story through film-making

2. For four years running, NYFA has provided our youths with a platform to showcase your talents in film, and tell stories that matter to Singaporeans. Indeed, film is a powerful medium for you to communicate the issues close to your hearts. One of this year’s entries, Chasing Paper, is about a mother who struggles to connect with her daughter during a stressful period in school, and the steps they took to reconcile their differences. Another film, Remember Me Not, took us through the journey of a young woman grappling with guilt and regret, as she cared for her father with Alzheimer’s disease. These are situations that we could very well find ourselves in. The films also embody issues that are increasingly important for our society, as we consider how we want to define success, or how we can care for our elderly amidst an ageing population.  I am glad that so many of you are using film to express your point of view on these important issues. Through your work, we can learn more about one another, appreciate the diversity of perspectives in our society, and build our collective Singapore story.

3. Our Singapore story is a multi-faceted and multi-layered one, because it belongs to all of us. To be inclusive, the Open Youth category was introduced this year to give youths from all walks of life the opportunity in filmmaking and story-telling. This has been met with great success, with the number of qualified entries doubling to over 450 this year. In fact, the number of entries for the Open Youth category was as high as the Media Student category.                                              

4. While some of the finalists are young professionals in the media industry, others come from a wide range of professions –from NSMen, to finance and marketing professionals. Many have not received formal training in film-making. Take Kiat Hau for example, an independent dance artist and swimming instructor who shot his film entirely on a GoPro camera. His dance film, Exigency, brings to life the emotions of falling in love when one least expects it, through the movements of the dancers. This is what the Award is about – giving opportunities to youths, regardless of your background, to explore your interests and to pursue your aspirations in film-making.

Supporting aspiring filmmakers through showcasing their work, building networks, and developing skills

5. Apart from personal opportunity, NYFA has enabled many of you to find partners and collaborators. Mark Wee, Andre Quek, and Jerrold Chong were contenders for NYFA 2015. Since then, they have worked together on film projects like Temasek 2020 and Singapore Writers’ Festival. Earlier in April, they collectively established an animation production company called Finding Pictures. Like this trio, I hope that you will forge deeper friendships, continue to learn and grow together, and support one another in this journey. 

6. NYFA is an important stepping stone in your journey as filmmakers. *SCAPE will help connect you with industry partners to showcase your work and enable you to gain recognition. This is how Adobe came to know of Jason Choo, winner of Best Cinematography and Best Original Music for NYFA 2015. Recently, Adobe commissioned Jason to produce and direct a campaign video. Jason’s work will soon be shared across Southeast Asia through Adobe’s digital channels.

7. *SCAPE will also provide resources for you to develop your film-making skills, regardless of your training or background. Earlier, we watched 2 short films, produced by youths who were mentored through the National Youth Council’s SHINE and *SCAPE’s Talent Development Programme. These films were developed over a 12-week long mentorship by a professional film company, OneDash 22.

8. *SCAPE will be organising a similar mentorship programme later in the year to give you access to a pool of mentors, including renowned film directors and producers. Through this programme, you will receive 1-on-1 guidance in film production over 6 to 8 weeks. *SCAPE will also be holding a series of courses by industry professionals for NYFA alumni and interested youths.

9. Beyond filmmaking, *SCAPE supports a diverse range of youth aspirations in music, dance, entrepreneurship, and eSports. In each area, *SCAPE provides opportunities to grow youth talent through access to resources, mentorship, and industry connections. Last month, we unveiled the revamped HubQuarters, an affordable co-working space in the heart of the city for youth entrepreneurs to collaborate and experiment with innovative business ideas. We do this to provide like-minded youth an accessible safe space to explore their dreams, and support them as they bring their ideas to life.

10. What we do in *SCAPE is to support you in the pursuit of your passions. We hope to provide the opportunities to acquire the skills and business network needed to establish your footing. In this journey of pursuing your passion, I hope you will find a purpose in life – and that is to use your talent meaningfully for the good of the society, and as a way of giving back to the community. Through your films, you can tell the Singapore story and enrich our national identity; draw attention to individuals or communities in need; and encourage action for the collective good of our country.

Conclusion

11. Finally, I would like to thank all those who have made this event possible, especially the industry partners who have been selflessly devoting your time and resources towards developing young film makers. To all the participants and winners, congratulations for your achievements! All of you are here because of a common love for filmmaking, even though you come from different backgrounds and occupations. Some of you went straight to schools for film and digital media, while others took a longer path of exploration to get to this point. The NYFA is an intersection in your respective journeys. From here, some of you may continue with the long journey of making film, some may call it quits. Whichever your decisions maybe, your time as youth should be one for self -discovery and personal development. Don’t be afraid to push yourselves to the limit, as this is the only way to know your strengths and weaknesses, and what you are genuinely passionate about. Whatever pathway you may choose, remember that success comes from the pursuit of excellence, which requires 10,000 repetitions of practice – doing over and over again to be really good at what you do. May this be the start of an exciting career for you.

Last Updated: 30 July 2018

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