My name’s Lesley Chow and I’m an Australian writer on film as well as dance, music and art. The majority of my recent writings on film can be found at Bright Lights, but so far I have yet to explore the politics of distribution and programming, or the inner workings of a festival, as we (myself and Farah Azalea Mohamed Al Amin) plan to do at this year’s Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF).
I have a particular interest in language in cinema – the tones of actors’ voices, stylistic tics, and the general mix of tongues heard in films – so I will be on the lookout for a variety of language uses in Singaporean cinema. Language and dialects may also provide clues as to the audience that SIFF is targeting: for instance, a Southeast Asian film containing large amounts of English could either be seen as “pandering” to a foreign audience, or making realistic use of a lingua franca.
My previous experience of film festivals has tended to involve zoning in on directors and works straight away, without giving much attention to the machinery and the ideological interests which govern programming. It’s the addition of social context which will make this subject interesting. It will be a challenge to try and uncover the hidden basis of the institution: namely, who the festival is really for.