On 10 September 2014, “To Singapore, with Love” was barred from public screenings in Singapore. Read Pin Pin’s statement about this restriction. Shortly after the ban, a few hundred Singaporeans journeyed across the border to Johor Baru, Malaysia, to catch the film. Pin Pin subsequently appealed against this decision, but the appeal was rejected as the Film Appeals Committee felt the film was “one-sided”. Pin Pin’s response to this decision can be found here. Since the ban, there has been a lot of interest in the film and we are screening the film privately in Singapore, as is permitted. Meanwhile, screenings abroad continue. * Please do not circulate the film without seeking permission from the director. We are working to get the film seen by more people in Singapore and abroad in the coming months.
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- Winner, Best Director, Muhr AsiaAfria Documentary Awards. Dubai International Film Festival
- Winner, Best Asean Documentary, Special Mention, Salaya International Documentary Festival
- Winner, Asian Cinema Fund, Busan International Film Festival
- Winner, Best Asean Documentary, Special Mention, Freedom Film Festival
- Taiwan International Documentary Festival, mid Oct
- SeaArtsFest, London, End Oct. (Pin Pin Q&A)
- Dharamshala International Film Festival, end Oct
- Philippines International Documentary Festival, end Sept
- In Competition, Freedom Film Festival, 4-city Malaysian Tour. Petaling Jeya, Johor Baru, Kuantan and Penang
- 64th Berlinale, Forum
- Art of the Real, Film Society of Lincoln Center, USA, 23 & 24 April
- Seoul International Documentary Festival, 12 & 15 April
- In Competition, Its All True, Brazil, 7-10 April
- Busan Asian Cinema Fund Seoul Screenings at Indieplus, 14 & 15 March 2014
- Jogja-Netpac Film Festival
- International Documentary Film Festival, Kerala
- Diaspora Film Festival, Incheon
- In Competition, World Premiere, Busan International Film Festival
- and more
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“Expertly crafted, enormously moving” – Film Society, Lincoln Center
“The only Singaporean film that truly deserves to be called a “must see”. A brave, intelligent, sensitive, heartbreaking and humbling work that left my head spinning” – Colin Goh
“All of Tan Pin Pin’s previous work has been moving towards this courageous point.” –Tony Rayns, Head, Jury, Dubai International Film Festival
“This moved me to tears. Every young Singaporean of my generation should see this, in fact all Singaporeans should see this. It’s a slice of our history that shouldn’t be forgotten, and hopefully properly acknowledged in the near future.” – Anthony Chen
“Brave, brutally honest” – Robert Yeo
“The most important Singaporean film I have ever seen.” – Woo Yen Yen
“Vital” – Jeremy Tiang
“Tender and searching, deserves to be watched by the largest Singaporean audience possible, and more than once.” – Chan Cheow-Thia
“”To Singapore, With Love” is a necessary film. That it is very well made is a bonus. Extremely moving and thought-provoking.” – Koh Jee Leong
“Stylistically concise, with so much heart.” – Kirsten Tan
“A moving, heartbreaking work on unrequited love for one’s country” – Traslin Ong
“A very delicate and intimate gaze into the lives of Singaporean political exiles and their families.” – Paolo Bertolin, Venice International Film Festival delegate
“If you feel touched, it may be because of the production’s impressive ability to weave sentiment from small details, food, poetry, songs, and photos.” – Cine21 (Korean cinema magazine)
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Singapore political exiles, some of whom have not been home for 50 years, talk about the City of their dreams.
Director Tan Pin Pin attends a funeral in the hills of southern Thailand, a family reunion in Malaysia and goes for a drive through the English countryside, searching the world for the displaced souls of Singapore: different generations of Singaporean political exiles who have not been able to come home. Some have not returned for 50 years. She finds out how they have lived their lives away and how they still view the Singapore of their dreams. As they recount their lives, we see a City that could have been. A love letter to Singapore, from the outside.
They are now in their 60′s to 80′s. Some were activists, student leaders, others were card carrying communists. Though they are from different political persuasions, they all fled Singapore in the 1960’s, 1970s and 1980′s to escape the prospect of detention without trial carried out by the British Colonial Government and later, the Singapore Government. They have been away for between 35 to 50 years and they have settled in places as diverse as United Kingdom, Malaysia and Thailand.
In To Singapore, With Love 星国恋, they show us their lives today and tell us how they have spent their time away. A doctor who fled to London was so moved by the plight of the Palestinians, exiles themselves, that she devoted her life to providing medical care for them. Another young activist who also fled to London, graduated from Oxford University and became a human rights lawyer. Yet another joined the Malayan Communist Party and he fought in the jungles of Malaysia and Thailand. He and his comrades are now living their final years in Southern Thailand. Yet another still religiously reads the Singapore news because he wants to return to politics. Their everyday lives are set against their long struggle “to go home”.
It is clear that while up to 50 years may have passed, the idea of Singapore and is still very much on their minds. “Singapore oh Singapore, you are still on my mind, today and everyday” intones a poem written by one of them.
Interviewees: Ang Swee Chai, Chan Sun Wing, He Jin, Ho Juan Thai, Tan Hee Kim, Tan Wah Piow, Shu Shihua, Wong Soon Fong, Ye Wanzhen. Music: Francis Khoo
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Directed, Produced and Photographed by Tan Pin Pin 陈彬彬, 2013, DCP Format. 70min, Mono sound, In English, Mandarin, Malay, Hainanese, with English & Chinese Subtitles.
To Singapore, with Love 星国恋 is part supported by the Asian Cinema Fund, Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). It had its world premiere at BIFF, in competition, Oct 2013.
- “15th of February” and “Anak Pulau Singapura” composed and performed by the late Francis Khoo.
- Sound Editor: Justin Seah
- Sound Re-recording Mixer: Leslie Low
- Sound Post Producer: Vivian Wang
- Colourist:David Shiyang Liu
- Production Support: Josephine Seetoh
- Additional Photography: Eric Youwei Lim
- Graphics: Daryl Ho
- Translator: Tan Dan Feng
- Editor: Delcie Poh
- Transcriber: Anonymous
- DCP Production: Chai Yee Wei.
DIRECTOR’S BIO Tan Pin Pin is an award-winning director of Singapore GaGa. She is known for films that focus on Singapore and her histories which have screened in Berlinale, Busan, Vision du Reel, Flaherty Seminar as well as on Discovery Networks. In Singapore, the films have received sold out theatrical screenings, screened on Singapore Airlines and toured schools. She has won awards from Cinema du Reel, Taiwan International Documentary Festival for Invisible City as well as a Student Academy Award for Moving House. She is a board member of the Singapore International Film Festival. Previoulsy, she was a board member of the National Archives of Singapore and The Substation, Centre for the Arts as well as a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, an advocacy group for Singapore independent filmmakers.