Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Asian Festival of First Films

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The Asian Festival of First Films (Chinese: 亚裔首作电影节) is an annual festival that celebrates first-time film- and documentary-makers and provides a platform for budding film talent.


It was first launched in November 2005 by Teamwork Productions (organiser) with Singapore's Media Development Authority, as part of the Asia Media Festival.

The festival culminates in a grand, star-studded gala Awards Night at Raffles Hotel Ballroom during which the results of the competition are announced.


This year’s nominated films hailed from Australia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, US and UK and will be screened in their original languages.

The 2009 edition of the festival had celebrated producer Chris Lee (US) (Superman Returns, Valkyrie) and director Kabir Khan (India and New York) amongst its esteemed jury.

“AFFF has certainly seen an exponential increase in the number of participating films year on year. From a mere 230 entries in its first year, we have received an overwhelming 700 entries this year, testament to the ability and quality of competition, enabling it to attract top international talent,” says Shweta Asnani, festival producer. “This year, for the first time, we have a higher proportion of Singaporeans being nominated.”

Four Singaporeans have been nominated out of 30 nominee hopefuls from 28 countries. First-time actress Joey Leong (Singapore) has been nominated for her role in Blood Ties while Derrick Loo (Singapore) has been nominated for Best Cinematographer. Blood Ties deals with a favourite genre of Singaporeans—horror and the afterlife—and will screen in Mandarin. Cashless features music by local bands The Lilac Saints and RustyNailz and focuses on yet another aspect familiar to Singaporeans: money and the pursuit of it, albeit with a twist. Actor Danny Low (Singapore) has been nominated for Best Actor.

Abbas Akbar (Singapore) has also been nominated for his directorial work for Best Short Film, Certain Chapters, in Tamil. The experimental film, inspired by a series of true events unveils the unforgiving and wanton world of Indian gangsters in Singapore.

Perhaps it is no surprise that these films representing Singapore at the festival happen to showcase the country’s multiracial, multilingual population—testimony that the festival indeed cuts across Asian diversity and tells the culturally rich stories of the Asian diaspora.

Festival dates

  • 2005: 23 November to 30 November
  • 2006: 30 November to 7 December
  • 2007: 27 November to 4 December
  • 2008: 4 December to 10 December
  • 2009: 28 November to 4 December
  • References

    Asian Festival of First Films Wikipedia

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