Kenneth Tan, Chairman
He signed up as a member of SFS in May 1982 to watch Brian DePalma’s OBSESSION, and was co-opted into the Committee in December that year. Kenneth did everything a volunteer could do — shuttling to and from the airport, and Board of Film Censors; writing aerogrammes to overseas film institutes; manning the desk and door on screening nights; writing freelance reviews for The Straits Times. In November 1983, he was elected Secretary of SFS. On 12 October 1984, he made history by becoming the youngest Chairman of the Society, at the age of 19 — a position he has held continuously to this day.
Kenneth was blessed to get the General Paper topic, “What are the most popular kinds of films in your country, and why?” for his ‘A’ Levels. He also chose a topic for his university dissertation that he could uniquely produce: “The Impact of Presentation Format and Product Involvement on Miscomprehension of Cinema Advertising”.
Throughout his Chairmanship of SFS, Kenneth has been fortunate to work for some of Singapore’s best companies. He rose through the ranks at Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants to become Managing Director of the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters. Subsequently headhunted to run Mediacorp TV and Radio, he also led Group Communications for the eight companies of the group. Golden Village then hired their most ardent patron as the company’s first non-expatriate Managing Director. Kenneth’s next nine years were to be with the Media Development Authority, leading Singapore’s national film commission, overall media industry development and, most recently, community engagement.
How would he sum up the euphoria of over 30 years of doing what he loves? “When what you do as work is what you do as your hobby, you never really feel you’ve gone to work.”
David Lee, Vice-Chairman/ Programme Director
Being effectively bilingual, David has helped award-winning Singaporean filmmakers such as Sun Koh and Kirsten Tan with the translation of their scripts into Chinese, and he has moderated and interpreted for events such as the Singapore International Film Festival and Singapore Writers Festival.
During his time as Programming Manager at Sinema Old School and Marketing Manager at InnoForm Media, David had released and marketed many local films, including Lucky 7 (2008) an omnibus feature produced by Sun Koh featuring seven prominent Singapore directors including Boo Junfeng and K. Rajagopal; Kelvin Tong’s It’s a Great Great World (2011); and the DVD release of Boo Junfeng’s directorial debut Sandcastle (2010).
David is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Film Society, the longest established (since 1958) non-profit film organisation in Singapore.
Together with Eternality Tan, he co-founded The Filmic Eye, a consultancy firm that specialises in film projects. Under The Filmic Eye, David has produced seven short films commissioned by the National Arts Council for Utter 2015 and Silver Arts Festival 2016, and the films have been selected in competition at prestigious festivals such as Annecy International Animation Festival (The Great Escape by Tan Wei Keong), Animafest Zagreb (The Tiger of 142B by Harry & Henry Zhuang), and Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (The Drum by Ler Jiyuan). The Filmic Eye also distributes award-winning feature films such as Golden Horse winner for Best Documentary, Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above, and Midi Z’s The Road To Mandalay.
David has regularly given back to the film community, having been a jury member for the Singapore Short Film Awards, Crowbar Awards, My Singapore Story Microfilm Competition and the National Youth Film Awards. He has also given seminar talks on film programming and marketing at Objectifs Centre for Film and Photography, as well as at LASALLE College of the Arts.
A life-long film buff who lives and breathes all kinds of cinema, David has watched over 5,000 films since he graduated with a Bachelor of Communication in Film and Media Studies from Griffith University, Australia, back in 2002. He is especially passionate about promoting film appreciation to a wider audience and believes in the holistic educational value of film literacy for students and young people.
Sherman Ho, Treasurer/ Marketing Director
His journey in SFS started when he first started volunteering for the Society in 2012, when he was still in NTU, helping with the front-of-house duties. At that point, he had a very casual interest in film and it was something he considered as more of a hobby than anything else. Eventually, he started helping out with the design work on their Facebook page and from there, he become much more involved in SFS operations. He also briefly joined the programming team in 2013, although he got intimidated because he didn’t not know ANY of films and directors brought up during the meeting (he made it out of the meeting alive though).
Just before his graduation in 2015, he joined the committee, where he focused mainly on marketing efforts for the society to reach out to a newer, younger crowd. This eventually grew to become a project to completely revamp and rebrand SFS to suit the changing film landscape in Singapore, a project that is still ongoing. Film was once a hobby that became a very serious passion. His experience as an outsider trying to learn more about the film industry also led him to believe that SFS has to play a much greater role in reaching out and providing a platform where anyone, regardless of their background or skill set, could learn about more about film in Singapore.
Outside of SFS, after graduation, he worked as a commodities trader in one of the biggest agricultural company in Asia, handling the African market. He spent three months in Ghana, a country in West Africa. The experiences and perspectives gained during his time in the region led him to realise that there was much more to life than just your career and money. He left the company in 2016, whereby he decided to venture out on his own, and also dedicate more time to the SFS rebranding project. He eventually set up a company today with his work and life partner, Simon, called Happiness Initiative, which focuses on cultivating well-being in people, and to teach the science of Positive Psychology.
While Sherman is still very much uncertain about how the future will turn out, he believes very strongly in the work that he does.
For those who are interested in being involved in the Singapore Film Society, please feel free to drop him an email and ask him out for a coffee. He would be more than happy to oblige!
CHEW KENG KIAT
Heritage Prog. Director
Chew Keng Kiat, Secretary/ Heritage Programme Director
In between his hectic work schedule, Keng Kiat tries to strike a work-life balance by being a volunteer guide at the Bukit Brown Cemetery, as well as organising voluntary walks all around Singapore’s nature greenery and heritage sites. Keng Kiat believes that Singapore may be small, but it is far from dull and boring.
Eternality Tan, Programming Manager
ET has seen more than 2,500 films and reviewed more than 1,400 titles since 2007, averaging three reviews a week. His site @Filmnomenon is a treasure trove of reviews of popular movies, classics and obscure gems of world cinema, and clinched the Best Individual Blog title at the Singapore Blog Awards 2015.
ET’s Absolute Favourite Directors are: Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Paul Thomas Anderson, Satyajit Ray, Andrei Tarkovsky, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Jean-Pierre Melville.
ET’s Absolute Favourite Films are: Seven Samurai (1954), The Music Room (1958), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Taxi Driver (1976), Blade Runner (1982), JFK (1991), Schindler’s List (1993), There Will Be Blood (2007), and Inglourious Basterds (2009).
And ET’s Absolute Favourite Film Composers are: Ennio Morricone, John Williams and Joe Hisaishi.
Hatta Moktar, Programming Manager
Sally Wu, Marketing Manager
Sally Wu is a Taiwanese living and working full-time in Singapore. Film isn’t her profession but has been her passion since university days. Sally got to know SFS from attending the 2nd annual SCFF (Singapore Chinese Film Festival) in 2013 and noticed that SFS was listed as one of the organisers. She proactively reached out to SCFF festival director Tee-Tuan Foo who kindly introduced her to SFS’s vice-chairman David Lee. That’s how it all began!
Sally started her volunteer work helping out FOH during film screenings and gradually started helping out with SFS’s and SCFF’s social media marketing. In 2015, Sally became a SFS Committee member and continue to contribute to the organisation using her personal time away from her busy work and travel schedules. Sally has also been actively volunteering at SGIFF for the past two years.
Growing up in Taiwan, Sally’s movie experiences have been influenced by US culture and Hollywood. She only started to appreciate non-US, indie movies, and even Taiwan’s own films in her early 20s. “I’d like to open my eyes to more European and Asian movies, more short films and documentaries. I don’t think I’ve not seen enough of those and there are so many to explore!” In terms of genres, Sally is specially drawn to human-interest stories that have good acting and storytelling. She also loves the horror genre (but no slashers) and is a sucker for any movie related to the media industry, particularly journalism.
Sally also adores old Chinese movies (circa 1930-50s), talkies or silent ones (“I recently saw a silent film called 春蠶 (1933), an amazingly good film!”), as well as American movies from the 1960-70s (“my favourite horror films are almost all from this era!”). You will rarely find Sally frequenting Hollywood blockbusters these days, especially superhero movies or movies with heavy CGI. “Call me old school, but I still see the use of CGI as ‘sort of cheating’ and prefer seeing actual actions and actors.”
Sally’s all-time favorite movies?
All the Presidents Men (1976), Network (1976), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Omen (1976), Psycho (1960), Quiz Show (1994), Broadcast News (1987), Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Shining (1980), 阮玲玉 (1991), 秋天的童話 (1987), 女人四十 (1995), 花樣年華 (2000), Tokyo Story (1953), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), When Harry Met Sally (1989), Boogie Nights (1997), and A Mighty Wind (2003).
And the following recent titles are what Sally would highly recommend to her friends to check out: Philomena (2013), Birdman (2014), Argo (2012), 殭屍 (2013), Interstellar (2014), and Miss Sloane (2016).
Michael Lim, Programming Manager
He also curates, hosts and is a festival director for Animation Nation 2016. Michael is also an associate member of the Southeast Asia Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA) and the Screenwriters Association of Singapore. He has directed Jackie Chan for UNICEF and worked as a VFX coordinator for a Harry Potter film.
Dave Chua, Programming Manager
Dave was involved in the production of the Mediacorp sitcom, Achar!, and PeachBlossom Media’s animated children’s show, Tomato Twins. He has written for various publications such as The Straits Times, BigO, and The Edge, and is a Programming Manager of the Singapore Film Society. For his feature-length scripts, he was awarded a second prize at the Singapore Screenplay Awards in 2001.
Yong Shu Chiang, Sponsorship Director
He is currently a Senior Editor with the National Library Board and Contributing Editor at SPH Magazines. He is also a Director and Commissioning Editor at Bubbly Books, a boutique publisher of best-selling children’s books in Singapore.
He co-organised a festival of Singapore films in 2006, was Assistant Director for the Singapore Writers Festival, has judged and moderated for the Singapore International Film Festival, was a mentor for an Asian Film Archive young critics’ programme, and has also taught film appreciation and children’s creative writing.
He has been with the Singapore Film Society since July 2005, focusing on marketing, sponsorship and partnerships, and is currently working on a commemorative publication on the history of film-going in Singapore, as well as a comprehensive guide to film events in Singapore.
Christian Acevedo, Multimedia Manager
Christian is currently a Webcast Producer and has been in the media industry since 2001. He moved to Singapore in 2012 and joined as an SFS Volunteer in 2013. Christian has helped in numerous SFS events and festivals over the last few years. He now serves as Community and Multimedia Manager. Christian is also currently organizing the first edition of the Puerto Rican Film Festival in Singapore.
Christian has made a handful of short films after he graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Cinematography. During his time off, he enjoys catching as many films as possible, listening and making music, and city-hopping.