Originated by local design studio Anonymous, the globally-acclaimed event was held in 2010 and 2011 at the now defunct Old School, a patron and sponsor which kept the costs of running the festival to a bare minimum.
“With the closure of Old School in 2012, we've lost a venue partner, a supporter and a friend,” says festival director and Anonymous creative director Felix Ng. “Despite the fact that our costs have risen, we've kept the ticket prices the same as before and introduced the Festival Patron Pass to reach out to 60 individuals who are able to pay a little more, as a form of micro-sponsorship.”
Tickets, which went on sale on May 1, are currently priced at $8 for short films, and $12 for feature length films, though if the patron pass program doesn't work out, ticket prices will increase on June 1 in order to keep the festival sustainable, says Ng.
The festival sold 1,800 tickets in 2010 and 2,500 the following year, and the organizers are hoping to reach 4,500 this year, an achievable target if the tickets keep on selling as they do, Ng thinks. “Based on ticket sales from since we launched the festival website, I'm optimistic.”
Shortlisted from over 60 submissions from around the world, this year's selection of films loosely curated around some of the hot topics in the creative industry at the moment such as craft versus technology, multidisciplinary design and ethical design. It will include first-time screenings in Singapore such as the Sundance Film Festival selection Google and the World Brain, as well as Tema Hima: Time, Work and Life in Tohoku, North East Japan, a world premiere.
Other perks for design lovers include a specially-commissioned opening indent (the film's starting sequence) by Helsinki-based motion graphic studio Musuta and a “public service announcement” – a reminder to switch off mobile devices during the show – by local creatives Kinetic.
Ng's personal pick? The Human Scale, which covers a topic he is most excited about: how urban planning can make a huge impact on how we live, breathe and socialize.
“In The Human Scale, it's interesting to see how countries like China and the US struggle with the same problem, and seek new ways of planning how urban life must improve for people to have a better quality of life in balancing both economics and livability,” says Ng. “This has been a hot topic in Singapore, especially after the population white paper.”