Cannes Film Festival to premiere pandemic-themed short film by ‘Ilo Ilo’ director Anthony Chen

‘The Year of the Everlasting Storm’ is an anthology feature featuring the Singaporean director and six other filmmakers

Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen has been tapped to direct a short film about the pandemic that will premiere at Cannes Film Festival as part of the anthology The Year of the Everlasting Storm.

Headed by production company NEON, The Year of the Everlasting Storm compiles new works chronicling “this unprecedented moment in time”, including one by Chen. It will premiere at Cannes this year as a Special Screening under its Official Selection list.

Chen is part of a reputable list of seven global filmmakers on the project. Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul (the Palme d’Or-winning Uncle Boonmee), Chile’s Dominga Sotomayor (Too Late to Die Young), Iran’s Jafar Panahi (Taxi) are set to contribute, along with American filmmakers Laura Poitras (Citizenfour), Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams), and David Lowery (A Ghost Story).


Watch the trailer for The Year of the Everlasting Storm below.

According to TODAY, Chen currently lives in London, where he handled directorial duties remotely for his segment, titled The Break Away. The short is about a couple (China’s Zhou Dongyu and Taiwan’s Zhang Yu) who struggle to cope with the lockdown.

Besides the anthology, Weerasethakul is set to premiere his upcoming feature film Memoria at Cannes. The Tilda Swinton-starring production is the filmmaker’s first English-language project.

Cannes Film Festival 2021 will resume as a physical event from July 6 to 17. This follows 2020’s virtual edition, which revised its selection and format following the pandemic crisis. Other films premiering at Cannes this year include Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, Leos Carax’s Annette, and Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta.


The Year of the Everlasting Storm marks Chen’s third outing at Cannes, beginning with the short film Ah Ma, which won the Special Distinction Prize in 2007. His feature-length debut, Ilo Ilo, took home the Camera d’Or in 2013.

Chen’s next feature film, We Are All Strangers, will also tackle the current global health crisis. The film will begin production in 2022, and will reunite Chen with actors Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler, both of whom starred in his films Ilo Ilo and Wet Season.