‘#LookAtMe’ to remain on SGIFF lineup despite ban, but will not be screened

Authorities previously deemed the movie “suggestive of a real pastor in Singapore”

Singaporean film #LookAtMe will remain on the 33rd Singapore International Film Festival lineup, but will not be screened.

The second feature film from Singaporean director Ken Kwek was barred from screening in the country earlier this month after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) released a statement claiming the film has “the potential to cause enmity and social division in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society”.

The statement noted that the film depicted a homophobic pastor that local authorities deemed “suggestive of a real pastor in Singapore,” raising concerns that the film may be seen as encouraging violence against the pastor.

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The film festival’s website noted that “#LookAtMe will not be screened at the 33rd Singapore International Film Festival as it has been refused classification by the Infocomm Media Development Authority,” though it will officially remain part of the lineup for the festival that is set to be held from November 24 until December 4.

#LookAtMe premiered at the New York Asian Film Festival earlier this year in July, winning a Special Jury award for Best Performance.

Kwek and the film’s producers previously submitted an appeal for the authorities to reconsider their decision, arguing, “#LookAtMe is a work of cinematic fiction. The film seeks to entertain and encourage conversations on important social issues that are relevant to Singapore.”

Other Singaporean films set to be screened at the festival include Geylang by Boi Kwong, Derrick Chew’s Boom, Before Life After Death by Anshul Tiwari and more. A total of 101 films from 55 countries will be screen at the festival, Kazakh filmmaker Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s Assault set to open the festivities.

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