How to Learn More About Singapore’s Film History

22 March 2016
<p>We may never get to watch this film. </p>

We may never get to watch this film. 

If you think Singapore does not have much of a film history to speak about, here’s where you are wrong. 


You might be surprised by the rich history that this little red dot holds when it comes to cinema and filmmaking. Discover the past right up to the present with these resources.  


The Cathay Gallery

We’re sure you’ve been to various Cathay cineplexes around the island to watch a movie. Now learn more about the people behind the Cathay legacy and its businesses, which include film production studios, film distribution, and cinemas.

The Cathay Gallery houses a unique collection of film memorabilia, and showcases a taste of cinema in Singapore in its early years. As an added bonus, catch clips of early Singapore films in various languages throughout the gallery. Drop by for a visit at The Cathay (#02-16). Admission is free. More info here.


Celluloid Void 2: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia

This exhibition focuses on lost films from Singapore and the region, including “New Friend” (pictured), believed to be the first film shot entirely in Singapore in 1926. 

Learn more about this milestone film and efforts to gather information about it at the National Library on Level 8 from now till April 27.  Admission is free. More info here


Malaya Black and White

Did you know there are early Hollywood films that used Malaya as the setting as part of a post-war genre of travel films

Malaya Black and White is a great online resource for films about Malaya (which includes Singapore) and it lists titles you’ve probably never heard of. It also includes lesser-known film titles made during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. 



Singapore Film Locations Archive

Another awesome Singapore film website that attempts to keep a record of the locations of movies filmed on the island from way back when. We love the “Now and Then” photos of some of the locations seen in the movies (with some very interesting observations!), serving as testament to how much Singapore has changed in its short history. Just fascinating!



Latent Images: Film in Singapore by Jan Uhde and Yvonne Ng Uhde

If you prefer to read all about Singapore film history from its early beginnings to recent years, this is the book to get. Also includes a quick reference to bio-filmographies of significant Singapore filmmakers, and the statistics of the Singapore International Film Festival


Singapore Cinema by Raphaël Millet 

What are the various forces and stages that have shaped Singapore cinema? Read all about this in this book packed with unexpected cinematic treasures. 


By Muneerah Bee, March 2016

Photo: Asian Film Archive’s Facebook page


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