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HAPPENINGText: Alicia Tan

Singapore’s seminal festival dedicated to design, art and culture has come a long way from its humble beginnings in an auditorium hidden atop a hill. Now in its sixth year, A Design Film Festival (DFF) has seen a record-breaking audience of 11,600 — a significant increase from the 9,800-strong crowd in 2015.

© A Design Film Festival

This also marks the second year of the opening weekend being held at the iconic Capitol Theatre, with special pop-up treats from local ice-cream makers Creamier to coffee brewers Papa Palheta gracing the marbled waiting hall.

© A Design Film Festival

During the festival’s two-week run from September 3rd to 11th, design and film fans were treated to a line-up of eight films, the final contenders from a fierce selection that involved over 130 submissions. This year’s DFF featured five Asia Premieres, two Southeast Asia Premieres, and one Singapore Premiere.

© A Design Film Festival

Anonymous, the multi-disciplinary film behind DFF and, chose the films based on how well they reflect the current spirit of design in Singapore and the rest of the world. Covering subject matter from fashion design to the fine arts and even visual-kei subculture, DFF’s 2016 line-up was relevant, timely, entertaining and above all, inspiring.

Yohji Yamamoto “Dressmaker” © A Design Film Festival

While previous editions of the festival often featured films that were either beautiful introductions to the design world or intimate behind-the-scenes documentaries, this year’s line-up can be considered an evolution: an ode to the creative person and their relentless pursuit of something better.

“The First Monday in May” © A Design Film Festival

Through films like “We Are X”, “The Happy Film”, “Jheronimus Bosch | Touched by the Devil”, “Original Copy”, “Yohji Yamamoto | Dressmaker” and “The First Monday in May”, DFF allows the average, everyday person to step into the shoes of a creator or creative person. DFF is no longer simply about educating its audience — it is something much more than that. Film becomes a medium where the viewer can be a designer, curator, painter or musician, even if just for a moment. The enthusiasm each main narrator or character has towards his craft (take Yoshiki in “We Are X” or Andrew Bolton in “The First Monday in May” for example) is invariably infectious, making it easy for the audience to really immerse themselves.

“The Happy Film” © A Design Film Festival

And that’s what resonates through the entire film festival, especially in its festival statement. Every film, from “The Happy Film” to “In Pursuit of Silence” clarifies the creative spirit by paring away the excess and chaos inherent in design and art. Even director Sebastian Lange’s festival opening titles echo this philosophy, metaphorically representing the empty vessel that allows the films’ fullest potential shine through.

“Original Copy” © A Design Film Festival

Though the festival now over, design films fans from Southeast Asia can still catch a selection of this year’s films. DFF now boasts a Video on Demand service, with three films available online for purchase or rent: “Original Copy”, “Yohji Yamamoto | Dressmaker” and “In Pursuit of Silence” are available. For more information, please visit the DFF website. Additionally, travellers onboard Singapore Airlines can also enjoy the 2016 line-up, which will be screened exclusively onboard KrisWorld.

A Design Film Festival Singapore 2016

Date: September 3rd – 11th, 2016

Place: Shaw Theatres Lido

Address: 5/6 F Shaw House, 350 Orchard Road, Singapore

Tel: +65 6440 7330

Text: Alicia Tan

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