Today I submitted my 26 minute documentary 'Singapore Rebel' to theSingapore International Film Festival Short Film Competition. I wasasked by a staff at the office if the film had been submitted to anyother festivals. Not at all, I replied.
I had understood from festival director Philip Cheah earlier that aSIFF "pre-selection" committee will view all the entries first beforesubmission to the Board of Film Censors for approval. That would besometime in the first week of February.
A host of possible responses from the SIFF committee, the censors and the police ran through my mind. I narrowed it down to six.
1. SIFF (or Philip himself) will call me to advise me to withdrawthe film. After having failed to convince me, they will disqualify myentry for various excuses.
2. The pre-selection committee approves the film and is then sentto the Board of Film Censors. Censors wants to make cuts to the film.SIFF then withdraws the film in accordance to their rules of exhibitingonly uncut films.
3. The censors receive the film and find that it does not arousethe usual sensitivities of race/religion/sex/homosexuality/violence. Itthrows them off and they decide to refer the matter to the Ministry ofHome Affairs. I then get the invitation for tea at the police stationwhereupon I will be gently persuaded to quietly withdraw my film fromall competitions and screenings.
4. The censors receive the film and find that it does not arousethe usual sensitivities of race/religion/sex/homosexuality/violence. Itthrows them off and they decide to refer the matter to the Ministry ofHome Affairs. Officers at the Home Ministry are in a quandry too and sothey decide to refer to the Minister himself, Wong Kan Seng. Mr Wongdecides to ban the film.
5. (Same as scenario 4) except that in addition to banning the film, they decide to charge me under the Films Act.
6. The film is shown without any hitches.