Monday, November 29, 2021

Singapore Comic Convention 2021 Guests Include Lee Bermejo, Martin Simmonds and Cheah Sinann

Do you realise, that Singapore Comic Convention (SGCC) starts this Friday, 3 December 2021? For an event that attracted over 50,000 attendees in 2019, this year's event is very low key. There are a few possible reasons for this. The convention has been taken over from Reed Exhibitions Singapore by a new event company called Generation Experience, and the show will run only on a virtual format. Generally, people are getting weary of staring at a screen after more than a year of Zoom and Google meetings. It is just not the same as an in-person gathering where connections and conversations happen in real time. And Red Dot Diva is sure that most of us sorely miss our annual geek huddle.

But still, the show must go on. At least something is happening, right? There have already been a few guests announced for the online panels, so if you are a huge fan of any of them, do remember to register for SGCC. Registration is FREE!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Oozes Nostalgia But Needs A Fresher Take

Gen X-ers have been getting lots of attention from Hollywood studios these days as popular franchises of the golden era keep coming back to the screen. Star Wars, Star Trek, Scream, Jumanji, He-Man, The Muppets, The Karate Kid, Indiana Jones... you name it, they have it. And if not, they are probably already planning on it. There are the reboots, the re-imaginings, the tributes and the sequels, all in an attempt to drown the ‘forgotten generation’ (of which Red Dot Diva is a proud member), with a flood of nostalgia.

In that aspect, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE is not short on the feel-good nostalgia, as Jason Reitman, son of “Ghostbusters” director Ivan Reitman, pulled out all the stops to win the hearts of the original fans. The 2016 all-female Ghostbusters remake by Paul Feig created a lot of backlash that consisted of mostly racist and sexist complaints. Red Dot Diva liked the 2016 movie, and it was empowering to watch the cast of wonderful comedians kicking ass as women ghostbusters. Unfortunately, it goes to prove that society is still not ready to accept when a script is gender-flipped.

There are no such thorny issues with GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE. The sequel is likeable, family friendly and provides a great starting point for new fans of the franchise.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Cartoons Underground 2021 Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary from 20 to 27 November 2021

It is Cartoons Underground's 10th Birthday this year! To celebrate this joyous occasion, South-East Asia's biggest independent animation festival has expanded to a 7-day event from 20 to 27 November 2021. It will run as a hybrid event, with both in-person and virtual segments.

Cartoons Underground, the brainchild of Singaporean festival director Vicky Chen and celebrated American animator Patrick Smith, launched a decade ago with just a 2-hour animated movie screening session. Through the years, as interest for animation grew, the event included workshops and panels, as well as the annual Golden Durian Awards for excellence in animation. It was boosted to a 5-day virtual event last year, despite of restrictions due to the pandemic.

This year's National Day has shown the kind of magic our homegrown indie animation studios can do, so the festival provides a great opportunity to give them more exposure. Not only that, Cartoons Underground offers opportunities to connect animation art students - most who come from NTU and LASALLE - to the industry's professionals.

We always believed Singapore had this huge potential to be a hub for independent animation for the entire region,” she says. “When we launched Singapore was trying to tempt the big international studios. But it’s the independent studios that have stayed and ten years on we’re seeing more and more people buying into our vision,” says Vicky Chen.

Cartoons Underground 2021 will still centre on the screening of new animated short films. The screening helps to showcase and introduce an eclectic range of animation films to local and global audiences. These films are in contrast to the easily marketable styles by Disney or Dreamworks, or even some anime, that many are already familiar with.

Included in the festival programme are two international competitions. One of the notable entries for the international competition is The Visit by Morrie Tan (LASALLE College of the Arts BA(Hons) Animation Art), an intimate stop-motion story about a girl and her thoughts whenever she visits her father in prison. Red Dot Diva first watched The Visit as part of the seven animated short film anthology Spectrum, which was co-produced by Singapore-based Robot Playground Media and Malaysia’s The R&D Studio. The Visit draws you in with quiet emotion, and the film has already received awards and is currently in the film festival circuit.

Tan Wei Keong, Programme Director of Cartoons Underground, also recommends checking out other entries, like Canada-based director Liza Desyatkova's Don't Think About Her. “It magnifies the agony of having a crush on someone and I love it that the director pushed the film over the edge to a laugh-out-loud effect,” Tan says.

There will also be a screening of films from students at Singapore’s NTU and LASALLE. In addition, the anniversary celebration will provide a nostalgic throwback of some of the very best films shown at Cartoons Underground over the last decade, including those by Singapore creators Sarah Cheok's The Growth and Davier Yoon and Joshua Tan's witty A Brief History Of Time. Incidentally, the latter is one of Tan Wei Keong's favourites.

It's a joy to rewatch it a million times,” he says. “I always discover something new in the process. It's a gem in the local animation scene, so it's the perfect short to open the retrospective program.

The expanded programme also includes three online panels about careers in animation. They are:

Developing the animation industry: The role of education (23 Nov, 8pm) looks at how Singapore’s animation industry can bring on the next generation of talent.

Beyond Animation: What’s next for creative graduates? (21 Nov, 2pm) brings together animation graduates who’ve built successful careers.

Future of monetizing in animation (25 Nov, 8pm) looks at the ways the new digital economy lets animator make money from connecting directly or indirectly with audiences.

On this weekend and next weekend, Cartoons Underground 2021's partner *SCAPE is hosting a four-day development lab on-site and providing Zoom webinars on topics including Non Fungible Tokens on Animation. On the last day of the festival (27 November, 1 PM SGT), *SCAPE Gallery will be hosting a limited in-person screening of animated movie TATSUMI. The film about Japanese manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, was directed by local auteur Eric Khoo.

Ten years really flies by when you’re having fun,” says Festival Director Vicky Chen. “Cartoons Underground really has been a labour of love. But seeing the reaction of audiences, following young animators as they embark on their careers, and watching indie animation really take root in Singapore is awesome payback for everything the CU team puts in.

Tickets for Cartoons Underground 2021 is already on sale! To view the animation films and panels online, buy your ticket from this link -

More details about the festival are at Cartoons Underground's website at!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Singapore Comic Convention 2021 Opens For Registration, And It's Free!

After having to cancel the event last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore Comic Convention (SGCC) is back with an online format that will run from 3 December 2021 to 3 January 2022. The convention is still part of the Singapore Media Festival hosted by hosted by the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Registration for SGCC 2021 Online is open right now on their website at, and it is free!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Folklore Season 2 Ups The Scare Factor With More Asian Horror Stories

FOLKLORE Season 1 (2018), HBO Asia's original anthology series consisting of horror stories from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, was a success in the international film festival circuit. Award-winning film-maker Eric Khoo is the creator and showrunner of the series, and various episodes were screened in major festivals like Toronto International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Geneva International Film Festival, Fantastic Fest (Texas, USA) and Asian World Film Fest (California, USA).

The best thing about FOLKLORE Season 1 was how novel it was. Compared to East Asian lore, South-East Asian stories are rarely known internationally. FOLKLORE managed to lovingly capture the essence of some of South-East Asia's favourite momoks (phantoms/ bogeymen) with a high production values.

There are a couple of stories in the first season that are still visually ingrained in Red Dot Diva's mind. They are POB, the brilliantly filmed black and white Thai ghost story by reknown director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, and the more traditional and partially socio-political tale of the TOYOL by Malaysian director Ho Yuhang. That just shows how creepy and memorable Asian horror can be compared to the Westernised ones, which tend to over-explain the supernatural.

Well, come 14 November 2021, horror fans can expect more scares as FOLKLORE is set to increase the fear factor for a second season. There will be six new episodes about the human condition when faced with the deeply rooted superstitions and myths in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. Each of the stories is helmed by a director from their respective territory, with a special spotlight on two female directors this new season. Famous Japanese popstar Seiko Matsuda makes her directorial debut in the episode about a lonely Japanese idol, and Singaporean director Nicole Midori Woodford unveils the roots of a family trauma.