Film, Talk/Workshop, Festival

The Curious Case of the Local English-Language Movie

Organised by: Singapore Media Festival
  • Date:
    10 Nov 2018
  • Time:
  • Venue:
    National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
    National Museum of Singapore, Gallery TheatreNational Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
  • Language:
  • Admission:
    Free with registration at:


Proving to be an exception rather than the rule, the box-office success of 1996's comedy Army Daze failed to result in further box-office achievements for subsequent English or Singlish-language Singapore films. In the landmark year of 1998, four local films – Money No Enough, The Teenage Textbook Movie, Tiger's Whip and Forever Fever were released. Money No Enough, the only film in Mandarin-dialect-Singlish, became the all-time highest-grossing Singapore film till 2012, raking in more than the other three films put together.

Most of the more successful titles in recent Singapore film history, whether in terms of box office returns or film festival awards, all largely existed within a vernacular story. What is the reason for this dismal appeal for local English language films even with English as Singapore's default lingua franca? More importantly, how has the market, media and linguistic patterns of society over time affected the reception and production of such local films?

This panel discussion featuring cultural studies academics and pioneers in the media field will reflect on this phenomenon and consider any cinematic cultural turn for the reflection of the English or Singlish-language experience within the local film industry.

The Curious Case of the Local English-Language Movie