Compiled in January 2023 (and updated in November) this list highlights noteworthy Southeast Asian projects that have been previously announced, ranging from projects in the the early stages of development to several in post-production and a few that have been recently completed and premiered at festivals. Nationality of the director is in brackets after their names, but nationality of the projects is harder to determine as most are multi-territory co-productions.
Dir: Siyou Tan (Singapore)
Prods: Fran Borgia, Denis Vaslin
Prod cos: Akanga Film Asia (Singapore), Volya Films (Netherlands)
Synopsis: An exploration of Singapore’s societal and cultural expectations through the lens of a misfit in an all-girls’ school, as she joins a girl gang and tries to pass the all-important final year examinations.
Status: Development, selected for Berlinale Co-Production Market 2023
Dir: Wregas Bhanuteja (Indonesia)
Prod: Adi Ekatama, Ridla An-Nuur S, Willawati, Tan Si En
Prod cos: Rekata Studio, Kaninga Pictures, Masih Belajar Project, KG Media (Indonesia), Momo Film Co (Singapore), Hwallywood Media and Arts (Singapore)
Synopsis: A middle-aged schoolteacher gets trolled online after her angry video goes viral.
Status: Completed, premiered in Toronto International Film Festival
BEER GIRL IN YANGON
Dir: Sein Lyan Tu (Myanmar)
Prods: John Badalu, Alemberg Ang, Panuksmi Hardjo
Prod cos: PT Kino Media Nusantara (Indonesia), PS Films Production (Myanmar), Daluyong Studios (Philippines), M’GO Films (Singapore)
Synopsis: Lily, who works as a beer girl in a Yangon pub, is caught between her attraction for free-spirited co-worker Moon, and mysterious older man Zaw.
THIS CITY IS A BATTLEFIELD
Dir: Mouly Surya (Indonesia)
Prods: Rama Adi, Anthony Chen, Tan Si En
Prod cos: Cinesurya (Indonesia), Giraffe Pictures (Singapore), Epicmedia Productions (Philippines)
Synopsis: A period drama following Isa, an impotent war hero, as he leads a mission to bomb a cinema as the Dutch and English try to recolonise Indonesia after the Second World War.
Dir: Tumpal Tampubolon (Indonesia)
Prods: Mandy Marahimin, Anthony Chen
Prod cos: Tanakhir Films (Indonesia), Acrobates Films (France), Giraffe Pictures (Singapore)
Synopsis: Johan and his mother live hidden from the outside world in a crocodile park. When Johan falls in love with Arumi, and proposes she comes to live with them, his mother resents the intrusion and starts to hatch other plans.
Status: Pre-production, scheduled to start shooting third quarter 2023
CU LI NEVER CRIES
Dir: Pham Ngoc Lan (Vietnam)
Prods: Phan Dang Di, Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew, Claire Lajoumard, Teh Su Ching, Lai Weijie, Verona Meier
Prod cos: DNY Vietnam Productions (Vietnam), Epicmedia Productions (Philippines), Acrobates Films (France), Purple Tree Pictures (Singapore), Ape&Bjørn (Norway)
Synopsis: A surreal comedy about widowed Mrs Nguyen, who travels to Berlin to receive her inheritance: her estranged German husband’s ashes and his pet pygmy slow loris.
DON’T CRY, BUTTERFLY
Dir: Duong Dieu Linh (Vietnam)
Prod: Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, Tan Si En
Prod cos: An Nam Productions (Vietnam), Momo Film Co (Singapore), Daluyong Studios (Philippines), KawanKawan Media (Indonesia)
Synopsis: A middle-aged housewife discovers her husband’s affair and decides to cast a spell, hoping she can voodoo him back into love.
Status: Scheduled to start shooting September-November 2023
DREAMING & DYING
Dir: Nelson Yeo (Singapore)
Prods: Tan Si En, Sophia Sim
Prod cos: Momo Film Co (Singapore), KawanKawan Media (Indonesia)
Synopsis: At what is supposed to be a secondary school reunion, only three used-to-be good friends turn up at the chalet gathering.
Status: Completed, premiered in Locarno Concorso Cineasti del presente 2023 [won Best Film & Swatch First Feature Award]
ESSENTIAL TRUTHS OF THE LAKE
Dir: Lav Diaz (Philippines)
Prods: Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew, Jean-Christophe Simon, Joaquim Sapinho, Marta Alves
Prod cos: Epicmedia Productions (Philippines), Films Boutique (France), Rosa Filmes (Portugal)
Synopsis: Prequel to Lav Diaz’s When The Waves Are Gone. Police lieutenant Hermes Papauran, one of the best investigators of the Philippines, continues his struggle to find resolution to a 15-year-old case around a volcanic ash laden landscape and an impenetrable lake.
Status: Completed, premiered in Locarno International Competition 2023
IN MY MOTHER’S SKIN
Dir: Kenneth Dagatan (Philippines)
Prods: Bradley Liew, Bianca Balbuena, Huang Junxiang, Stefano Centini
Prod cos: Epicmedia Productions (Philippines), Zhaowei Films (Singapore), Volos Films (Taiwan)
Synopsis: Stranded in the Philippines during World War II, a young girl’s duty to protect her dying mother is complicated by her misplaced trust in a beguiling, flesh-eating fairy.
Status: Completed, premiered in Sundance Midnight Section 2023
INSIDE THE YELLOW COCOON SHELL
Dir: Pham Thien An (Vietnam)
Prods: Tran Van Thi, Jeremy Chua, Le Quynh Anh, Marie Dubas
Prod cos: JK Film (Vietnam), Potocol (Singapore), Deuxième Ligne Films (France)
Synopsis: Thien, a careless man, reluctantly starts his search for his long lost brother into the mystical landscape of Vietnam, after delivering his sister-in-law’s body back to his hometown, only to discover something else in the end that questions his faith.
Status: Completed, premiered in Cannes Directors Fortnight 2023 [won Cannes Camera d’Or]
LAST SHADOW AT FIRST LIGHT
Dir: Nicole Midori Woodford (Singapore)
Prods: Jeremy Chua, Shozo Ichiyama, Bostjan Virc, Tomohiko Seki, Jermyn Wong
Prod cos: Potocol (Singapore), Fourier Films (Japan), Studio Virc (Slovenia), cogitoworks (Japan), Prism Pictures (Japan)
Synopsis: Upon the discovery of old recordings of her long dead mother, Ami confronts her father who is in denial about what happened. Determined to follow the path in her visions, she leaves Singapore for Japan to connect with the only person who knows her mother’s last known whereabouts – a cynical taxi-driving uncle who has moved to Tokyo.
Status: Completed, premiered in San Sebastian New Directors 2023
Dir: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (Thailand)
Prods: Mai Meksawan, Chatchai Chaiyon
Prod cos: Diversion (Thailand), CG Cinema (France)
Synopsis: A Thai-American former pop star returns to his hometown in northeastern Thailand, a place still haunted by ghosts of American GIs from the Vietnam War.
Status: Completed, premiered in Busan 2023
OASIS OF NOW
Dir: Chia Chee Sum (Malaysia)
Prods: Lee Yve Vonn, Fran Borgia, Xavier Rocher
Prod cos: Afternoon Pictures (Malaysia), Akanga Film Asia (Singapore), La Fabrica Nocturna (France), theCommonist (Malaysia)
Synopsis: In Kuala Lumpur, a Vietnamese door-to-door apartment housekeeper makes her ends meet while secretly meeting her daughter who lives with locals, until a Malay stranger mistakes her as his family during an immigration raid.
Status: Completed, premiered in Busan New Currents 2023
Dir: Minh Nguyen-Vo (Vietnam)
Prods: Nguyen Bao, Johann Chapelan, Alemberg Ang
Prod cos: East Films (US-Vietnam), Girelle Production (France), Daluyong Studios (Philippines)
Synopsis: In 1960s Vietnam, an eight-year-old boy finds a haven in a family-run cinema in a country that is being torn apart by war.
Dir: Nelicia Low (Singapore)
Prods: Sam Chua, Jeremy Chua, Patrick Mao Huang, Iza Igel
Prod cos: Potocol (Singapore), Flash Forward Entertainment (Taiwan), Harine Films (Poland)
Synopsis: When his mysterious and dangerous older brother is released from prison, high school fencer Jie believes he has changed and helps him, defying their mother’s attempts to erase him from their lives.
REGRETFULLY AT DAWN
Dir: Sivaroj Kongsakul (Thailand)
Prods: Pimpaka Towira, Lai Weijie (co-producer)
Prod cos: Extra Virgin, E&W Films (co-production)
Synopsis: An old man, a young girl and a soldier begin to discover the beauty of their life before it comes to an end.
Dir: Tan Wei Keong (Singapore)
Prods: Anthony Chen, Teoh Yi Peng
Prod co: Giraffe Pictures (Singapore)
Synopsis: Singapore animator Tan Wei Keong’s debut feature is an animated feature. A son returns to his village to see his aging parents, and his male lover has to put on a woman’s skin coat to accompany him back home.
Status: Development, production first quarter 2024
SKIN OF YOUTH
Dir: Ash Mayfair (Vietnam)
Prods: Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, Fran Borgia, Ash Mayfair
Prod cos: An Nam Productions (Vietnam), Akanga Film Asia (Singapore), Mayfair Pictures
Synopsis: In 1990s Saigon, San wants to have enough money for a sex-change operation that will fulfil her dream of living in a woman’s body. San’s lover, Nam, must work as an underground dog-cage fighter to support this dream.
Status: Pre-production, scheduled to start shooting August-September 2023
SNOW IN MIDSUMMER
Dir: Chong Keat Aun (Malaysia)
Prods: Wong Kew Soon, Chow Wai Thong, Gene Yao, Jennifer Jao
Prod cos: Janji Pictures (Malaysia), August Pictures (Singapore), Swallow Wings Films (Taiwan), Southern Islet Pictures
Synopsis: In 1969, post-election tensions gripped Kuala Lumpur while the Cantonese street opera Snow In June was being staged. Amid a riot, Ah Eng and her mother sought refuge with the opera troupe, losing contact with her brother and father.
Status: Completed, premiered in Venice Days 2023
SOLIDS BY THE SEASHORE
Dir: Patiparn Boontarig (Thailand)
Prods: Mai Meksawan, Chatchai Chaiyon
Prod cos: Diversion (Thailand), Error Brothers (Thailand)
Synopsis: Two young women meet on a once-sandy beach. Shati is a local Muslim woman from a conservative family. Fon is an activist-turned-visual artist, in town for the opening of her new art exhibition. The deeper they get to know each other, the bigger Shati’s internal conflict with her traditional roots becomes.
Status: Completed, premiered in Busan New Currents 2023
SOME NIGHTS I FEEL LIKE WALKING
Dir: Petersen Vargas (Philippines)
Prods: Alemberg Ang, Jade Francis Castro, Anthony Chen, Tan Si En
Prod cos: Daluyong Studios, Ten17p Film, (Philippines), Giraffe Pictures (Singapore), Dolce Vita Films (France)
Synopsis: A rich teenage runaway, Zion, is looking for a place to belong and falls in with a group of hustlers. When the youngest dies of an overdose, he joins a mission to fulfil the dead boy’s final wish: to go home.
Dir: Siew Hua Yeo (Singapore)
Prods: Fran Borgia, Jean-Laurent Csinidis, Stefano Centini, Dan Koh
Prod cos: Akanga Film Asia (Singapore), Films de Force Majeure (France), Volos Films (Taiwan)
Synopsis: Inspector Goh is the master of surveillance and has kept his eyes and ears on criminals, keeping them off the streets. But the curse of his profession is that he can never only choose to see one side of the story. As he keeps a close eye on a suspected credit card thief, he is drawn into the suspect’s world and starts to see himself in the skin of the perpetrator.
Status: Pre-production, scheduled to start shooting September-October 2023
THE THONGLOR KIDS
Dir: Aditya Assarat (Thailand)
Prods: Aditya Assarat, Fran Borgia
Prod cos: Pop Pictures (Thailand), Akanga Film Asia (Singapore)
Synopsis: A former professor living in a small town, who resigned his position at the university a few years ago over his support for the student protesters, has his life turned upsidedown when his best friend comes to visit and he finds himself drawn back in to the teenage hijinks that unfolds when the two of them are together.
Status: Pre-production, scheduled to start shooting October-November 2023
TIGER STRIPES [Pictured above]
Dir: Amanda Nell Eu (Malaysia)
Prods: Foo Fei Ling, Patrick Mao Huang, Fran Borgia, Juliette Lepoutre, Jonas Weydemann, Ellen Havenith, Yulia Evina Bhara
Prod cos: Ghost Grrrl Pictures (Malaysia), Flash Forward Entertainment (Taiwan), Akanga Film Asia (Singapore), Sill Moving (France), Weydemann Bros (Germany), PRPL (Netherlands), KawanKawan Media (Indonesia)
Synopsis: An 11-year-old girl reaches puberty when her body begins to morph at an alarming and horrifying rate. In fear of being labeled as a demon, she struggles to maintain being normal at school by trying to conceal her grotesque self… that is until she decides that she no longer wants to hide from the world.
Status: Completed, premiered in Cannes Critics Week [won Grand Prize]
TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME
Dir: Jow Zhi Wei (Singapore)
Prods: Fran Borgia, Jeremy Chua, Stefano Centini, Xavier Rocher, Ico Costa
Prod cos: Akanga Film Asia, Potocol (Singapore), Volos Films (Taiwan), La Fabrica Nocturna (France), Oublaum Filmes (Portugal)
Synopsis: The relationship between a middle-aged widower and his sensitive teenage son slowly becomes unbearable in the densely-packed spaces of contemporary Singapore.
Status: Completed, premiered in Berlin film festival’s Generation 14plus
TROPICAL RAIN, DEATH-SCENTED KISS
Dir: Charlotte Hong Bee Her (Singapore-US)
Prods: Tan Si En, Jerrold Chong, Giuliana Foulkes
Prod cos: Momo Film Co, Finding Pictures (Singapore), Total Blur Productions (US), Dayulong Studios (Philippines)
Synopsis: In a vision of Singapore slowly falling into a wilderness populated by spirits, the ghost of a girl’s best friend follows her home [hybrid animation].
A USEFUL GHOST
Dir: Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke (Thailand)
Prods: Cattleya Paosrijaroen, Soro Sukhum, Tan Si En
Prod cos: 185 Films (Thailand), Momo Film Co (Singapore)
Synopsis: Following the death of his wife, due to a respiratory disease caused by air pollution, a widower worries that the same fate will befall his son. His wife then returns as a ghost haunting the house vacuum cleaner to try and suck up the dust hurting her child.
VIET AND NAM
Dir: Truong Minh Quy (Vietnam)
Prods: Bianca Balbuena, Bradley Liew, Lai Weijie, Marie Dubas, Lorna Tee, Joost De Vries, Stefano Centini, Christian Jilka, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai
Prod cos: Epicmedia Productions (Philippines), E&W Films (Singapore), Deuxième Ligne Films (France), An Original Picture (Netherlands), Volos Films (Taiwan), Scarlet Visions (Germany)
Synopsis: Before leaving Vietnam in a container alongside future migrants, Nam, a young miner, seeks to find the remains of his father, a soldier killed during the civil war. But Nam’s lover, Việt, wishes they could stay forever in the depths of the coal mine.
WE ARE ALL STRANGERS
Dir: Anthony Chen (Singapore)
Prods: Anthony Chen, Teoh Yi Peng, Huang Wenhong
Prod cos: Giraffe Pictures (Singapore)
Synopsis: After Ilo Ilo and Wet Season, the third and final film of Anthony Chen’s ‘Growing Up’ trilogy will once again reunite frequent collaborators Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler as they play strangers made to become family.
Status: Shooting second half 2023
Dir: The Maw Naing (Myanmar)
Prods: The Maw Naing, Youngjeong Oh, Jeremy Chua, Charlotte Guenin, Ingrid Lill Høgtun
Prod cos: One Point Zero (Myanmar), Plus Point One (Korea), Potocol (Singapore), Massala Productions (France), DUOfilm (Norway)
Synopsis: A young Burmese woman, Mi-Thet, moves to the big city to work in a garment factory to support her family. She is forced to confront traumas in her past and in the desperate city life around her during a labor strike.