Presenting...

CARTOONS UNDERGROUND 2020

9 to 13 December

One ticket for all 5 days

Festival FAQ

Film selection for Cartoons Underground 2020

This year, 17 works are selected from 1,321 entries submitted from 88 different countries. 7 student films from LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), will compete for the Best Singapore Student Animation award.

'Our future promising student filmmakers emerge from this category,' noted Tan Wei Keong, Program Director of Cartoons Underground. This year's lineup offers even more, with NAFA entering the competition for the first time with 'Watermelon Please' by Lim Jia Ying. 'Because students are constantly experimenting in terms of techniques and styles, the Student Competition is the most anticipated category in our lineup,' Tan says. Tackling on nostalgia and memories, 'foto time' by Renne Chua and 'It grows on you' by Mok Yuin Peng both used simple yet effective stories to tap into everyone's common universe. Tan also wants to mention 'Sexy Sushi セクシーな寿司' by Calleen Koh and Amanda Teo, who ventured bravely into bizarreness and threw existentialism into the mixture.

Representing Singapore are double duos: Chen Yanyun and Sara Chong with 'Women in Rage', and Harry Zhuang and Henry Zhuang with 'Ju Ren'. Their works join the international selection of 10 films in competition for the Best Animation, Audience Choice and Special Mention awards. Chen Xi and An Xu return with their latest work 'The Six' after having shown 'A Fly in the Restaurant' (2018) and 'The Swallow' (2015).

All the selected films this year made definitive hard choices within their narratives and images, and thus stood out from the pool of outstanding works. We dedicate our focus on Asian Animation this year after seeing a tremedous spike in independent animation filmmaking within the region. It is evident these directors are constantly honing their skills and original voices. 'A Mysterious Hat' by Du Yen-Ting from Taiwan, tells an enchanting parable-like story that is both refreshing yet oddly familar at the same time. 2020 is a crazy year - please join us in embracing the new world together with these 17 exceptional animation short films!

International Competition 1

I love you too

Everything will fall out of place

Everything'll fall out of place

Cheyenne Canaud-Wallays (France)

Synopsis: Adel sells bananas, helped by his brother Reda. But this morning, a new stupidity of Reda exasperates his brother and he decides to do without him.

Biography: Born in 1993, Cheyenne Canaud-Wallays is a French animation director. She graduated from the École Emile Cohl in 2017, where she directed 'A whisper's sound', which was selected at many festivals. In 2019 she completed her course at La Poudrière, where she directed 'Ça caille' (one-minute film), 'Crocrodile' (broadcasted on the French TV channel Tijii), and her graduation film 'Everything will fall out of place', which won the price for 'Best student movie 2020' at Rennes national animation film festival.

AWKWARD

Awkward

Nata Metlukh (USA)

Synopsis: A day full of socially awkward moments.

Biography: Nata Metlukh (Ukraine, 1982) is a Ukrainian-born animation artist and illustrator based in San Francisco. She creates visually bold, character driven works featuring urban lifestyle. Her animated films have been recognized by major film festivals and received several awards. She is a graduate of Vancouver Film School and Estonian Academy of Arts.

So I Picked Up the Worm

So I Picked Up the Worm

Li Shuqin (Japan)

Synopsis: Monotonous days make her homesick. She realizes she has to find the answers.

Biography: Li Shuqin was born in Chongqing, China in 1996. Graduated from the Animation Department of Tsinghua University in 2018. As of 2020, Li is studying at the Department of Animation at Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Film and New Media.

Ju Ren

Ju Ren 巨人

Harry Zhuang, Henry Zhuang (Singapore)

Synopsis: A seed is planted. A school of fishes washes up to a barren land. While all the fish leaps into the sea, one digs deep into the land.

Biography: The Zhuang Brothers believe that each type of animation technique has its forte that enhance the story in their own unique ways. Their first short film 'Contained' premiered at the 23rd Singapore International Film Festival. Their next short film, 'The Tiger of 142B', traveled to film festivals such as Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and the Animafest Zagreb and has won 'Best Film' in SEAShort Film and 'Rising Talent' award at Beijing's China Independent Animation Film Forum. Their recent short film 'Ju Ren' was screened at the Annecy International Animation Festival.

Tenant

Tenant

Sarah Benson (Ireland)

Synopsis: Girl moves into apartment and becomes consumed with curiosity for her reclusive, strange flatmate.

Biography: Sarah Benson is a 23 year old animator/filmmaker from Clonakilty in the South of Ireland. Benson graduated this year from The National Film School at IADT, Dun Laoghaire where she made her grad film 'Tenant'.

International Competition 2

Asian Focus

Moist

Moist

Lee Chao Ming (Taiwan)

Synopsis: Tears are soft fountain, when my tears flow, may add some moisture to the world.

Biography: Lee Chao Ming comes from Taiwan. Lee focuses on illustration and animation, and hope her work can make people fun and happy.

Women In Rage

Women In Rage

Chen Yanyun, Sara Chong (Singapore)

Synopsis: 'Women in Rage' imagines the anger of mythical female monstrosities from whom we have inherited the figure of the supernatural woman.

Biography: Sara Chong graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Digital Character Animation. Despite having a degree in digital animation, she chose to specialize in stop-motion animation and spent the rest of her time drawing and illustrating.

Dr. Yanyun Chen runs a charcoal-based drawing , animation and installation practice, and her works respond to writing — fictional and philosophical — as well as aesthetic traditions and techniques. She researches cultural wounds, and tells auto-fictional stories of dowry traditions, hereditary scars, and dressing up in nudity.

Watchmaker At Time's End

Watchmaker At Time's End

Shaheen Sheriff (India)

Synopsis: A failed marriage. A watchmaker. Meteorites. Time is uncomfortably relative as our hero struggles to make the perfect watch to keep up with the times.

Biography: Shaheen Sheriff animates and illustrates for a living and for fun. He likes to experiment with mixed media including traditional techniques, digital animation, projection mapping etc. 'Watchmaker at Time's End' was made utilizing only open source tools and workflows. He creates animations set in Indian context. This movie is a mix of several things that Sheriff personally wanted to see on screen - an animated science fiction set in his hometown in Kerala, pulling together regional elements to showcase a human story.

A Mysterious Hat

A Mysterious Hat

Du Yen-Ting (Taiwan)

Synopsis: In a cloudy forest, a hat that people fight for appeared in front of the protagonist, and then magical things kept happening...

Biography: Du Yen-Ting is from Taiwan. Graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts with a major in animation, Du is inspired by fantasies and loneliness. He creates illustrations and animations in different ways to show the images in his mind and from his observation.

The Six

The Six 白露

Chen Xi, An Xu (China)

Synopsis: A man, a woman, and a crane, in six repeating scenes.

Biography: Chen Xi started to draw comics at his early age. His works were published serially for many Chinese magazines. He graduated from Beijing Film Academy with the master degree in 2010. Chen Xi once worked as a TV animation director and an independent director. In 2010, he is awarded by a Special International Jury Prize in Hiroshima International Animation Festival. Chen Xi is the Curator of The 5th China Independent Animation Film Forum. He is currently a lecturer in Beijing Film Academy.

Singapore Student Competition

Oh Memories...

foto time

foto time

Renee Chua (Singapore)

Synopsis: It is photo day at school!

Biography: Renee is an illustrator and animator based in Singapore, currently in her final year at NTU School of Art, Design and Media. Her works are driven by warm colours, garden aesthetics, and an incapability to draw a straight line.

It grows on you

It grows on you

Mok Yuin Peng (Singapore)

Synopsis: A conversation with a friend about growing up with a “difficult to pronounce” name.

Biography: Yuin Peng is a final year animation student at the School of Art Design and Media NTU. She loves hand drawn animation and bright, rich colours and gets most of her ideas from her memories and experiences growing up. She is still new to the animation world and hopes to continue having fun in the creation process for a long long time!

Watermelon Please

Watermelon Please

Lim Jia Ying (Singapore)

Synopsis: A young man experiences a chain of events which lead him to think about his own impending end.

Biography: Jia Ying is from Malaysia and came over to Singapore to further her studies for a Diploma in Illustration Design with Animation. She is very grateful to be working in this industry while being well-supported by her friends and family. She took interest in the topics related to the acceptance of death and well-being a year ago and decided to address its importance among her peers for her final year project in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She would love to produce more films in the future related to her culture and personal interests.

A Walk In Void Country

A Walk in Void Country

Marina Chaw (Singapore)

Synopsis: ‘A Walk In Void Country’ is about my perception of the Singapore suburbs, unravelling slowly through walks as a place of quiet, mysterious beauty.

Biography: Marina Chaw was born in surburban Bedok. She enjoys void decks - the empty ground floors of local apartments - and the things that can be seen through it and found in it. She thinks of Singapore as an intriguing ‘Void Country’. Marina continues to make art describing the essence of void decks for her personal enjoyment.

Strange Occurrences: Bukit Bulabu

Strange Occurrences: Bukit Bulabu

Wong Shi Teng, Gloria Yeo, Hana Lee (Singapore)

Synopsis: Strange Occurrences: Bukit Bulabu is a fictional ghost documentary, involving an underlying family history, done in stop motion.

Biography: Wong Shi Teng and Gloria Yeo both started their animation journey in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, graduating with a Diploma in Animation and 3D Arts. Hana Lee, a Korean national residing in Singapore, graduated from School of the Arts Singapore. With the love for stop motion and a kindred quirky sense of humour and art direction, these three Directors came together and created 'Strange Occurrences' for their final year project in Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media.

Taximan

Taximan

Novella Lian (Singapore)

Synopsis: A day in the life of taxi uncle. He encountered different passengers, and their attitude affected his well being.

Biography: Novella Lian was born in Semarang, Indonesia. She moved to Balikpapan at 9, then Jakarta at 15, and now she is in Singapore, directing her graduation film at LASALLE College of the Arts.
She is interested to tell stories that revolve around the subtleties and simplicity of everyday life. Having moved around to four different cities, she found home in films and animation, and through her works, she wants to share the same joy to people.

Sexy Sushi

Sexy Sushi セクシーな寿司

Calleen Koh, Amanda Teo (Singapore)

Synopsis: A sushi's rude awakening to the true meaning of his life.

Biography: Director Calleen Koh is currently in her final year for Animation Art Bachelors in LASALLE College of the Arts. She enjoys exploring facets of the media world from the past and present through her works, both in filmmaking and fine arts.

Co-Director Amanda Teo is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Animation at LASALLE College of the Arts. She graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2016 with a Diploma in Illustration Design and Animation.

Competition Jury

SARAH CHEOK

Sarah Cheok

Sarah Cheok is a graduate of the BA (Hons) Animation Art programme at LASALLE College of the Arts. She is an aspiring independent illustrator and animator looking for more opportunities to learn and experiment with the art form.

Her graduation film 'The Growth' won the Best Singapore Student Animation award at Cartoons Underground in 2019. Her short films have been showcased at various international and local festivals including Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, IndieAni Fest Korea, International Animation Film Festival of Catalonia, Singapore Chinese Film Festival, Digicon6 and ANIMAGE. They have also been nominated for several awards at NYFA Singapore.

Tan Si En

Tan Si En

Tan Si En is a film producer and co-founder of SEA-based film agency Momo Film Co.

An alumnus of Berlinale Talents 2020 and Rotterdam Lab 2018, Si En was the producer for 'Wet Season' by Anthony Chen, which made its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019 and the assistant producer of 'POP AYE' by Kirsten Tan, which won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.

Currently, she is working on 'Arnold is a Model Student' by Sorayos Prapapan (IFFR Hubert Bals Fund) as well as 'Don't Cry Butterflies' by Linh Duong (Locarno Open Doors-Moulin d'Andé-CECI Award).

Yujin Choi

Yujin Choi

Yujin studied Cultural Studies and received her MA from the Department of Culture and Arts Management in 2007. As a professional, Yujin had been invited as committee member of several film festivals and writes article and report regularly.

Yujin is the general manager of Korean Independent Animation Filmmakers Association from 2007, and also the festival director of Indie-AniFest from 2017. She distributes Korean independent animation from 2010, the project name is ‘AniSEED’.

Viewing Advisory

International Competition 1: I love you too | 24 mins | General
International Competition 2: Asian Focus | 22 mins | Some nudity
Singapore Student Animation: Oh Memories... | 22 mins | PG