Some of my friends are behind this initiative, YourFilm.SG.
I encourage you to participate; if not to win, then to at least put YourFilm.SG's promise of accessible expression to the test.
According to the website, "the theme for this year is YOUTHniquely Singapore, giving youths of any background" - but only those "youths" between 13 and 35 years old - "the opportunity to convey what, in their opinion, makes Singapore unique", and to keep the "competition as accessible to the masses as possible, the organisers will be accepting films captured using any type of video recording device, including mobile phone cameras and digicams".
The website then goes on to say, "all entries will be showcased on to the world once they are approved and uploaded to this website" and there are "great [cash] prizes to be won".
Note, however, that little is said about the approval criteria or even how the winners will be picked. In such a situation, one can only hazard a guess.
It is interesting to also note that the "audience choice" winner will take home the smallest share of the bounty.
If this is a contest to honour expression, it may have been ideal to let the people express their choice and pick all the winners.
To me, to be a youth has always been an opportunity to question and to do the things that one will probably be less comfortable doing as an adult.
It is also a fantastic opportunity to be idealistic or contrarian; to basically test what in common parlance is known as the "out-of-bound" markers.
I hope youths will jump on this opportunity by submitting entries that will question and provoke thought; that will be idealistic or contrarian; and that will test the organisers censorship - oops, "approval" - criteria.
In the spirit of idealism that defines youth, one can only hope that the judges will not differentiate between those "approved" films that pay homage to the laurels of Singapore's political masters and those that are less than politically correct.
Of course, it will be fantastic if a young person whose family really needs the money is rewarded for his pure creative talent rather than the bias of his film.
When I was a college-going youth, my interview with David Marshall could never be published unedited, given the circumstances then.
But after a decade, it happened; it has now not only been published by the Law Society, it's also been featured in a magazine for male professionals, Lexean, and many other online sites too!
And the satisfaction I got from this far surpasses a dollar value that one can ever place on it. Happiness indeed.
With today's technology, doing what I did will take less than decade. So if YourFilm.SG does not "approve" your film, don't worry; there's always YouTube!
Oh yes, if you're one of those "unapproved" film-makers, make sure you leave a link to your film on this blog page!
Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this?