A Singaporean filmmaker is appealing a ban of her documentary about her country’s political exiles.
In Tan Pin Pin’s film “To Singapore, With Love,” the director profiles nine political activists who left the city-state starting in the 1960s through the 1980s because they were threatened with jail time. According to the film’s publicity materials some haven’t returned to Singapore in over 50 years.
The documentary was set to screen in Singapore last month when the country’s Media Development Authority announced that the film was being pulled due to national security concerns. The exiles profiled in the movie gave “distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore,” the agency said in explaining the decision.
Tan is now fighting back. “By doing this, MDA is taking away an opportunity for us Singaporeans see it and to have a conversation about it and our past that this film could have started or contributed to,” she said in a statement released just after the banning.
Tan officially appealed the decision on Thursday, resubmitting the film without edits and arguing that the public had the right to see it “As we approach our 50th birthday, I feel that we as a people should be able to view and weigh for ourselves, through legitimate public screenings in Singapore, differing views about our past, even views that the government disagrees with,”she wrote in a Facebook post. Singapore gained independence from Malaysia in 1965.
At the festivals “To Singapore, With Love” has screened in, it has generally been very well received. Tan took home the best director award at the Dubai Film Festival last year.