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This year’s edition will run entirely online from 25 August – 2 September 2021.

We continue to explore the theme established in SeaShorts 2020: Reimagining Short Films, Reinventing Southeast Asia. It is an invitation for Southeast Asian filmmakers to come together, to share our visions and stories that are both unique and yet familiar to each other, and to weave the future narrative of the region while constantly challenging the idea of what a short film can be in today’s media landscape.

To see the scheduled dates for each program or session, please check out our Festival Schedule.

Film Programs

Structures of Feeling: Letters from a Young Poet
(Opening Program)

Under the guidance of radical, multi-hyphenate Filipino director Khavn de la Cruz, filmmakers participating in the “Film Pantun Workshop” organized by SeaShorts Film Society experiment with rhythm, structure, and cadence of the traditional pantun form to produce fleeting, diaristic shorts that illuminate the mystery of the ordinary everyday, in search of their inner poetic voices. Structures of Feeling: Letters from a Young Poet is the Opening Programme for SeaShorts Film Festival 2021.

“In the times of bigness, spectaculars, one hundred million dollar movie productions, I want to speak for the small, invisible acts of human spirit: so subtle, so small, that they die when brought out under the Klieg lights. I want to celebrate the small forms of cinema: the lyrical form, the poem, the watercolor, etude, sketch, portrait, arabesque, and bagatelle, and little 8mm songs. In the times when everybody wants to succeed and sell, I want to celebrate those who embrace social and daily failure to pursue the invisible, the personal things that bring no money and no bread and make no contemporary history, art history or any other history. I am for art which we do for each other, as friends.” – Excerpt from Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto By Jonas Mekas

SeaShorts Competition

The SeaShorts Competition is dedicated to finding and nurturing Southeast Asian filmmaking talents who take a distinctive approach to short form cinema. This year, 20 films (across 5 programs) are in consideration for the coveted SeaShorts Award.

Gardens Inside the Box

From micro to macro, time ahead and back. Implosion and Explosion. Selected works from the Image Forum Festival 2020 Asian Experimental Competition section which contains Shinya Isobe’s Grand Prize-winning work 13.
Programmer: Koyo Yamashita

No Home Movies

In collaboration with Golden Harvest Film Festival, these 4 shorts explore the liminal spaces immigrant-remigrants drift between, often navigating and aspiring, to become all the selves they thought they could be in another country, while remembering and contesting, all that they have left behind.
Programmer: Lim Wei Jie

Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival: Best of Lab Competition

In our inaugural collaboration with Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, we present to you the Lab program – a section dedicated to the best in experimental, non-narrative, and aesthetically adventurous cinema.
Programmer: Tim Redford

A Blessed Place: New Vietnamese Cinema

In the past few years, Vietnamese short films have exploded with vibrant, new energy. Formally daring, highly stylised, and relentlessly inventive with streaks of surrealism, these films have garnered much success and recognition in the global festival circuit. This survey celebrates a fresh movement in which a new generation of trailblazing Vietnamese directors with singular voices emerge collectively from an audaciously innovative time and place.
Programmer: Phan Dang Di


This selection of short and medium-length works highlights a range of concerns: performance, family, history, velocity, and disappearance. The filmmakers’ diverse approaches connect the modes of the personal essay, the film-letter, the documentary, and the avant-garde formal experiment; all are linked by the urgency of the need to communicate the experience of a lived moment in time.
Programmer: Chris Fujiwara


At a time when many people around the world feel the desire to return to conditions as they were before the pandemic, it seems appropriate to explore the ways that the idea of “returning” has been reflected in cinema. This program features essayistic and experimental films that deal with various kinds of return: the physical act of coming back to the same place, the mental act of returning to the past in memory, and haunting by ghosts.
Programmer: Chris Fujiwara

Dispatches from the Mekong Region: Cambodia

Attractively realistic short films are proudly presented from Cambodia. These shorts depict internal struggles of contemporary protagonists with carefully designed visual and sound elements, which can appeal to any generation.
Programmer: Park Sung Ho

Dispatches from the Mekong Region: Myanmar

This program is a young and new voice of independent filmmakers from Myanmar. With the social-political changes of the country, these young filmmakers bring a new voice into Myanmar’s independent film scene.
Programmer: Thaiddhi

Dispatches from the Mekong Region: Thailand

These three films reflect the upcoming filmmakers’ concern about Thailand’s social and political situation
Programmer: Sanchai Chotirosseranee

Dispatches from the Mekong Region: Vietnam

During the pandemic, we might try to escape from our feelings and reality. These short films depict different ways of denying and finding the meaning of life.
Programmer: Marcus Manh Cuong Vu


Past, Present and Future of Film Audio

From mono to stereo to surround and now spatial, how much do you understand about film audio? What are the various standards and requirements? Join Deity Microphones Regional Manager Chen Jinfu and award-winning veteran sound designer and producer Jeremiah Foo as they explain the past, present and future of film audio.
Speakers: Chen Jinfu & Jeremiah Foo

Recording Audio For Short Films

Recording sound for a short film is challenging and even with the best will in the world, not everything will go to plan, especially when we are working at different unique locations with different crew members, filming and lighting equipment and such. Using high end equipment is not always necessary, but some projects might require timecode synchronisation or the lavalier miking of a number of performers, in which case a professional field recorder will be necessary. We will explore what to look out for in audio recording gear, tips and hacks.
Speaker: Mike Mayuni Omar


A Chorus Must Have Many Voices: Surveying Contemporary Vietnamese Cinema

Bringing together some of Vietnam’s most exciting new talents whose films have travelled the film festival circuit globally, this panel surveys the current state of contemporary Vietnamese cinema through the eyes of its emerging practitioners. From shifts in the industry to challenges experienced throughout the production process, young Vietnamese filmmakers will discuss their hopes, aspirations, and plans for a filmic landscape finding its place in world cinema.

Viet Vu
Pham Ngoc Lan
Vu Minh Nghia
Pham Hoang Minh Thy

Alfonse Chiu

Strange Pictures: Artist Videos, Experimental Cinema, and the New Media Turn

Exploring contemporary developments in the ecology of the moving image from various artistic and geographical perspectives, this panel brings together practitioners from across Southeast Asia whose works lie in the intersections of curatorial, artistic, and filmic concerns to discuss the historical developments leading to the current artistic landscape, as well as trajectories and future possibilities in how a moving image practice could be defined in the regional context.

Sam I-shan
Los Otros
Tuan Andrew Nguyen

Alfonse Chiu


The World Festival Circuit Post-Covid: Resilience, Mutations and Opportunities
with Jean-Michel Frodon
moderated by Thong Kay Wee

In this talk, French journalist and film critic Jean-Michel Frodon will explore what we have learnt, regarding film festivals, from the COVID-19 crisis. What were the useful responses? What needs to be improved, or changed? To what respect is the festival situation likely to transform the cinema scene in general?

Writing Resistance
with Alfian Sa’at
moderated by Alfonse Chiu

In the face of discursive oppressions by state actors and powers, how can the medium of text be mobilised as a form of dissent and active citizenry to speak truth to power and resistance? Exploring the different strategies adopted by artists and filmmakers from around Southeast Asia to create work under authoritarian conditions, Singaporean playwright Alfian Sa’at will survey and situate possibilities for expressing dissent and counter-narratives through both regional case studies and personal experiences.

The Art of the Story: From Text to Screen
with Phan Dang Di
moderated by Alfonse Chiu

Vietnamese filmmaker and screenwriter Phan Dang Di will share about his practice as filmmaker, screenwriter, and educator, who has worked on both independent and commercial productions. With a general focus on developing a good story, and how to turn it into a good screenplay ready for shooting, Phan’s masterclass will draw from his personal experiences as a director and screenwriter of independent films that have since travelled the festival circuit, and his own writing process.

Going International: Film Festivals as Pathway for Young Filmmakers
with Raymond Phathanavirangoon
moderated by Alfonse Chiu

SEAFIC Executive Director Raymond Phathanavirangoon will discuss in detail about how film festivals are instrumental in a filmmaker’s international career, as well as giving a breakdown of the major film festivals around the world. Drawing from his experiences as sales agent, festival programmer and international producer, Phathanavirangoon will delve into what makes a film project international, and advise on the best pathway for young filmmakers to embark upon for their international film career.

Film Writing in the Age of the Web Found Footage
with Ismael Joffroy Chandoutis
moderated by Julie Loffi

Why do we still organize expansive shooting to create new images in a world already saturated with representations? Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis invites us to discover his methods of filmmaking through the prism of the web and film editing. A dive into the experience of real time, of flow, of liquid art, where time is sculpted within the images themselves.

The Many Lives of the Film
with Meiske Taurisia
moderated by Alfonse Chiu

Indonesian producer, programmer, and distributor Meiske Taurisia will explore the ecosystem of the film industry and the lifecycle of a film from conception to exhibition and beyond. Drawing from her works as a producer, co-founder of production companies babibutafilm and Palari Films, manager of distribution platform Kolektif, and founder of microcinema Kinosaurus, Taurisia will discuss her experiences in seeing projects, both shorts and features, through from an initial idea to distribution, and examine how a film can maximise its life in both the festival circuit and the cinema.



Curated by Gertjan Zuilhof, Unlocked is a digital exhibition featuring the works of 7 Southeast Asian filmmakers: The Maw Naing (Myanmar), Mouly Surya (Indonesia), Jet Leyco (Philippines), Sivaroj Karn Kongsakul (Thailand), Amanda Nell Eu (Malaysia), Dain Said (Malaysia), and Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia). Ruminating on ideas of distance, displacement, and the mechanisms of coping with prolonged seclusion, Unlocked proposes a glimpse into the lives and practices of cosmopolitan artists who are forced into isolation as a result of the ongoing pandemic that disrupted innumerable events, programmes, and projects; impacting the arts and cinema at an extraordinary scale and intensity.

The exhibition will be available here on the SeaShorts website until 30 September 2021.