Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen’s Drift awarded prestigious Gandhi medal

SINGAPORE – Home-grown director Anthony Chen’s first English-language feature film Drift has been awarded a prestigious prize at the 54th International Film Festival of India held in Goa, India on Nov 28.

Drift, starring Oscar-nominated English actress Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, 2019), was awarded the prestigious ICFT-Unesco Gandhi Medal.

The ICFT, also known as the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication, is the United Nations’ cultural agency Unesco’s advisory body on film, television and new media.

The Gandhi medal is an honour given to a film that best encapsulates the ideals of late Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated for peace and non-violence.

Drift emerged the winner among 10 nominated films, which include works from Sweden, Georgia, India and more.

Based on the novel A Marker To Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik, Drift tells the story of a Liberian refugee named Jacqueline (Erivo) who escapes to a Greek island and develops a deep connection with a tour guide, played by American actress Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, 2003 to 2019).

Chen accepted his award via a recorded speech from the Philippines, where he is promoting his latest movie, Chinese-Singaporean romance drama The Breaking Ice (2023).

In his speech, Chen referenced the suffering in the Middle East and Ukraine, and said he hopes Drift “is a start towards healing and recognising our common humanity”.

The film also nabbed two awards earlier in November. It won both the Fipresci Prize and Jury Prize at the Festival International de Cinema d’Auteur de Rabat in Rabat, Morocco.

Drift, which had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January 2023, will premiere in Singapore during the upcoming Singapore International Film Festival, which begins on Nov 30.

Chen will attend screenings of Drift on Dec 5 and 10, where he will also participate in question-and-answer sessions.

Singapore International Film Festival

Where: Various venues, including Filmgarde Leisure Park Kallang, Golden Village x The Projector at Cineleisure and Gallery Theatre at the National Museum of Singapore
When: Nov 30 to Dec 10, various times
Admission: Free and ticketed (from $10)

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