Ireland/Singapore. 2014. English
Date: 18th June 2017. Time: 1400-1500. Venue: KLT@SOAS
Ghost Empire § Singapore looks at Section 377A, which criminalizes male homosexuality with up to two years prison sentence. A British colonial law, it is based on the Victorian era Labouchere amendment, the same law which criminalized Oscar Wilde in England a century ago. The film follows two constitutional challenges being taken between 2010 and 2014 by Tan Eng Hong, and Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee, one resulting from a conviction as the result of sex in a public toilet, the other brought by a couple who have been together 16 years. The film also references state and media censorship, with footage from the Pink Dot, a quasi Pride which takes place in Hong Lim Park, the only space in the whole of Singapore where it is legal to protest at all, and also explores Christianity and other colonial legacies including the death penalty.
Movie Screening will be followed by Q&A with Director Susan Thomson
About Susan Thomson
Susan Thomson is a writer and filmmaker. She holds a Masters in European Literature and Film from Magdalen College, Oxford University, an MA in Modern Languages from Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a Masters in Fine Art from DLIADT, Dublin. She has received numerous project awards from the Arts Council. Her book The Swimming Diaries is available from Artbook @ MoMA PS1, New York and is held in the collection of the Live Art Development Agency, and she has also written for Circa, the Times, Women’s News and JSTOR. She was part of the ‘Troubling Ireland’ Think Tank, led by Danish curators Kuratorisk Aktion in association with Fire Station Artist Studios, Dublin.
She has directed a trilogy of films on British postcolonial LGBT issues, Ghost Empire, funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. Ghost Empire § Singapore most recently screened at Anthology Film Archives, New York City in 2016. Ghost Empire § Cyprus (2014, 35 mins) / Singapore (2014, 59 minutes) were nominated together as a feature for best international film at MICGénero film festival, Mexico City in 2015 and selected to tour round seven Mexican states.
Ghost Empire § Singapore won the award for best feature film at Direct Short and Documentary Film Festival, July 2015. The Ghost Empire films were official selections at Kashish Mumbai Queer International Film Festival, Unspoken Human Rights Film Festival, New York, World of Film, CCA, Glasgow, Culture Unplugged and screened at Yale NUS, Edinburgh University, Limerick City Gallery, Ireland, EMAA, Nicosia and the Scottish Government, Edinburgh. The project was quoted in a report ‘Speaking Out’ for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.