Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr Brian Shoesmith

Fourth Advisor

Motion picture industry -- Singapore


The Singapore government decided in J9H5 that making movies and turning the country into a regional film centre was an ideal venture to help develop and sustain the country's economic growth. The nation has about 3.7 million people, and although English is studied as the first language, about half of the population (especially the older generation) are more well-versed in their mother tongue, ie. Chinese, Malay or Tamil. Because of this disparity, it would appear that the Singapore market doesn't have the critical mass to sustain a film industry unless the movies are made for export. Little has been written on the Singapore film industry- information pertaining to filmmaking in the country in recent years has particularly been scarce (apart from some newspaper and magazine articles and press releases)- a hint, perhaps, of the slow growth of the industry. This thesis gives an insight into the significance history has played in producing the current filmmaking climate in Singapore. By examining the country's rather dismal film track record from its early beginnings in the early 20th century, to an in-depth analysis of two of the more popular full-length features made in the last two years, I seek to articulate the importance of identity and nationalism in the quest for a legitimate national cinema, and explore the reasons behind the economic and social need to construct a viable film industry in Singapore. Lastly, examining the current social and economic infrastructure of the country, and supported by interviews with veteran professionals from within the film industry, I hope to make an informed assessment on the possibility that Singapore might someday fulfil its dream of becoming "Hollywood of the East”.