SINGAPORE: Singapore will hold Asia's very first International Buddhist Film Festival, May 17-20.
The four-day event originated in America and has enjoyed sold-out performances in Los Angeles, New York and Washington.
But organisers hope the movies can also enhance inter-religious harmony in Singapore.
There is more to cooking than it seems...at least according to documentary "How to Cook Your Life", where an American Zen priest of cookery highlights how it is also an act of love and generosity.
The film, making its Asian debut, is one of nine showcased at the festival.
"Typically Buddhism is associated with Asia or monks and robes and things and whereas this is very much it expands the horizons what Buddhist cinema is about. It's [also] about women filmmakers, it’s about people who are exploring Buddhist ideas with the lens," says Bhavna Vedhara, organiser of the International Buddhist Film Festival, Singapore.
"The film medium is a powerful source. We hope to promote the Buddhist values of love, wisdom and compassion, which is with all other religions. And so this first Buddhist film festival is meant for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, so this inter-faith dialogue can connect us better," says Billy Lee, Co-Organiser, International Buddhist Film Festival, Singapore.
Another movie featured is "Shower", which won best film at the recent Seattle Film Festival.
The tragic-comedy is about how a son connects with his estranged father through an antique bathhouse.
"There's the sadness and the laughs. But you're also getting the younger directors making thrillers and all sorts of films you wouldn't normally associate with Buddhism. So it's interesting how you know the philosophy is still very much relevant in the 21st century," says Geoffrey Malone, Advisory Member, International Buddhist Film Festival, Singapore.
"What I'd love to see [are] some filmmakers here tackling the genres and see what they make of it," he continues.
Since the first festival in 2003, four others have been held in places such as Amsterdam and New York.
Even though this is the very first one held in Asia, organisers already have plans to make it a bi-annual event in Singapore, and expand it to include audiences in the region in the future.
The International Buddhist Film Festival kicks off on May 17. - CNA/yy