Sun Koh is an award-winning Singaporean filmmaker whose films have competed and screened in more than 30 film festivals worldwide. She has worked across countries such as Singapore, China and Sweden, and her filmography is a diverse mix of format, genres and styles including short films, TV movies, omnibus features, documentary films and music videos both commissioned and independent. She received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 2010.
Koh is the third and illegal offspring of a family of Teochew cooks during an era of Singapore’s two-child policy. Her poor hawker parents were slapped with a state fine for giving birth to her in 1977. She did not speak a word till 4 years old and is making up for lost time.
Sun studied Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (1994-1997) to become a journalist but became a filmmaker instead.
After 3 years of working for TVC directors from the Asia Pacific region, she made her debut short film “The Secret Heaven” and became the first Singaporean to win the Silver Hugo at the 38th Chicago International Film Festival in 2002.
Between 2002 and 2005, she worked as a director for TV documentaries and dramas in Singapore, before venturing into directing and editing TV commercials in 2006.
2006 also saw her return to independent filmmaking with “Bedroom Dancing”, a daring fictional adaptation of a story reported in various Singapore media. The film was generally recognized for pushing censorship limits in scissor-happy Singapore.
In 2008, Sun executive-produced LUCKY 7, an exquisite-corpse feature by 7 Singaporean directors — Sun Koh, K Rajagopal, Boo Junfeng, Brian Gothong Tan, Chew Tze Chuan, Ho Tzu Nyen and Tania Sng. The film world premiered in Rotterdam and was in competition in Singapore and Vancouver IFF. In 2009, LUCKY 7 was nominated for 3 categories at the Singapore Film Awards – Best Film, Best Performance, and Best Cinematography.
She was commissioned by IFF Rotterdam to make a short film inspired by the oeuvre of Claire Denis under the program "Meet The Maestro". The entertaining short titled "Dirty Bitch" world premiered at the IFF Rotterdam 2009 together with Claire Denis' "35 Rhums".
Sun also served as NETPAC and NEW ARRIVALS jury at IFF Rotterdam 2009 et al.
She is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Campus 2003 chaired by Wim Wenders & the Asian Film Academy (Pusan) 2007 chaired by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and the 1st Golden Horse Film Academy chaired by Hou Hsiao Hsien, taught by Lee Ang, John Woo, Stanley Kwan, Mark Lee Ping-Bing.
Sun completed an omnibus feature film pre-selected for the 2010 Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei, and wrote her debut feature “A Million Monkeys”.
In 2018, she produced "Presence", a 360 film which places the viewer in the presence of a family that is witnessing the death of a loved one at home. The title also refers to the most important yet overlooked aspect of caring for a dying person. One can provide the best palliative care by hiring professionals and ensuring material comfort, but it is one's presence that will make all the difference to a dying person. The film premiered at OBJECTIFS, 155 Middle Road, Singapore 188977.
- A Million Monkeys - 2010
- Dirty Bitch - 2009
- Lucky 7 - 2008
- Bedroom Dancing (Chun Guang Dang Yang) - 2006
- The Secret Heaven - 2002
- "Sun Koh", Festival Scope Pro, 2010.
- "Personally Speaking: Sun Koh", OBJECTIFS Centre for Photography and Film, 14 December 2018.
This article was compiled by Roy Tan.