Fund for the Arts
The inaugural Fund for the Arts is our latest initiative to combat HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, as part of our vision of ending HIV and AIDS in Singapore by 2030. Despite the biomedical advances to manage HIV infections, societal stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and other key affected populations (such as gay and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, and sex workers) remain prevalent in Singapore. This continues to be a major hurdle in the way of HIV prevention, voluntary HIV testing, antiretroviral treatment adherence, and acceptance of PLHIV.
HIV is a complex public health issue that intersects with other bases of discrimination. For those caught in the web of stigma and discrimination, their sexual health behaviours are adversely affected, including an avoiding voluntary HIV andSTI testing. Further, societal stigma prevents community outreach/prevention work and deters access to comprehensive sexual health education and services. We cannot end HIV-related stigma and discrimination without simultaneously addressing the crosscutting discrimination faced by key affected populations.
We believe that art is a powerful medium that can be harnessed to gradually change societal mindsets and attitudes. Accordingly, the Fund for the Arts aims to provide support to artists whose works are directed towards alleviating the various forms of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS and PLHIV.
We will be awarding grants of up to S$20,000 per project, subject to assessment of its scale and production value. Selection will be done by a panel appointed by AfA’s Fund for the Arts Committee.
As a pilot exercise, we are looking to fund short films or related media that fulfil the following criteria:
- Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment towards addressing stigma and discrimination faced by PLHIV and/or key affected populations;
- Employ unique, yet accessible, story-telling that will engage a general audience;
- Formatted for potential online distribution, and free of copyrighted material.
Applications are open to all Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents.
To connect with her new class, an inexperienced junior college teacher asks each student to anonymously share a personal secret. Chaos ensues when a note reads: I have HIV. The teacher races against prejudice and paranoia tracing down the child and struggles to quell the witch hunt. She ultimately succeeds when empowered students stand up for their HIV positive classmate, declaring that they are also HIV positive.
Writer and Director:
Lim Jen Nee – Pilgrim Pictures (Lim Jen Nee)
Leon Cheo – Cheo Pictures
Sam is a newly divorced man who decides to question and explore his sexual identity. He goes out all out to impress his dinner date and it goes well until a revelation turns the situation awry. The dinner date unexpectedly falls apart and Sam is forced to come to terms with his perceptions and possibly misguided notions about people with HIV.
Writer and Director:
Ng Yiqin – Optical Films
Ng Ding Jie
AfA Singapore celebrated World AIDS Day 2021 with a charity film screening of two specially commissioned short films that address Stigma & Discrimination at The Projector X on 1 December 2021.
These films were recipients of the AfA Fund for the Arts award — “The Note” by Pilgrim Pictures and “Sam” by Optical Films. The screening was hosted by Victoria Wondersnatch and was followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers Yiqin Ng, Leon Cheo and Jen Nee Lim.