How long does it take to develop a unique national culture? Perhaps the answer can be found in Singapore. The “Lion City” has been independent for just half a century and maybe, judging from the splash the country has made at international film festivals in the last couple of years, its film directors have found out just what makes the culture of Singapore special. From May 12 to 20, you can get a shot of Singaporean cinema at the Sintok Film Festival in Roppongi, Tokyo.

The nonprofit event has been on hiatus since its debut in 2009, where festival director Yumi Matsushita and a group of volunteers drew almost 1,000 guests to the cinema. Japan-born Matsushita spent three years at school in Singapore in the late 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2008, when she met one of Singapore’s most prominent directors, that she started to notice Singaporean cinema.

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