12 Feb 2010

'A Single Man' Fundraising Gala Premiere, Mar 3 (Singapore)

Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the Fridae Community Development Fund, which will for the first time invite applications from Singapore-based LGBT individuals or groups for grants.

Starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode (middle) and Nicholas Hoult (last). For more info, visit fridae.asia/asingleman

Fridae will present the A Single Man Fundraising Gala Premiere on Mar 3 to benefit the Fridae Community Development Fund.

The widely anticipated film is the debut feature by openly gay American fashion designer Tom Ford who is said to have surprised the critics by making one of the year's best films. A Single Man boasts an Oscar-nominated performance from Colin Firth (Bridget Jones's Diary) as George, a bereaved college professor facing stark life choices in early-60s California after having lost his longtime partner, Jim in a car crash. Four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven) plays George’s confidante, one of the few who knows of his sexuality.

Winner of the Queer Lion (Best Gay Picture) award at the 66th Venice Film Festival, the film is an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novelette of the same name which is often cited as the first masterpiece in modern gay literature. 

“A lot of places in A Single Man, there was no dialogue. We are just watching George do things. So the sound or lack of it was especially important. Silence, for me, has also been a very important element. Some of the most arresting moments that you can have on film can be silent. You really pay attention,” says co-writer/director Ford who is credited with reviving the fashion houses of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. 

“A great movie haunts you,” says the 49-year-old Ford. “It’s both entertaining and thought provoking. In that way, I hope that A Single Man makes you question things… think about things in a way that you haven’t thought about before.” 

He adds, “I am hopeful that it will show the audience that the small things in life are really the big things in life.” 

Fridae Community Development Fund

The announcement of the movie fundraiser – the seventh since 2005 – has been timed to coincide with the announcement that individuals or groups in Singapore will be able to apply for grants for LGBT-related projects between S$500 to S$2,000 from the Fridae Community Development Fund (CDF). The eligibility and grant application procedure will be announced later this month. 

Funds from previous movie fundraisers have benefitted LGBT-community community projects such as Indignation, Singapore’s gay pride festival; Pink Dot, the first-ever official LGBT public gathering held in May 2009 in Singapore and two award winning gay-themed short films Tanjong Rhu and Threshold by Boo Junfeng and Loo Zihan respectively. 

Both filmmakers have told Fridae separately that they were unable to raise funds from conventional sources due to the content of their films. Organisers of gay related events have also found it difficult to raise funds given Singapore's legal climate with Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code that not only bans gay sex acts but in effect undermines the legitimacy of gay and lesbian individuals and groups as they are unable to to register officially as a society or organisation. People Like Us, a gay advocacy group which puts together the main schedule for the annual Indignation festival, had their application to form a society rejected twice by the Registrar of Societies.

Bryan Choong Centre Manager of Oogachaga, a gay-affirmative non-profit counselling organisation, told Fridae that despite being a official organisation under Spaces Counselling and Community Limited their requests for event or prize sponsorships typically either go unanswered or if lucky, a reply such as "our company’s current policy or marketing objectives is not in line with your organisation's mission.''

When told that the Fridae CDF will for the first time accept applications from individuals or groups intending to organise LGBT-related projects, he said: “It is really good to hear that Fridae is working on a community fund. This sounds like a very good strategic move after various fundraising events. I think it also gives the ownership of community building back to the LGBT communities.”

Dr Stuart Koe, CEO of Fridae, says the initiative is founded on the company’s commitment to empower the LGBT community and hopes to make funding more accessible to groups who are unable to organise officially. The application will be judged by an external panel on the project’s potential social impact and value to the LGBT community.

“It’s time we do something for ourselves. Having a source of funding - no matter how small - enables ideas, and the enthusiasm and desire to do something for the community to become reality. What might seem like a small effort can serve as examples and inspire others to build on them.”

A Single Man Fundraising Gala Premiere
(Rating to be advised)
Date: 3 Mar 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 9 pm (Reception for VIPs from 7.30 pm)
Venue: The Grand Cathay, 2 Handy Road
Tickets**: USS$10 (Standard) / US$30 (VIP*)
* VIP Tickets include pre-show reception and premium seats.
**Proceeds will go towards the Fridae Community Development Fund
Tickets are available online at fridae.asia/asingleman

Fridae would like to thank sponsors Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) and The Garden Slug for their support of the A Single Man Fundraising Gala Premiere. Potential donors can contact info at fridae.com for more details about the Fridae Community Development Fund.