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15 Shorts: Films with Heart by City of Good Singapore

We’re constantly consuming media. May it be on your phone or laptop, we’re always giving our attention to something on the internet be it for work, play, or school. But how much of what we consume actually enriches us? Or moves us—or even leaves an impression given our short attention spans?

Here’s a project that uses the internet for good. 15 Shorts is a filmmaking project by the City of Good, created and supported by The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).

15 Shorts consists of 15 short films helmed by a trove of Singaporean filmmakers who attempt to capture the lesser-told Singaporean stories from the 1970s to the 1990s. A partnership between NVPC and Blue3Asia, these films provide an alternative perspective to the nation-building era of Singapore. On top of superb storytelling, each director has dedicated their film to bring awareness to their respective charities of choice in Singapore.

I must say, watching all 15 of these shorts in one sitting was a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me. Each and everyone all hit a different spot in my heart. All the films conveyed a heartwrenching tale with breathtaking cinematography and beautifully written scripts. If you’re keen to learn more about the lesser-known histories of our beloved red dot with the most respectful and accurate depictions, check out my top five picks of the lot.

1. Guilty

Credit – 15 Shorts

Directed by: Sun Ji
Charity: Boy’s Town

“If you set it free, will it return?”

“The birds are just like kids, you allow them out to leave the cage and give them freedom. They might not even know how to come back.”

Guilty tells the story of the violent and taunting bully—Don Tan and how his investigation officer—Chia, chooses to deal with his case with unexpected kindness and sympathy.

“This boy is trash. Everyone here thinks that he is trash. But what I have to say is, since trash can be recycled, why can’t he be?”

Guilty | Watch Here

2. Majid The Legend

Credit – 15 Shorts

Directed by: JianHao Tan with Ridwan Azman,
Charity: SportCares

“I see a boy with heart, but no direction!” The YouTube famous duo tell the story of Majid Ariff, a famed footballer of the 1960s. Throwback to the days of the Kampung with the unlikely mentorship of Majid and Choo. Choo in this film plays the real-life Singapore National Team (1950s – 1970s) coach—Choo Seng Quee. The man who discovered and trained Majid Ariff. This tale is told with creative top-down shots and convincing scriptwriting, follow Majid and Choo’s journey as he trains to become one of Singapore’s best football players in history.

Maji The Legend | Watch Here

3. One At A Time

Credit – 15 ShortsDirected by: Daniel Yam
Charity: Heart to Heart Service

Based on the life of Teresa Hsu—she was known as the ‘Singapore Mother Teresa’. This film depicts different fragments of her journey as she dedicates her life to giving in different forms. Be moved with the emotional acting and affective camerawork, even I was inspired to volunteer for the Heart to Heart Service.

“There are so many hungry people, we can help everyone, what difference does it make?” “To you, she may not make much of a difference, but for her, you have made all the difference.”

One At A Time | Watch Here

4. Shanti

Credit – 15 Shorts

Directed by: Chong Yu Lun
Charity: Mainly I Love Kids (MILK) fund

Shanti tells the story of Kelvin and the unlikely promise he makes with his condo’s security guard, Shanti. It is based on the true story of Kelvin Lee—the recipient of the Good Neighbour Award from Sembawang GRC in 1999. Let this short give you hope for the kindness of humanity. The beauty of this short lies in the depiction of bridging the gap between two people of different socioeconomic backgrounds and the wonders of what humans can do when they go above and beyond.

Shanti | Watch Here

5. The Buddy

Credit – 15 Shorts

Directed by: Jason Lee
Charity: Autism Association

“In everyone’s childhood, there’s always one friend we will remember. One Special friend. This is our story.” The Buddy takes us through a very touching narrative of two boys and their unadulterated friendship. This film carries themes of kindness and acceptance—a sort of chicken soup for the soul. Watch as Hidayat wholly accepts Tam with child-like purity despite his classmates feeling otherwise. Truly a moving film, The Buddy teaches us to look beyond one’s shortcomings and love a person for they are and not what society expects them to be.

The Buddy | Watch Here

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