Objectifs

by Nadia Ramli

Objectifs Centre Ltd is a non-profit visual arts space in Singapore that is dedicated to film and photography. Established in 2003, it is widely regarded as an establishment that champions local films and photography in Singapore and overseas, and nurtures photographers, filmmakers and lens-based artists. Objectifs Centre Ltd aims to “cultivate original voices in visual storytelling, and to inspire and broaden perspectives through the power of images”.1 It has played a significant role in developing contemporary photography, video art and film in Singapore.2 

Developing a vision
Objectifs Centre Ltd, also referred to as Objectifs or Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film, was founded by two Raffles Junior College alumni, Dawn Teo and Emmeline Yong. Both were business majors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and had taken filmmaking and photography classes on the side. Inspired by these classes, and being avid film buffs, they left their jobs in the banking industry to establish a school for filmmaking and photography.3 


After conducting survey research to gauge the level of interest and a study of the visual arts landscape, Teo and Yong opened Objectifs in 2003 in a restored 1,600 sq ft shophouse at 12A Liang Seah Street.4 As their programmes and artistic vision grew, Objectifs shifted to a 3,600 sq ft space at 56A Arab Street in 2009, before moving to its current 8,000 sq ft premises at 155 Middle Road in 2015.5 The current premises previously housed another art space called Sculpture Square.6 

Objectifs began as a space for professional and emerging photographers and filmmakers to hone their skills and create support networks. It also worked to expose students, hobbyists and emerging professionals to the art form via short courses and residency programmes.7 At that point, there were few educational offerings for those seeking to pursue filmmaking. Among them were programmes run by private educational initiative Media Hive (later known as Digital Media Academy) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, which offered the Film, Sound and Video (FSV) diploma course that combined theory and practice.8 

Objectifs continues to conduct workshops and screenings to advance the practice and appreciation of the art form, and has focused on creating meaningful dialogues on local and international issues through their programmes and curatorial work.9 

Engagement and programmes
Objectifs’ film outreach programme has been noted as being an important part of film education in Singapore, with thousands of students having participated and benefited from the Travelling Short Film Project since its inception in 2004. Spearheaded by Objectif’s then manager and independent film curator Wahyuni Hadi, the school programme aimed to nurture an interest and appreciation of film.10


The photography mentorship programme, Shooting Home, is one of Objectifs’ longest running programmes. It was developed as an anchor programme, which included lectures across photographic genres and one-on-one consultations with professional photographers. The programme culminated in an annual public showcase of a photography project.11 It celebrated its 10th year of the mentorship programme in 2012 with an exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, featuring works from programme participants over the decade.12 In 2018, the programme was revamped as the annual Objectifs Documentary Award, which provides two Southeast Asian photographers with financial and professional support over six months. There is also a Shooting Home Youth Awards junior programme for youths aged 15 to 23.13 

Some other programmes include Stories That Matter, a documentary programme that looks at critical issues and trends in non-fiction visual storytelling, and Women in Film and Photography Showcase, which focuses on the contributions that women make to the arts.14 Objectifs also runs residency programmes to provide space and resources to support Singapore and Southeast Asian photographers, filmmakers, creatives and artists working with lens-based art.15 Past local recipients of the residency programmes include photographer Grace Baey (2018) as well as filmmakers Tang Keng Sheng (2017) and Gladys Ng (2016).16 A film distribution arm, Objectifs Films, was launched in 2006 in partnership with Objectifs, Infinite Frameworks and Shooting Gallery Asia. It is the largest short film distributor in Southeast Asia.17 

Its recent initiative, the Objectifs Film Library, aims to be an educational and research resource for film enthusiasts, while cultivating an appreciation for films from the region. Some of these films are available for rent online, while a wider catalogue is available for viewing at their premises. The film library features more than 40 short films from Southeast Asia. Some of the filmmakers featured include Singapore directors Boo Jun Feng and Kirsten Tan, and Thailand’s Pimpaka Towira.18 

Timeline
2003:
Objectifs first opens its doors at Liang Seah Street.

2006: Objectifs Film is launched.
2009: Objectifs moves to Arab Street.
2012: Milestone exhibition of 10th year of Shooting Home is held at National Museum of Singapore.
2014: Objectifs officially becomes a non-profit organisation.
2015: Objectifs moves to Middle Road.
2018: Marks 15th anniversary with the publication 15 Objectifs. Objectifs Documentary Award (reconfigured from Shooting Home) is introduced.
2020: Objectifs Film Library is launched.



Author
Nadia Ramli



References
1. Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.). Overview. Retrieved 2020, May 20 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/overview/; Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.) About us. Retrieved 2020, May 20 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/about-us/; Chan, B. (2013, March 16). Film-makers tell own movie memoriesThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). (2018, April 5). Objectifs – Production Company. Retrieved 2020, May 19 from IMDA website: https://www.imda.gov.sg/for-industry/sectors/Media/film/production-companies/objectifs

2. Chan, B. (2013, March 16). Film-makers tell own movie memoriesThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Infocomm Media Development Authority. (2018, April 5). Objectifs – Production Company. Retrieved 2020, May 19 from IMDA website: https://www.imda.gov.sg/for-industry/sectors/Media/film/production-companies/objectifs
3. Toh, W. L. (2018, August 6). Objectifs centre for photography and film celebrates 15 years. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/objectifs-centre-for-photography-and-filmmaking-celebrates-15-years; Wong, K. H. (2003, January 26). Dream school of photo and filmThe New Paper, p. 18; Cheong, F. (2003, June 27). And action! Today, p. 72. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Cheong, F. (2003, June 27). And action! Today, p. 72. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Toh, W. L. (2018, August 6). Objectifs centre for photography and film celebrates 15 years. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/objectifs-centre-for-photography-and-filmmaking-celebrates-15-years; Chew, D. (2004, October 7). See the colourful world of LomoToday, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Toh, W. L. (2018, August 6). Objectifs centre for photography and film celebrates 15 years. The Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/objectifs-centre-for-photography-and-filmmaking-celebrates-15-years; Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.) Announcement: A new home for Objectifs. Retrieved 2020, May 20 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/a-new-home-for-objectifs/; Today’s top 5. (2009, November 21). Today, p. 76. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Hong, X. (2016). Sculpture Square. Retrieved from Singapore Infopedia.
7. Wong, K. H. (2003, January 26).What’s on at school. The New Paper, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

8. Cheong, F. (2003, June 27). And action! Today, p. 72. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Toh, W. L. (2018, August 6). Objectifs centre for photography and film celebrates 15 years. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/objectifs-centre-for-photography-and-filmmaking-celebrates-15-years; Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). (2018, April 5). Objectifs – Production Company. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from IMDA website: https://www.imda.gov.sg/for-industry/sectors/Media/film/production-companies/objectifs
10. Uhde, J. & Uhde, Y. N. (2010). Latent images: Film in Singapore. Singapore: Ridge Books, p. 63. (Call no.: RSING: 384.8095957 UHD)
11. Huang, L. (2012, October 16). A decade of shooting at homeThe Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Huang, L. (2012, October 16). A decade of shooting at homeThe Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Toh, W. L. (2018, August 6). Objectifs centre for photography and film celebrates 15 years. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/objectifs-centre-for-photography-and-filmmaking-celebrates-15-years; Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.) Shooting home youth awards. Retrieved 2020 May 20 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/tag/shya/
14. Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.) Stories that matter. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website:  https://www.objectifs.com.sg/tag/stm/; Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.). Women in film and photography. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/tag/wifp/
15. Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.). Overview. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/overview/; Objectifs Centre Ltd (n.d). Residency. Retrieved 2020 May 18 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/tag/residency/
16. Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.). Residency recap: Grace Baey in Yangon, Myanmar. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/residency-recap-grace-baey/; Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.). Filmmaker-in-residence 2017 – SG/IN. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://www.objectifs.com.sg/filmmaker-in-residence-2017b/
17. Uhde, J. & Uhde, Y. N. (2010). Latent images: Film in Singapore. Singapore: Ridge Books, p. 64. (Call no.: RSING: 384.8095957 UHD); Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). (2018, April 5). Objectifs – Production Company. Retrieved 2020, May 18 from IMDA website: https://www.imda.gov.sg/for-industry/sectors/Media/film/production-companies/objectifs; Time Out says. (2009, January 12). Time Out Singapore. Retrieved from Time Out Singapore website: https://www.timeout.com/singapore/film/objectifs-centre-for-photography-filmmaking
18. Chiu, A. (2020, April). ShoutOUT! Objectifs launches new digital platform for Southeast Asian short films. Sindie. Retrieved from Sindie website: https://www.sindie.sg/2020/04/shoutout-objectifs-launches-new-digital.html; Objectifs Centre Ltd. (2020). About Objectifs Film Library. Retrieved 2020, May 20 from Objectifs Centre Ltd website: https://objectifsfilmlibrary.uscreen.io/pages/about-objectifs-film-library 



Further Resources
Hadi, W. A. (Ed.). (2013). Behind the camera: Personal recollections of contemporary Singapore cinema. Singapore: Objectifs Pte Ltd. (Call no.: RSING 791.43095957 BEH)


Lui, H. S. & Chua, R. (2018). Passing time: A photography book. Singapore: Objectifs Centre Ltd. (Call no.: RSING 778.9995957 LUI)

Objectifs Centre Ltd. (2018). 15 Objectifs. Singapore: Objectifs Centre Ltd. Available via PublicationSG. 


The information in this article is valid as at September 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Objectifs Centre Ltd.
Organisations>>Associations>>Arts Groups
Arts organisations

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