As the lead-up to Tropfest South East Asia 2015 crescendos, the festival has announced the 16 finalists to make the cut, who will see their films screened come festival day on February 1 at Penang's The Esplanade in front of eager audiences. With each finalist having tailored their film around this year's Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), the 'Wheel', an array of representatives from five respective countries come together in a show of talent, as well as a proud demonstration of the wider South East Asian film community.

While each finalist waits with bated breath for the judges – who include famed cinematographer Christopher Doyle (find out more about his work here) – to award the prestigious Tropfest SEA trophy, along with a handsome US$12,000 cash prize, filmmakers will also undoubtedly begin dreaming of their Hollywood sabbatical. The winner will be flown off to Los Angeles on an industry immersion trip to explore the momentous filmmaking town, courtesy of the Motion Picture Association. Even those that don’t take home first place will be rewarded for their efforts, where runner-ups will enjoy a modest US$500 cash prize.

Presenting the Tropfest SEA finalists of 2015:


Lily (Vietnam)

Director: Phan Nha Trang
Producer: Phan Nha Trang

The white lillies have been dead since they were plucked from their stalks.


Colourful Knots (Cambodia)

Director: Polen Ly
Producer: Polen Ly

The knots of friendship are tightened by different colours.


The Ride (Cambodia)

Director: Sokyou Chea
Producer: Sokyou Chea

Parting is such sweet sorrow.


The Scavenger (Cambodia)

Director: Sothea Chhin
Producer: Sothea Chhin

When all they have is each other, the truth is the most important thing they'll find.


Bubble (Cambodia)

Director: Hang Sokharo
Producer: Hang Sokharo

When life is a struggle, education is still a new hope.


A Fistful of Pebbles (Cambodia)

Director: Somchanrith Chap
Producer: Somchanrith Chap

The good, the bad and the beautiful...Cambodia's first "Eastern".


Emma's Birthday (Malaysia)

Director: Joyce Huan & Nicole Goh
Producer: Koh Tsu Ann

Everybody deserves a present on their birthday.


Tank (Malaysia)

Director: Shu Kar Keng
Producer: Pang Si Kai

What happens when your daily life is like a wheel spinning on the same point?


All That Could Have Been (Malaysia)

Director: Caston J Chua
Producer: Caston J Chua

Every decision you make will result in different consequences.


Wheel Rolling Home (Malaysia)

Director: Tan Yong Lin
Producer: Tan Yong Lin

A stop motion short film about the journey of a bicycle wheel.


To Someplace (Phillippines)

Director: Jennifer Romano
Producer: Jennifer Romano, Gerard Jan Asay,
Victor Dennis Nierva

Along every road to someplace, there are stations where lives change.


Kat's Diary (Philippines)

Director: Vanessa Amante
Producer: Vanessa Amante

A woman's upside-down journey in finding her own deep inner strength.


Commune (Phillippines)

Director: Sher Bautista
Producer: Sher Bautista, Therese Cayaba

Seven finds out his partner is possibly cheating on him.


The Steel Child (Phillippines)

Director: Jake Soriano
Producer: Jake Soriano

A little boy breaks into a life beyond adversity, realising that poverty is not all about paralysis or destitution, but about strength and resolve.


The Little Reader (Phillippines)

Director: Inshallah Montero
Producer: Vanessa Yap, Taggie Montero

A mother's love encompasses death as she leaves her son a final gift.



Bond (Singapore)

Director: Pek Hong Kun
Producer: Apple Ong Liyan

An argument between sisters finds them trapped in a loop in time.




While we await the seminal screening on festival day, the days leading up to the finalists’ film reel will have film buffs busy with the Film Showcase. Hosted over two days on January 28 and 29 at the retro art hub, Hin Bus Depot Art Centre, the showcase will include a selection of short films with the Berlinale Shorts and Viddsee Shorts platforms. The showcase will also screen the highly influential feature films Transit – winner of the New Breed top film prize at Cinemalaya and selected as the Philippines’ submission for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2013 Acadamy Awards – and Lost Loves, which was selected as Cambodia’s submission for the same title for the Academy Awards in 2010.


Tropfest South East Asia premieres the finalists' films on Sunday, February 1 at The Esplanade, Penang. For more information on the festival night and satellite festival details, including Film Showcase, visit