Hotline: 90170160
Promoting film as art and entertainment since 1958

Frequently asked questions

Table of contents


About SFS membership

What are the benefits of becoming a member?

  1. Members get free admission to core screenings.
  2. Members enjoy priority booking for, and/or concessionary (discounted or free) admission to film festivals jointly organized by the society and other cultural partners.
  3. The society provides a platform for networking and exchange among film-buffs who share this common interest; seminars and workshops are organized with film directors, critics, scriptwriters, and other cinema industry practitioners.

How much does membership cost?

Please refer to our membership fee page for details.

Senior citizen discount applies if you are 50 years old and older.

How long is my membership valid for?

It depends on whether you sign up for the 3-month, 6-month or 12-month individual membership.

SFS Reel Cards are valid for 2 years.

Your membership period includes the month of joining, irrespective of the day of the month on which you join. For example, if you sign up for a 12-month membership on 31 January 2005, your membership will begin from the month of January and end on the last day of December 2005. Please see our Join Us page for details.

Is the membership transferable?

No, you may not give your membership card to a friend. However, with the SFS Reel Card, you may bring up to 2 guests to SFS screenings. Details for the SFS Reel Card are here.

How do I become a member?

  • Come to any of our members-only core screenings, and sign up at the door. We will issue your membership card on the spot. Please arrive about 20 to 30 minutes early so that you have enough time to sign up. (Please check our home page for the next scheduled core screening)

How do I renew my (lapsed) membership?

Just show up at any of our SFS screenings to renew your membership at our table. The next screening date is shown on our homepage at


About SFS core screenings

I am not a member of SFS. Can I still attend a screening by buying a movie ticket?

Most of the SFS core screenings are for members-only with the exception of SFS Talkies @ The Arts House and film festivals organised by us, e.g. the annual Japanese Film Festival and Singapore Chinese Film Festival, where SFS Members get to purchase discounted tickets.

For Members-only events, the public are always welcome to sign up at the door. We will issue you with a membership card on the spot, and you can then attend the screening.

Alternatively, you may attend a screening as a guest of a SFS Reel Card holder. SFS Reel Card holders may bring up to 2 guests.

More info:

Can members bring guests?

Yes, if you are using the SFS Reel Card. You may bring up to 2 guests.

Where are the films shown?

Our base screening venue is GV Suntec City. We also screen films at GV VivoCity, GV Grand (Great World City), Cathay Cineplexes, Shaw Theatres, Filmgarde, The Arts House, and the Gallery Theatre at The National Museum of Singapore. Please see our venues page for details of these locations.

Are the screenings free seating?

Yes for our core screenings. For film festivals, seating may or may not be assigned.

Has the screening time always been traditionally scheduled at 9 pm? Has the Society thought about moving it forward to 8 pm?

Many of our screenings are held at multiplex cinemas, which we hire from the respective exhibitors such as GV. We are gratified by the longstanding support given to SFS by the theatrical venue operator community. As it is customary for most cinemas in Singapore to programme two evening sessions (7pm & 9pm, or their equivalents), it would only be possible for SFS to schedule its own screenings at an 'in-between' time such as 8pm if we were to book both slots from the cinema owner. This in turn would mean that SFS would either have to pay double, or deprive the venue of both of its most lucrative timings. Given our excellent relationship with the film industry, we have chosen to be respectful of their need to balance accommodation of SFS and maintenance of their commercial screening inventory, and hence we rarely schedule SFS sessions at 8pm unless the running time of a particular film is exceptional.

Are the society's films censored?

The films shown at SFS screenings are generally uncut. However, circumstances beyond our control or our working partners' control may occasionally necessitate deviations from these standards. If a film has been cut, we will make every effort to indicate this on our website and in our publicity materials.

Under Singapore law, all films exhibited in Singapore have to be reviewed and certified by the Board of Film Censors. The current classification system does allow most films to be shown intact under these ratings:

  • NC16 -- No Children below 16 years old
  • M18 -- Mature 18 for persons 18 years old and above
  • R21 -- Restricted to persons 21 years old and above

More information regarding film ratings can be found on Media Development Authority's website.

Are the society's foreign language films dubbed in English?

No. The society's policy is to screen English-subtitled versions. We believe that films should always be shown and seen in their original language, unless extenuating circumstances do not allow the procurement of such original versions.

How are the society's films different from those shown on the general circuit?

As in most markets, Singapore's commercial cinemas screen mainly American Hollywood productions and Chinese/ Asian blockbusters. The society sources its films from cinema cultures all over the world.

Our aim is to showcase high quality movies to promote the appreciation of cinema as a medium of both art and entertainment. We therefore are able to obtain and programme many films which may otherwise not be commercially viable in Singapore.

Can members buy more than one concession ticket for film festival screenings?

Generally no. But for certain special events we do try to make this provision where our partners allow it.


About SFS

Does the society have its own library of movies?

No. SFS rents films from distributors and libraries around the world.

Who runs the society?

SFS is run by an executive committee elected at the Annual General Meeting. Kenneth Tan, Chairman since 1984, has more than 30 years of film festival marketing and management experience. His previous experience includes terms as Managing Director of Golden Village, Chief Operating Officer of MediaCorp TV, and CEO of MediaCorp Radio. The SFS Committee comprises professionals with extensive experience and deep personal interest in film. 


Working with SFS

I want to work for SFS. Are there any positions open?

We are flattered whenever someone sends us a resumé. Unfortunately, SFS is run by a committee of part-time, unpaid volunteers. If you are passionate about films and want to be a volunteer and help out without being paid, please feel free to approach any committee member when you attend our screenings.

What can the society do for other organizations interested in running film activities?

Over the years, the society has amassed considerable experience and expertise in sourcing and selecting movies that appeal to the Singaporean film-going public; negotiating favourable procurement and shipping arrangements; coordinating international film traffic procedures; liaising with the Board of Film Censors and other regulatory and licensing bodies; researching, writing, designing and producing programme brochures and programme notes; convening, hosting and managing press and media conferences to ensure optimal coverage of events; overseeing and running the operations aspects at screening venues to ensure trouble-free screenings.

We come in as a co-organising partner, take ownership of the event, and plan, shape, and market it for maximum impact. We are responsible for over one hundred such screenings every year. Take a look at our screening calendar.


Information about Singapore's film industry

How do I find statistics and data about the Singapore film industry?

Please go to our links page and try the website of the Singapore Film Commission (SFC). We have included a link to their section providing detailed information.

Where do I check the ratings of specific films (e.g. PG, NC-16, etc)?

Please go to our links page and try the website of the Media Development Authority (MDA). We have included a link to their database search page, which lets you search ratings by film title.

Can I get a grant to make a film?

The Singapore Film Commission (SFC) gives out small grants to local film makers. Conditions apply. Please refer to SFC's website.

How can I contact the distributors who bring films into Singapore?

Telephone or email us. We will be glad to suggest companies for you to contact.


How to organize a public screening in Singapore

What is involved in organizing a public screening in Singapore?

Screening rights or copyright

If you want to show any movie (DVD, VCD, VHS,or whatever format), you need to find out who owns the screening rights or copyright. It may be distributor or filmmaker or whoever. You will then have to ask them for permission to show the film and to get a copy of it. Sometimes it can take months to do research on the Internet to find out who owns the copyright. If there is a local copyright holder in Singapore then it will take a lot less time.

However, some movies may have an international copyright holder, so it may take more time for you to get permission to show it. It could be very expensive. For example, many films from overseas will charge at $1000 to $2,500 U.S for copyright and film rental for 16 mm or 35 mm film. Of course, DVD, VHS, or Beta will cost a lot less. Could be a few hundred dollars U.S.

Also, if there are very limited copies of the film available for rental, then you may have to wait to get it.


If you plan on showing the movie in a proper theatre or venue, then you will also need to rent a hall, projector (depending on what equipment is available in the venue and the format of the movie you want to show), and projectionist. You can rent a venue from Golden Village, Cathay, Shaw, Filmgarde, Alliance Francaise, Singapore History Museum, The Arts House, or Substation. Rental fees will vary but they usually charge more for weekend time slots.

If you are showing a R21 movie, then you need to make sure that the venue has a R21 license. Otherwise, you cannot show it at that venue.


All films should be sent to Media Development Authority for censorship and rating before you show them with the proper forms filled out. The MDA will charge you a fee. (See the next FAQ for details.)

It will give you the procedure for holding public screenings. It also has some information about copyright.

To summarize

Basically, when the SFS organizes a screening, we have to:

  • Decide which film we want to show.
  • Look for the owner of the copyright on the Internet etc.
  • Make contact with him/her to find out how much it costs to show or rent it.
  • Submit copies (this can be DVD or VHS) to the MDA for censorhip and rating.
  • Book the venue and equipment.
  • Arrange for delivery of the reels of film if we are going to screen 16 mm or 35 mm film format at the venue.
  • Publicize the screening to our members.

What is the procedure for obtaining licensing and rights clearance to hold a public screening in Singapore?

  1. Obtain rights clearance from the owner of the intellectual property. The owner is usually the distributor, the studio, or the film-maker. You have to ascertain who the owner is and obtain the proper permission in order not to violate any intellectual property rights. Depending on the requirements of the owner, you may need to pay for screening rights.
  2. Go to the MDA website to check if your film has been classified in the ratings database. If you can't find it there, it means the film has not been submitted for classification and possible censorship. You will need to submit a copy to Media Development Authority (MDA) and request for classification and possible censorship. Strictly speaking, you still need to doublecheck with the MDA even if the film in question has already been classified before -- because the previously passed version could be a different cut. (E.g. you want to submit a Code 1 DVD of a film which was previously passed with cuts under PG for theatrical release.) Contact MDA if you need any clarifications.
  3. If the movie is rated R21, M18 or NC16, you will need to apply for an Film Exhibition Licence with MDA (for screening films under these ratings), regardless of who the audience is. Please refer to the Licences and Permits section of the MDA website.
  4. If your screening is open to the public, you need to obtain a public entertainment licence (with CID) or inform any government body. If your screening is not open to the public (e.g. open only to students in your school), you won't need a public entertainment licence. Contact CID if you need clarification.