Local film 'Wonderland' with all-S'porean cast clinches award at Palm Springs International Film Festival

'Wonderland' is a Mandarin and Hokkien language film that is set in the 1980s. 

Ruth Chai | January 14, 2024, 02:57 PM



Singaporean film "Wonderland" has won the Local Jury Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

"Wonderland" features an all-Singaporean cast and stars Mark Lee, Peter Yu, Xenia Tan, Janice Seah and Rajeswary Nadarajan.

It is a Mandarin and Hokkien language film that is set in the 1980s.

The festival, held this year from Jan. 5 to 14 in California, is an American film festival that aims to shine a spotlight on international cinema.

The Local Jury Award is presented to the film that best promotes understanding and acceptance between people.


According to the film's IMDb page, the film showcases the relationship between illiterate single father Loke, played by Mark Lee, and his daughter Eileen, played by Xenia Tan.

Loke lies to Eileen and tells her that he can afford her overseas education. While she moves to New York City, he sells his family home and moves into a one-room flat to save money.

He soon befriends Tan, played by Peter Yu, whom he relies on to write his letters to Eileen and read the letters she sends back.

While studying, Eileen is killed in a car accident. Unable to tell Loke the truth, Tan lies to him, hoping to find a better time to break the truth.

However, Tan's web of lies will soon spiral out of control, until he is eventually given an ultimatum.

Work hard and dream big

The film premiered at the 24th San Diego Asian Film Festival on Nov. 8 last year.

It was directed by award-winning Singaporean film-maker Chai Yee Wei and produced by Mocha Chai Laboratories, a digital film lab founded in 2012 by Chai and Michelle Chang.

Chang called the win "totally unexpected", and was surprised that a dialect film from Singapore could move the hearts of Palm Spring residents.

"This win is proof that as long as you believe in something, work hard at it, and never let go of your passion, the world will conspire to reward you for it," Chang told CNA.

"I hope our wins for the film inspire all dreamers out there to never let go of their passion, no matter what age they are," she added.

Top photo via Mocha Chai Laboratories/Youtube