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An award-winning 25-minute 16mm short documentary film by Singapore-born producer, director, editor and cinematographer, Madeleine Lim, which explores of race, sexuality and nationality[1]. It was accepted at the 1997 Singapore International Film Festival but was banned by government censors just before it screened. The film premiered at the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in June 1997. It remains banned in Singapore to this very day.


Distant memories, negotiating multiple identities, daily reminders of outsiderness ... a poignant award-winning documentary, Sambal Belacan in San Francisco evocatively portrays three Asian lesbians (originally from Singapore) grapple with making a home in America. Banned in Singapore, this cinematic gem explores how cultural identity, lesbian sexuality and immigration status raise pertinent questions about belonging. It speaks compellingly for a community whose voices are seldom heard. Combining interviews, newsreel footage, scripted scenes and poetry, this mixed- genre documentary visually conveys the multi-layered experiences of immigrant Asian lesbians living in the U.S. today.


  • Bronze Apple Winner, National Educational Media Network, Apple Awards 1998
  • Award of Excellence, San Jose Film & Video Commission, Joey Awards 1997

Filmmaker biography[edit]

Madeleine Lim is an award-winning filmmaker with 15 years of film and video experience. She has served as Producer, Director, Writer, Cinematographer and Editor on numerous projects. Her films have been screened at film festivals internationally. Banned in Singapore, her last film "Sambal Belacan in San Francisco" was broadcast on PBS in June 1998 to over 2.5 million viewers.

Madeleine was the Bronze Apple Winner of the 1998 Apple Awards given by the National Educational Media Network and received the Award of Excellence from the 1997 Joey Awards from the San Jose Film & Video Commission.

Madeleine has been awarded Artist-in-Residence by California Arts Council for 2 years. She sits on various grant allocations committees and serves as a jury member on numerous film festivals. She currently freelances as a director, cinematographer and editor.

See also[edit]



This article was written byRoy Tan.