a film by Abdul Nizam

2021, 93 min, DCP, Singapore, 1.77:1 Documentary , 5.1 Sound, In English


SCENE UnSEEN is about the need to create, no matter what the circumstances. it uncovers the little-known story of the independent music scene in Singapore. Musicians tell a remarkable tale of idealism, discrimination and disillusion, as they create new spaces in the perfectly-organized city state for pure freedom of expression.

In 2015 and 2016, alternative musicians came together to celebrate their independence. The film is structured around their raw performances, interspersed with freshly unearthed archival footage and conversations with key figures who built the scene and then kept it alive. In the early-70s Singapore's underground scene was suppressed with devastating consequences for local live music. It was given a lifeline in the early-80s by alternative radio then re-emerged from its dark age in the early-90s, when local musicians and gig organizers embraced the DIY ethos and a new era of punk and other alternative genres exploded.

About the Director:

Abdul Nizam was a Singaporean independent musician and filmmaker who played in the pioneering local bands NoNames and The Oddfellows. Many of his films premiered at SGIFF, with Datura winning Best Singapore Short Film in 1999. Following Nizam's death in 2016, that year's SGIFF screened a special selection of his works in tribute to him.


Festivals & Awards:

Singapore International Film Festival

BKK Docs (Best Music Documentary)
Luang Prabang Film Festival
Hanoi International Film Festival



Still Images


The documentary flows like a zine with all corners of the community coming together to contribute a page or two. The space is limited but individual entries still overflow with personality and unwritten memories. Scene UnSeen is more than just a lovingly crafted tribute — it’s an essential primer.
- Matthaeus Choo
Scene UnSeen is a deep dive into what it means to be an underground musician in Singapore, featuring a range of the Lion City’s alternative music pioneers
- Marco Ferrarese, South China Morning Post
How the new documentary, spearheaded by late NoNames drummer Abdul Nizam and completed after his untimely death in 2016, paints a picture of Singapore’s underground music history
- Daniel Peters, NME
SGIFF's underground music film 'Scene Unseen' recounted untold narratives of Singapore's independent musicians
- Ynez Wahab, Hear65

2021 Singapore International Film Festival Official Selection

A Film by

Abdul Nizam & Friends

Devised by

Michel Cayla
Mark R. Frost

Panuksmi Hardjowirogo

Mark R. Frost


Michel Cayla

Production Company

M'GO Films

Sales Contact


Festivals Contact