Asian storytelling takes centre stage at the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), as Southeast Asia’s leading international media event returns for its third edition this year, from 23 November through 9 December 2016. Hosted by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), SMF is a gathering of distinguished Asian media executives, and a platform for notable regional creative talent to showcase their content as well as to interact with their fans.
Mr Robert Gilby, Chairman of the Singapore Media Festival Advisory Board and Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company (SEA), said, “Asia’s diverse cultures, heritage and communities have led to the creation of inspiring and innovative stories that have both relevance and resonance with an international audience. SMF was established as a platform to identify and nurture the next generation of storytellers in this region, with guidance and mentorship from industry veterans from across Asia.”
This year’s SMF constituent events include the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore (SS), and Asian Television Awards (ATA).
“As the most diverse Asian film and TV media event, SMF presents unequalled opportunities to connect, partner and co-create with the best talent from across the region. We expect a bolder SMF 2016 that celebrates great storytelling from Asia and beyond. The festival will serve as an excellent springboard for global media players venturing into Asia, and for Asian media professionals seeking international exposure.” added Gilby.
New Advisory Board members to help chart festival direction
This year, three new members will join the SMF Advisory Board, lending their expertise and insights towards charting the Festival’s strategic direction. They are:
Mr Albert Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Emperor Motion Pictures
Mr Jeff Cheong, President, Tribal Worldwide Asia
Mr Aseem Puri, Chief Marketing Officer, Unilever International
Please refer to Appendix A for quotes from the new members.
Continued focus on developing great stories and talent at SMF 2016
This year’s edition will see a sustained push to bring good stories to fruition, in particular, with a focus on developing film projects and supporting filmmaking talent.
Following a successful debut last year, ScreenSingapore 2016 will host its second edition of the Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market in partnership with the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA) and Europe’s Ties that Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshops (TTB). This initiative will create the opportunity for stories to come to life by connecting promising filmmakers and producers in the region with potential commissioners, financiers and co-production partners for their upcoming film projects. Up to 15 projects will be selected by an esteemed panel of international film industry experts, and featured at the SAFF Project Market in December 2016.
The 27th Singapore International Film Festival will continue to provide festival goers with the opportunity to learn the art of storytelling through film from the Asian directors-in-attendance and guest filmmakers, through programmes like the Southeast Asian Film Lab and SGIFF Masterclasses. Notable veterans such as Terence Chang, who produced highly acclaimed movies such as Mission Impossible 2 (2000) and the two-part Chinese language film The Crossing (2014-5); as well as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose works have won him widespread international recognition and numerous awards including the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010, were among the respected mentors in previous years. This year’s mentors include Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand), who was a recipient of a Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fellowship, and Bernard Chauly (Malaysia), who has created successful commercial films that capture Southeast Asian social trends.
This year will also see the introduction of another new initiative that seeks to nurture and showcase up-and-coming Singapore filmmakers. SGIFF will start commissioning a new short film by a Singapore filmmaker every year that will make its world premiere at the festival. Gladys Ng, winner of SGIFF 2015’s Best Singapore Short Film, is the first filmmaker to be commissioned under this initiative.
Past SGIFF winners partner global talent to create compelling Asia-inspired stories
Two past SGIFF winners have also made waves internationally, with their films making World Premieres at this year’s 69th Cannes Film Festival. Boo Junfeng’s APPRENTICE is an Official Selection of the Un Certain Regard, while K. Rajagopal’s A YELLOW BIRD is an Official Selection of the 55th La Semaine de la Critique (Critics’ Week).
Boo’s highly-anticipated psychological drama is a Singapore-Germany-France-Hong Kong-Qatar co-production that was shot in Singapore and Australia, while Rajagopal’s first feature, which had been picked for Cannes’ Cinefondation L’Atelier in 2014, is a co-production between Singapore and France. Both films have cast actors from not just Singapore but the region, including Malaysia, India and China, and have already been picked up by international sales agents.
Boo shared, “It is great to be able to work with partners from around the world to bring to life films like Apprentice. Such collaborations allow us to push boundaries, think out of existing paradigms, and create films that move audiences and inspire conversations.”
Rajagopal said, “I have always believed that it is the responsibility of a filmmaker to give a voice to communities, and to give these voices an audience. To be able to present our stories at key nodes in the global media network such as Cannes and the Singapore Media Festival allow these voices to be amplified. I am thrilled to have this opportunity, and hope to be able to bring this back to the Singapore International Film Festival at the end of the year.”
Details of the Cannes screening for both films can be found in Appendix B.
The Singapore Media Festival is hosted by the Media Development Authority, and comprises events organised by Reed Exhibitions, Contineo Media, and SGIFF Ltd. For more details of the Singapore Media Festival, visit www.sgmediafestival.com.
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About the Media Development Authority of Singapore
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (www.mda.gov.sg) promotes the growth of globally competitive film, television, radio, publishing, games, animation and interactive digital media industries. It also regulates the media sector to safeguard the interests of consumers, and promotes a connected society. MDA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Communications and Information (www.mci.gov.sg).
About the Singapore Media Festival
The Singapore Media Festival, hosted by Media Development Authority is set to become one of Asia’s leading international media events, where the industry meets to discover the latest trends, talents and content in Asia for Film, TV and digital media. It brings together established media events such as the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore (SS), Asian Television Awards (ATA) and will take place from 23 November to 9 December 2016. For more information about the Singapore Media Festival, please visit www.sgmediafestival.com.