Singapore, 5 October 2016 – A new keystone digital event will be launched at the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), in recognition of the rich opportunities in the age of digital disruption. Echoing the Festival’s theme of ‘Celebrating Asian Storytelling’ to recognise the region’s talents, accomplishments and tremendous growth of the media sector, SMF Ignite will cast the spotlight on current digital trends to complement the different and new entertainment formats to be shown at this year’s festival.
Organised in collaboration between the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and industry partners in the digital domain, this event will be an annual feature in future SMF editions. SMF Ignite brings together digital content creators to learn, experience and create through an exciting line-up of interactive workshops and insightful conference tracks in various fields led by industry thought leaders.
The third edition of Southeast Asia’s leading international media festival will bring back established events including the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asian Television Awards (ATA), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), and ScreenSingapore (SS). SMF 2016 will also welcome two new associate events, CASBAA Spotlight Series: Emerging Southeast Asian Markets  and ciNE65 by Nexus.
SMF celebrates the best of Asian storytelling
Behind each unique Asian story is a team of outstanding storytellers and exceptional talents. SMF 2016 celebrates these individuals by recognising their contributions and providing them platforms to showcase their works to a global audience.
SGIFF announced today A Yellow Bird by local filmmaker K. Rajagopal, which premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, will be in competition for the Silver Screen Awards’ Asian Feature Film Competition. SGIFF will also be paying tribute to the late local filmmaker Abdul Nizam – a pioneer in Singapore’s indie film and music scene who passed on earlier this year – through the screening of his short and feature films such as Datura (1999) and Breaking the Ice (2014).
The ATA celebrates Asian storytelling for television, and the people who contribute to the industry in significant ways. This year, its Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television will be presented to Ko Dae-young, the President and CEO of Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). This award honours exceptional individuals who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments and contributions to the television industry in Asia Pacific and beyond. As a broadcaster, KBS’ continued relevance is seen from its wildly successful release of the drama “Descendants of the Sun”, a massive hit in South Korea and across Asia.
The convergence between media and technology will provide extensive opportunities for Asian storytellers to bring their stories to life, allowing audiences to enjoy a richer experience. ATF will introduce its inaugural Digital Corridor, where Transmedia Producer workshops will see experts, such as Arnaud Colinart, Producer at Agat Films & Cie and Ex Nihilo (France), share their experience in applying new technologies to narrative works. An experiential VR Zone will allow attendees to immerse themselves in the world of virtual reality (VR), through screenings of VR projects, including Sundance-winning “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness”.
Nurturing a new generation of storytellers
SMF serves as an invaluable platform to uncover and nurture a new generation of Asian storytellers, capable of telling compelling stories across various genres and platforms. This contributes towards building a tight-knit community in the region that will offer both budding and established storytellers potential for personal creative growth and collaborative opportunities.
The inaugural SMF Ignite will partner industry players such as Maker Studios, StyleHaul and Dailymotion to bring budding digital content creators through a series of hands-on workshops across genres, ranging from fashion and beauty to monetisation opportunities in digital media. With the attendance of established brands and experts, participants can look forward to gaining practical knowledge and a vibrant exchange of ideas on topics such as innovative technology like VR & AR, and the industry’s fastest growing sub-sector of gaming.
The inaugural ATF Formats Pitch will see will see regional content creators present their new and original, non-scripted entertainment formats. The winner will receive a bespoke package worth SG$ 20,000 of consultancy advice and cash support, tailored to the specific pitch, followed by trailer and sizzle preparation, production budgeting, talent payments, publicity, the global sales process and editing. The winning format, will also have a chance of being aired. This initiative to develop innovative storytelling formats - a partnership between ATF and all3media International (UK) - facilitates the exchange of ideas and talent between leading international television experts, well-established distributors and Asian-based producers.
The second edition of the Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market at ScreenSingapore will include 15 projects this year, up from 10 in 2015, opening up even more opportunities for participants to kick-start their fiction and non-fiction feature-length projects. Finalists will be selected by an esteemed panel of international film industry experts including Kathy Morgan, Principal of Kathy Morgan International and Executive Producer of Academy Award-winning The Danish Girl (USA); and Leonard Retel Helmrich, two-time Sundance and three-time IDFA winning filmmaker (The Netherlands).
SGIFF also has in place targeted initiatives for up-and-coming filmmakers. The SEA Film Lab 2016 will be headed by Anurag Kashyap (India) and supported by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand) and Bernard Chauly (Malaysia); while Dr Victor Fan (Hong Kong) will head the Youth Jury and Critics Programme. Winner of SGIFF 2015’s Best Singapore Short Film, Gladys Ng, is the first filmmaker to be commissioned under a new initiative for a short film by a Singaporean filmmaker every year. Her new short, The Pursuit of a Happy Human Life, will make its world premiere during the opening of the festival this year.
Shining the spotlight on investment opportunities for the region
SMF continues to drive investment into the region by bringing together prominent media industry players on an international scale, and at an integrated platform. Besides the bustling trade expected at ATF’s Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore, efforts have been placed on engaging the industry and top business leaders about the evolving media landscape, and developing business strategies to capture new opportunities.
ATF’s Summit on “Managing the Business of Disruptors” will see C-suite executives from Asia and beyond gather to be part of a discourse on the digital ecosystem. They include Chris Erwin, Chief Operating Officer of Big Frame (USA) and Joanne Waage, Senior Vice President of Partnerships & Programming, Viki, Inc. (USA); as well as decision-makers of telecom giants like Jeremy Kung, Chief Executive Officer of Telekom Malaysia (Malaysia) and Winston Damarillo, Chief Strategy Officer of PLDT Group (Philippines).
Representing over-the-top platforms are Krishnan Rajagopalan, Co-Founder & Chief Content Officer of Hooq Group (Singapore), AwesomenessTV’s Head of Worldwide Distribution Rebecca Glashow (USA) and Kazufumi Nagasawa, Chief Content Officer of HJ Holdings and Hulu Japan (Japan).
Clifton Dawson, Founder and CEO of Greenlight VR (USA) will be part of the panel, “VR Reality Check: Winning in the Experience Economy”, where panellists will provide insights from a first-mover perspective.
Robert Gilby, Chairman of the SMF Advisory Board and Managing Director of the Walt Disney Company (SEA), said, “It’s an exciting time for the evolution of the media industry as it presents new opportunities for business and creative partnerships that champion the diverse and inspiring stories of this region. The Singapore Media Festival is a vibrant scene where the trailblazers of our industry come together to create and present the greatest storytelling from across Asia to the rest of the world. With new technologies, new ideas and new talents, Asia’s media industry is thriving”.
Making the Festival more inclusive than ever
This year, the festival organisers have also made the effort to bring the festival and celebrations to more people. For instance, at the SMF Ignite, gaming fans will get to meet YouTube gaming personalities up close.
Since April 2016, SGIFF has held a monthly dialogue spotlighting stories and storytellers from Singapore and the region. Titled New Waves, the sessions have served as a platform for more audiences to access these stories year-round, even before the festival. In encouraging the discovery of independent cinema, especially of Southeast Asia films, SGIFF 2016 will also present a strong line-up of masterclasses, forums and talks with the region’s filmmakers and industry players, which will be announced at a later date.
This year’s ATA will feature acclaimed Singaporean Mandopop singer-songwriter, JJ Lin, and International Pop Phenomenon Charli XCX. The awards ceremony is opened to public, and the region can also join in the celebrations as the Awards will reach territories from Singapore, Malaysia to China, totalling more than 350 million audiences. New broadcasters and channels include ABS-CBN's Lifestyle Network Channel; CJ E&M's TVing; POPS Worldwide's POPS Music and POPS TV and Sistem Televisyen's ntv7.
With a packed itinerary across the 17-day-long festival, event attendees and ticket holders can look forward to winding down at SMF’s first Festival Square, set up in the heart of the city at CHIJMES. The Square’s many F&B establishments are offering attractive discounts and special menus for every festival-goer. They can also look forward to catching some of latest festival happenings at the Square through outdoor screenings, and create and share their own festival experiences through interactive activities onsite and over social media platforms.
Summing it up, Angeline Poh, IMDA’s Assistant Chief Executive for Content and Innovation shared, “This year’s Singapore Media Festival celebrates the importance of good storytelling as the constant amidst a rapidly changing media environment. This is because the success or failure of any content product, regardless of length, format or delivery mode, lies very much in the strength of its story and how it is told to engage its intended audience. Recognising this, we have worked with our partners to offer Singapore Media Festival as a platform for content creators and businesses from Asia to share and showcase their stories, as well as to hone their craft and deepen partnerships.”
More than 20,000 thought-leaders, creative professionals and members of the public from Singapore and around the world are expected to attend the festival.
The Singapore Media Festival is hosted by the IMDA, and comprises events organised by Reed Exhibitions, Contineo Media, SGIFF Ltd. and other partners. It runs from 23 November to 9 December 2016. For more details of the Singapore Media Festival, visit www.sgmediafestival.com.
Appendix A: Quotes from spokespersons of SMF constituent and associate events
 This is a one-day conference offering attendees valuable insights on a particular Asian market or sector – its focus this year will be on pay-TV and broadband markets in Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.
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About the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)
The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will develop a vibrant, world-class infocomm media sector that drives the economy, connects people, bonds communities and powers Singapore's Smart Nation vision. IMDA does this by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICT and media infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment. IMDA also enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission. For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.
About the Singapore Media Festival
The Singapore Media Festival, hosted by the Info-communications 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. Taking place from 23 November to 9 December 2016, the Singapore Media Festival brings together established media events such as the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore (SS) and Asian Television Awards (ATA), as well as a new digital event SMF Ignite and associate events, the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting of Asia (CASBAA) Spotlight Series and ciNE65 by Nexus. For more information about the Singapore Media Festival, please visit www.sgmediafestival.com.