Dated: 10 July 2003
The Media Development Authority (MDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Raintree Pictures Pte Ltd today to collaborate on the production of a minimum of 10 international films over a five-year period. The MOU was signed by the Chief Executive Officer of MDA, Mr Lim Hock Chuan and the Chairman of Raintree Pictures, Mr Franklin Wong.
Through the MOU, MDA will co-invest with Raintree Pictures and other international partners in suitable film productions that are able to contribute positively to the growth of the local film industry. The estimated S$10million to be invested by MDA over five years will create job opportunities and economic spin-offs for Singapore and Singaporean talents and production crew.
MDA and Raintree Pictures will seek to produce international films with significant Singaporean involvement as part of the MOU. This will raise the international profile of "Made-by-Singapore" films and the export potential of Singapore media content. MDA also aims for local film practitioners to be brought to the next level in the craft of filmmaking through collaborations with international crews, production and post-production companies.
"This major deal reinforces our strong desire to grow the Singapore film industry. The MOU will generate employment and business opportunities for our local film practitioners, film equipment and post-production facilities and other film or hospitality-related trades. We are also happy to work with Raintree Pictures and other international partners, which will include leading film producers and directors, in the production of these 10 films. Through such collaborations with reputable foreign partners, we hope to facilitate the internationalisation of Singapore media companies. In the long run, such efforts will elevate the standards of the local film industry and talents," said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, CEO, MDA.
"This collaboration is an important milestone for both MDA and Raintree, and possibly the movie industry of Singapore. MDA 's vision is to develop Singapore into a vibrant global media city. Raintree is a key player in the local movie industry, producing popular movies for Singapore as well as international audiences. With this collaboration, we can pool together our resources and expertise and set out to achieve the common objective of developing local talents to create breakout hits that will travel beyond Asia," said Mr Franklin Wong, Chairman, Raintree Pictures.
MDA is currently considering investing in two upcoming Raintree productions, Leap of Love and Under Arrest as part of this MOU. To be filmed in English, these two films will be co-produced with Spaceworks Entertainment (Canada) under the framework of the Singapore-Canada Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement. Leap Of Love, a romantic comedy adapted from the novel by Dr Catherine Lim, will be shot in Singapore and Canada. This project won the Busan Film Commission award in last year's Pusan Promotion Plan. The proposed director is Singaporean Seah Wee Thye who directed MediaCorp's award winning sitcoms such as Under One Roof and Phua Chu Kang. The second film, Under Arrest, is an action thriller about a mysterious death case. It will be shot in Canada and post-produced in Singapore. Local artistes will be working alongside an internationally renowned director and cast which include proposed leads, Gary Sinise and Judi Dench, and proposed director, Carl Franklin. (Further details on the two projects are available at Annex A).
This MOU signing is part of MDA's efforts under the Media 21 Blueprint to develop Singapore into a Global Media City. Announced at the Media 21 Forum held on 8 Jul 2003, the five strategies of Media 21 are: to establish Singapore as a Media Exchange;to export 'Made-by-Singapore' content;to internationalise local media companies;to nurture local media talents;and to develop digital media.
Media Development Authority (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003 from the merger of Singapore Broadcasting Authority, Films and Publications Department and Singapore Film Commission. As the promoter and regulator of the media industry, MDA will work towards developing a vibrant media industry in Singapore and nurturing a Creative Media and Connected Society.
Raintree Pictures Pte Ltd is the pioneer in the local movie industry. Set up in August 1998, Raintree Pictures has achieved some exciting milestones. Its first offering, Liang Po Po-The Movie, was the top grossing Chinese movie in 1999 and I Not Stupid successfully travelled to other markets. In the coming years, Raintree Pictures while maintaining an output of four movies a year, aims to find the right mix of local and regional talents to create the breakout hit that will travel beyond Asia. Raintree Pictures is the movie arm of Media Corporation of Singapore (MediaCorp), the largest and most established broadcaster in Singapore with a complete range of media businesses spanning TV, Radio, Entertainment Production, Press, Publications, Electronic Media and other broadcasting services.
LEAP OF LOVE
About the Production
Leap Of Love is a romantic comedy adapted from the novel by local writer Dr Catherine Lim. This project won the Busan Film Commission award in last year's Pusan Promotion Plan. With a combination of local and international cast and crew, the movie will be shot primarily in Singapore and Canada is expected to commence filming in the last quarter of 2003.
About the Proposed Director - Seah Wee Thye
Seah Wee Thye was a director and producer in the pioneer team of sitcom production in Singapore. He was one of the creative forces in the initial conceptualization, story and script punch-ups, and the direction of the pilot episode of Singapore's first sitcom, Under One Roof. Since then, Wee Thye has directed and executive produced over 140 episodes of prime-time sitcoms from1995 to 2002. These episodes had set ratings records locally, and their series Under One Roof, Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, Happy Belly, Three Rooms, Ah Girl had won awards and accolades regionally and internationally.
About the Writer - Anna Bourque
Anna Bourque has had an extensive career in film and television. She's been an advisor and teacher at Norman Jewison's Canadian Film Centre in the television workshop and resident programs. Anna wrote, directed and co-produced the film Lovely Boys, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won a Silver Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival. Other film and television credits include The Edison Twins, Zoboomafoo, Watership Down, Airwaves, Material World, Ready Or Not, Taking The Falls, Freaky Stories, Girlstuff / Boystuff, and Twitch City.
About the Author - Dr Catherine Lim
Dr Catherine Lim is by far the most accomplished and prolific writer from Singapore. Leap Of Love is the first e-book from Singapore commissioned by Lycos Asia. Her books have been published in many countries including US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and other parts of Europe and are also used for literature texts at universities and colleges including Cambridge University. Dr Catherine Lim was awarded the Southeast Asia Writer Award in 1999, and an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by Murdoch University, Australia in 2000.
Chang Li-Ann, a delightful dreamer, is convinced she will one day meet the love of her life, her soulmate, her Mr Right. In the year 1992, on that fateful day of February 29, she finds him in Jeremy Lee at the Blue Paradise Café and puts her faith in an obscure Irish leap year tradition that states a woman has the right to ask anything of a man on this day and he cannot refuse her. Li-Ann risks it and asks for a date. To her delight, he agrees and they embark on the most unforgettable night of their lives. Their jaunt, however, ends in sadness when Jeremy reveals that he has to go back to Canada that night and that he is engaged to be married. A commitment from Jeremy to see Li-Ann every four years on February 29 leads to an emotional trip where we witness her joy, pain, longing and hope.
About the Production
One of the twin projects to be produced under the Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement between Canada and Singapore, the production will be shot in Canada and post produced in Singapore. Production is expected to commence in the 1st quarter of 2004.
About the Proposed Director - Carl Franklin
Carl Franklin is an award-winning filmmaker who has risen to the top ranks of American film directors after helming just three features prior to High Crimes - One False Move, Devil In A Blue Dress and One True Thing. Franklin's highly praised feature film debut, the low-budget crime drama One False Move, starring Bill Paxton, Cynda Williams and Billy Bob Thornton, was named one of the ten best films of 1992 by the National Board of Review. The film also earned him the prestigious New Generation Award by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 1992, the MTV Movie Award™for Best New Filmmaker and the IFP Spirit Award for Best Director in 1993.
About the Proposed Male Lead - Gary Senise
The male lead is Gary Sinise, best remembered for his bravura performance as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump. His portrayal of the disabled, emotionally tortured veteran earned him numerous awards and an Oscar nomination. In 1995, he reunited with Tom Hanks in Apollo 13 and starred in the HBO film Truman which earned him the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards and an Emmy nomination.
About the Proposed Female Lead - Judi Dench
The female lead is Judi Dench, one of Britain's most respected and popular actresses. Judi can claim a decades-old career encompassing the stage, screen, and television. A five-time winner of the British Academy Award, she was granted an Order of the British Empire in 1970 and made a Dame of the British Empire in 1988. In 1997 she earned further international recognition, as well as an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe award, for her portrayal of Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown. The next year, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Shakespeare In Love.
Under Arrest is an action thriller told in a non-linear structure. The premise is a fusion of Midnight Express and Dead Man Walking. A man is detained for a crime he did not commit. All witnesses called in, either misread the situation or try to save their own skins. With the line between fact and fiction blurred, the daughter of the protagonist fights against time to save the day.
About the Co-Producer - Spaceworks Entertainment
Spaceworks Entertainment is founded in 1993 by the creative team Daniel D'or and G. Philip Jackson, and is a re-branding of the successful core Danforth Studios team. The Spaceworks team has been acclaimed for its diverse, production and critically-recognized track record in television and feature film production. Spaceworks has produced over 20 feature and series titles including comedy Wish You Were Dead starring Mary Steenburgen and Christopher Lloyd and sci-fi TV series Starhunter.