Dated: 27 August 2003

Discovery Networks Asia (DNA), the leading global real-world content provider, and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) today announced a new initiative to support and develop the local production community.

The 'Documentary Director's Chair' is open to professional filmmakers from any genre who will occupy this position of influence on an annual basis. It seeks to create more quality and exportable made-by-Singapore content and offer a commercial outlet for promising talents.

DNA and MDA will jointly fund the three hours' worth of original programming that will be broadcast to a regional audience on one of DNA's channels, namely, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Discovery Travel &Adventure. The exclusive collaboration between the two organisations is in line with the Media 21 strategy and marks the first time the DNA and the MDA are working together.

CEO of MDA, Mr Lim Hock Chuan, shares his excitement, "We are very excited to partner with Discovery Networks Asia on the 'Documentary Director's Chair' programme. TV documentary is a genre that Singapore has the potential to excel in. We see concrete achievable results from the partnership. First, it grooms our Singaporean talents in making international quality TV documentaries. These documentaries will be showcased on Discovery channels worldwide as well as free-to-air channels in Singapore and the region. Second, the Singapore-based TV production industry will benefit from new opportunities in content creation and ownership of the media asset. Our partnership with Discovery is in line with our efforts under Media 21 to create and export high quality Made By Singapore content. It brings us a step closer towards transforming Singapore into a vibrant, global media city."

Neville Meijers, Managing Director and Executive Vice President, DNA, said, "Discovery Networks Asia has always been committed to helping nurture the region's talents through various projects, and we are very excited to be working with the MDA to take this to a higher level with the 'Documentary Director's Chair'. It is a unique initiative that will establish Singapore-based filmmakers on the international arena. With our network of channels that reach over 176 million households in Asia alone we are able to provide the expertise and platform to showcase their efforts to a larger audience."

"Singapore plays a key role in Discovery Networks International's original production strategy. It is one of three international centres of original production that supply content to Discovery's channels worldwide, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Travel &Adventure. The contribution of the MDA to our Singapore based production efforts plays a vital role in our production plans going forward. I am sure we will see many more world class documentaries and other factual programs produced by Discovery Networks out of Singapore, with the support of MDA and others." Peter Weil, Acting Head, Content, Discovery Networks International.

One talented individual from Singapore or around the region will occupy the chair for a year and hold key creative control. He or she will be responsible for overseeing the production of three to six original programs based on one or more ideas they have proposed. The Chair will also be tasked to invite and recruit other directors or producers to work on those films. The initiative aims to cull the region's talents to help local directors and producers to develop their art and knowledge, and foster the exchange of ideas and expertise.

To be eligible to apply for the 'Documentary Director's Chair', filmmakers should be film or TV producers or directors who have already built a reputation for innovative, high-quality filmmaking. The scheme is designed to offer further growth opportunities to those who have already made a mark. Throughout the duration of the Chair, the selected individuals will be based in Singapore, and work closely with the DNA creative team in bringing their vision to the screen.

The selection criteria will include the strength of the idea and the skills the individual brings to the Chair. The 'Documentary Director's Chair' selection panel will include MDA and DNA senior staff and a representative from media partner, TV Asia.

Ideas from individuals can be submitted immediately to James Gibbons, VP, Programming, Discovery Networks Asia, 20 Loyang Crescent, Singapore 508984. Final selection will take place at the Asian TV Forum in December. In addition to a written treatment, applicants are asked to include a resume and samples of their work. The intention is for the Chair to be occupied from January 1, 2004.

The 'Documentary Director's Chair' will provide talented individuals with the opportunity to contribute to the emerging media hub in Singapore with various activities planned around the Chair during industry-wide events like the Asia Media Forum, Discovery's regional productions, the SilverDocs in Washington D.C. and First Time Film Makers workshops.

About Discovery Networks, Asia

Discovery Networks Asia (DNA), launched in 1994, reaches a cumulative subscriber base in excess of 176 million. DNA's portfolio comprises three channels across 22 countries in Asia Pacific;Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Discovery Travel &Adventure. Programming is customized into eight languages and broadcast on 13 unique feeds.

DNA's parent, Discovery Communications Inc., is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company, which runs 14 unique TV brands. Launched in the US in 1985, the company now operates in 155 countries and territories with more than 950 million cumulative subscribers. DCI also consists of, Discovery Consumer Products and Discovery Channel retail stores. DCI is privately held;ownership consists of four shareholders: Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L), Cox Communications, Inc. (NYSE: COX), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company's Founder, Chairman and CEO.

About The Media Development Authority of Singapore
The Media Development Authority (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003. MDA's vision under its Media 21 blueprint is to develop Singapore into a vibrant global media city so as to foster a creative economy and a connected society. MDA aims to create a vibrant environment for the industry to flourish and the public to enjoy. 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.

For further information:

Melissa Tham / Michelle Tham
Discovery Networks Asia / Weber Shandwick /
DID: (65) 6548 0637/(65)  6825 8037

Toh Yong Chuan / Yvonne Poh
Media Development Authority of Singapore /
DID: (65) 6837 9362/(65) 6837 9894

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023