Award winners and prize presenters huddle together for a group shot at the Silver Screen Awards of the Singapore International Film Festival. (Photo: SMF Facebook)
By Yamini Chinnuswamy
Fans of Asian storytelling were treated to a jam-packed celebration of the region’s best and brightest talents at the 2017 Singapore Media Festival (SMF), which took place from 23 November to 3 December and attracted more than 20,000 participants.
VR was a big feature at the Singapore Media Festival. (Photos: SMF Facebook)
Similar to previous editions, it featured events such as the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) and the Asian Television Awards (ATA). Both creative professionals and enthusiasts of interesting storytelling found something to enjoy at SMF 2017, wich was hosted by the Info-communications Media Development Authority.
Here are some highlights you might have missed:
1. New focus on virtual reality
With recent technological advancements, virtual reality (VR) has become a real and viable channel for new media opportunities. SMF 2017 focused on this fresh VR paradigm, with a dedicated one-day conference and exhibition – VR X SMF Ignite. It brought together VR technologists, creators and users to exchange insights on VR.
For VR enthusiasts, a talk by ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s newest laboratory for immersive entertainment, was the perfect opportunity to find out about the team’s inspiration and technology behind the galaxy far, far away.
The SMF Festival Village energised Clarke Quay with activities for all in the family. (Photos: SMF Facebook)
2. Marking 50 years of Singapore-Indonesia ties
SMF 2017 saw the introduction of the Country-of-Focus programme, which recognises the rich stories, talents and achievements of one Asian country. Indonesia was chosen as the inaugural country, to commemorate 50 years of warm diplomatic relations between Singapore and the Republic.
Film buffs got a chance to find out about the rich diversity and tradition of Indonesian film-making through SGIFF’s Focus series, Histories of Tomorrow: Indonesian Cinema After the New Order. Music fans were treated to a performance by Indonesian singer-songwriter Afgansyah Reza at the ATA.
3. A festival for everyone
SMF 2017 was anchored by a Festival Village in the ever-popular Clarke Quay.
Here, members of the public enjoyed outdoor screenings, immersive media demonstrations and other exciting fringe activities. For the first time, members of the public were also able to get their hands on tickets for the ATA.
The Singapore International Film Festival is better known as SGIFF. (Photo: SMF Facebook)
But there was so much more than just these highlights.
Here's a quick recap of some key events that took place at SMF 2017:
SMF Ignite (28 to 29 November)
The key digital event of SMF 2017, SMF Ignite brought together media creators from Singapore and other parts of Asia to discuss the latest innovations and trends in storytelling.
It shone the spotlight on VR and digital content creation with the VR X SMF Ignite and Creators X SMF Ignite events.
SGIFF (23 November to 3 December)
Since its launch in 1987, the SGIFF has become a mainstay in the local arts calendar.
Besides facilitating independent film-making in Asia through mentorship programmes, masterclasses and dialogue sessions, the festival also champions regional films and talent through its Silver Screen Awards.
Indonesian singer-songwriter Afgansyah Reza performed at the ATA. (Photo: SMF Facebook)
Award-winning Indian auteur Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) headed 2017’s Asian Feature Film Jury for the awards, and the jury panel included Iranian-American writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night).
ATA (30 November to 1 December)
Now in its 22nd year, the ATA celebrates excellence in Asian television programming, production and performance in over 40 categories.
More than half a billion viewers caught live or delayed broadcasts of last year’s ATA via 21 channels across the region.
The awards show, and the exclusive post-party, were also broadcast on social media in 360-degree video format.
Asia TV Forum & Market (28 November to 1 December)
More than 5,000 international media buyers and sellers converged at the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) to buy, sell and learn about the best new offerings in the region.
ATF 2017 also saw the launch of the inaugural ATF Animation Pitch, where shortlisted participants presented their ideas for original children’s animation before a panel of judges, which included senior executives from Disney, Netflix and Nickelodeon.
ScreenSingapore 2017 (29 November to 1 December)
This event is a platform for Asian media content creators, investors and distributors to explore new opportunities, secure partnerships and learn more about the changing film landscape.
Last year, ScreenSingapore once again hosted the Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market – in partnership with the Southeast Asia Audio-Visual Association and Ties That Bind – to match interesting film project ideas with potential investors and financers.