The Singapore Media Festival celebrates the best of Asian Storytelling with a vibrant showcase of content and platforms to propel Asian talent and stories. This year, the festival introduces its second Country-of-Focus: Philippines. While commemorating 50 years of bilateral and diplomatic relations between Singapore and Philippines, the festival will cast the spotlight on Philippines’ talent and businesses, and celebrate her community of creators who are fervently pushing artistic and professional boundaries.

If the success of Crazy Rich Asians has shown us anything, it’s that there’s a growing demand for Asian stories —the much-anticipated film amassed over $165 million last month at the world’s largest movie market (U.S. and Canada), and is now the highest-grossing US rom-com in a decade. Fun fact: Crazy Rich Asians was just one of several connections facilitated by Asia TV Forum at the Singapore Media Festival.

Even before its release, the film generated plenty of buzz due to its head-turning majority-Asian cast in a Hollywood movie. Its unique point of view opened many eyes to the Asian perspective and culture in storytelling - a trait that rarely reaches global appeal… or so we might think.

 
 

(Above) Cast of Crazy Rich Asians. Image: Entertainment Weekly (John Salangsang/Variety/REX/Shutterstock).

Although Crazy Rich Asians may be the foremost example of an Asian show taking the world by storm, the truth is that Asian stories and storytellers have been growing in stature over the last few years.

Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8) recently appeared on Saturday Night Live—the show’s first Asian female host since 2000. In 2016, Indian actress Deepika Padukone made the Forbes Top 10 list of highest paid actresses in the world.

Outside of the silver screen, Netflix has picked up more Asian content, including an original special by Singaporean stand-up comedian Fakkah Fuzz, documentary film Shirkers by Sandi Tan, and the Japanese reality series Terrace House, which is a worldwide sensation.



 

Meanwhile, China has overtaken North America in the record for top-performing theatrical box office (amounting to the equivalent of US$3.17 billion), and now ranks ahead of the U.K. as the second-largest TV market in the world after the U.S.

 
 
 

(Above) Chinese hit show Story of Yanxi Palace. Image: Ruonan Zheng, Jing Daily

Story of Yanxi Palace’s appeal has even reached overseas markets with audiences clamouring for translations and subtitles. The show has generated 5.6 billion views since its release last month. With these figures in mind, it is anticipated that a lot more Chinese original content will be exported for non-native audiences over the coming years to meet increasing demand.


Asia is a very interesting and diverse region with a lot of talent and stories to tell, and now… stories are able to transcend geographical boundaries and reach audiences all over the world.

 
 

(Quote and Photo) Chan Pui Yin, Director of Production and Distribution in GHY Culture and Media

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The advantage of Asian films is a diverse culture within the Asian market and Asian countries. This opens a lot of opportunities for them to be showcased to the rest of the world, and there’s so much opportunity for the rest of the world to explore, experience and realise the vast differences between countries.

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(Quote and Photo) Sebastian Tan, Chairperson of Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF)

And this shift in interest for Asian stories is significant—it spells more opportunities for Asian companies and talents to move forward in the market. The demand represents an age where an entire segment of the global market now has the capability and capital to create for wider audiences, with more chances for collaborations to present even more diverse, creative content.

As Robert Gilby, Chairman of Singapore Media Festival Advisory Board puts it: ‘Great stories could come from anywhere. They can be set in any setting, they can feature any cast, they can include talent from all over the world.’

 

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What they have in common is they speak universal truths, they make you feel something, they inspire you, they motivate you and they move you to make a difference and to think differently about the world.

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(Quote and Photo) Robert Gilby, Chairman of Singapore Media Festival Advisory Board

‘And in our complex world right now, I think that’s needed more than ever.’

Indeed, the demand for Asian stories is higher than ever, highlighting the importance of creating Asian content that resonates with both local and international audiences. On home ground, Singapore Media Festival 2018 continues to bring together industry talents and veterans across its various constituents, serving as a leading platform for regional storytellers and content creators to achieve greater heights. With fresh, ever-evolving stories and media in tow, it’s clear that Asia’s time is now.

And the party’s just getting started.

Singapore Media Festival (SMF) is a celebration of the best and brightest in Asian storytelling. Returning for its fifth instalment from 28 November to 9 December 2018, this year’s SMF consists of Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) and SMF Ignite.


The Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA) is self-described as ‘For the industry, by the industry’, and aims to celebrate the achievements of content creators across the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore Media Festival 2018 will also see the introduction of the AAA initiative, the Asian Academy Creative Campus, aimed at nurturing the next generation of content makers.


Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) is the region’s leading entertainment content event. With conferences and networking opportunities abound, ATF is the premier platform in Asia for the industry’s top players. ScreenSingapore is the definitive Southeast Asian marketplace for both film creators and investors to explore co-production opportunities and stay ahead of the evolving film landscape.


Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is Singapore’s longest-running film festival. With dedicated screenings of both local and international films and a lineup of film-related events, SGIFF provides a platform to showcase the best of Asian cinema.


SMF Ignite focuses on the digital aspect of content creation. With plenty of exciting interactive workshops, conferences and activities, SMF Ignite aims to equip digital content makers with the insights and know-how to thrive online.


Singapore Media Festival is THE place to be for participation and collaboration in Asian media ideas and projects. Don’t miss out on the region’s media gathering of the year, happening 28 Nov - 9 Dec 2018.