(Left-Right) Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan, Co-founders of Viddsee
The Singapore Film Commission and Viddsee, a home-grown online video sharing platform, have announced a new partnership for a channel dedicated to showcasing Singapore films. Not only that, Viddsee will be commissioning its first original short film by a Singapore filmmaker. We speak with co-founders Derek Tan and Ho Jia Jian to find out more:
1. Tell us the story of how Viddsee came to be.
Jia Jian: The idea actually came about when we were making our short films. We would put our films up online and they would receive thousands of views, and then they would die down. Marketing our films online was painful for us. So we thought – what if we could release a short film a day? Instead of releasing say, three films a year, we could consistently release one a day as a way to build up an audience. That was how the idea of Viddsee came about in 2012.
2. What to you, is the defining moment for Viddsee?
Derek: I think a defining moment for me was when we started to build up our team. One of our first hires was a girl whom we worked with in a film festival, and with a deep experience in journalism, PR, film festivals – and has such great energy for all of us. Growing our team continues to be a high point in Viddsee; as we are building a team of amazing people to run the awesome things we are doing!
Jia Jian: A personal moment for me was when we marketed a Filipino film, As He Sleeps, in Indonesia. It’s a film about the pains in a marriage where the wife has to take care of her husband, who’s an invalid. What really moved me was that someone in Indonesia actually took a picture of himself in a wheelchair and shared his story about his love with his wife. This was something that really struck a chord with us. We get to see what we do come to life and transcend borders.
3. Why the focus on local/regional films?
Derek: In a way, we feel a sense of responsibility to enrich local audience and encourage Singapore films. With the exposure to new technology, there is a democratisation of stories online and we have all these other content available on the internet. So, where does local films stand? Also, as you grow older, travel and interact with people, you start to realise that cultures in Asian countries are quite similar. With Viddsee as a platform, we can share these universal stories from different parts of the world.
4. Share with us more on this new partnership with the Singapore Film Commission and Viddsee's hopes for these exciting new plans.
Derek: This partnership will focus on promoting the appreciation of local content. We will launch the Singapore Film Channel to showcase both upcoming and established filmmakers and their local stories and in the process, rally the local community and filmmakers. We are also roping in students from film schools as this is an avenue for them to showcase their works. All the films are curated and so far, we have selected 10 films including student works from Nanyang Technology University and Temasek Polytechnic.
We want to create something that is sustainable and build this bridge between local filmmakers and audiences to show what Viddsee is really about. We really want to see how our local ecosystem can develop, and how content creation opportunities can be valuable to the ecosystem through things like funding and such.
5. In one sentence, tell us what's special about local/regional short films.
Derek: Short films are the movies of the Internet, a great way to build audiences and for filmmakers to grow their careers with.
Jia Jian: Stories which are local are close to the heart.
Viddsee’s new Singapore Film Channel