Singaporean producer and screenwriter, Jeremy Chua, is rapidly establishing himself as a prominent figure in the realm of independent cinema and film. He is the producer behind feature film, Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, a Southeast Asian co-production film which won the prestigious Camera d’Or award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes). As the founder of Pōtocol, an independent film company dedicated to co-producing Asian films, Jeremy collaborates with established and emerging filmmakers and visual artists on international and local co-productions, installations, and exhibitions. His dedication to producing films with a distinct Asian flair that resonate with audiences worldwide has garnered him numerous accolades, including this recent win for the Made with SG film.
Directed by Vietnamese filmmaker Pham Thien An, Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell was supported by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) and IMDA through the Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant (SCPG), now known as the Long-form Content Grant. The grant, a part of the Media Talent Progression Programme (MTPP), fosters collaboration, promotes cultural diversity, and supports financial sustainability, driving growth within the Southeast Asian film and media industry. The MTPP has played a significant role in nurturing talent and facilitating the development of exceptional cinematic work, with over 300 media personnel and 35 projects benefiting from it to date.
From humble beginnings to global recognition
Jeremy’s love for cinema runs deep, tracing back to his teenage years. Since then, his profound respect for the medium has propelled him to an impressive track record in the film industry in a relatively short span of time. His notable successes include Tomorrow is a Long Time by Jow Zhi Wei (Berlinale 2023), Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak (FIPRESCI Award - Venice 2022), Glorious Ashes by Bui Thac Chuyen (Golden Balloon - Nantes 2022), Rehana Maryam Noor by Abdullah Mohammad Saad (Cannes Un Certain Regard 2021), A Family Tour by Ying Liang (Opening Film Locarno 2018), A Yellow Bird by K. Rajagopal (Cannes Critics' Week 2016) and A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery by Lav Diaz (Silver Bear Berlinale 2016).
However, it was his recent triumph at the 76th Cannes Film Festival which elevated his work to the world stage. "It helps people all over the world understand what our part of the world is like, visually, aesthetically and narratively," said Jeremy, emphasising the significance of this achievement. Winning the Camera d'Or is like being victorious at the Olympics, Jeremy explained, highlighting the level of recognition and exposure it affords filmmakers and Singapore’s media industry.
The wind beneath his wings
Jeremy’s journey as a producer began during his collaboration with K. Rajagopal on the film A Yellow Bird, where he had the opportunity to work under the mentorship of veteran producer, Fran Borgia. “Fran was the one who introduced me to the world of producing,” said a grateful Jeremy, who recalled how Fran guided him through the process – from writing proposal materials to powering a film for its presentation to the industry. The founder of Akanga Film Asia, Fran was the driving force behind critically acclaimed co-productions such Sandcastle, A Yellow Bird, and A Land Imagined. He was also a line producer for the film Crazy Rich Asians.
In the same spirit of mentorship that shaped his own career, Jeremy believes in passing the torch to the next generation of filmmakers in Singapore. He mentors co-producer Sam Chua and others like her, opening up new opportunities to showcase the region’s unique narratives to global audiences, while fostering a nurturing environment that facilitates the growth of Singapore’s flourishing film industry.
The power of collaboration and support
Similarly, IMDA plays a significant role in the expansion and continuity of Singapore’s filmmaking ecosystem. This is done by providing support and resources to develop and promote local talent and media, facilitate co-production partnerships, and foster a vibrant film industry. Central to this effort is IMDA’s Long-form Content Grant.
Jeremy is a strong advocate of the grant, viewing it as a key factor to his recent success. “The significance of the grant is that it allows people to have freedom,” said Jeremy, who believes it helped him pursue projects close to his heart, using not just local, but regional resources, talent, and expertise for production. Delving deeper into how the grant supported his journey, Jeremy shared:
It is this kind of freedom that gives you a better chance for success. Because you are not limited to just what you have in your backyard.
The future of Singaporean cinema is bright
Singapore’s film industry is on the rise. In this dynamic landscape, raising awareness and appreciation for local content among audiences the world over is crucial. Co-productions are an avenue to continue supporting and showcasing Singaporean filmmaking talent, as well as building a strong pool of these talent who are capable of producing quality content that is globally demanded. IMDA’s MTPP serves as a catalyst for independent film production in the region and offers talented individuals like Jeremy a platform to tell compelling stories such as Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell that transcend borders and cultures.
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