Execs like to emphasize the lifestyle when they list the reasons for shooting a production in Singapore, but the government has been spending heavily to give the tropical city-state a strong technical appeal as well as offering various financial incentives to film there.
Indeed, its facilities have lured some big names, including the Jim Henson Co. and LucasFilm Animation. The latter set up LucasFilm Animation Singapore in 2004.
Many shingles in Singapore are also willing to co-produce.
Singapore is also southeast Asian HQ for the BBC, HBO and MTV, and offers a range of production and post-production services to HD and 3D content creation.
It offers ancillary support services for projects, such as completion bonds and collection accounts, or other aspects related to its solid legal system. Sometimes that system can be too solid, but the government has promised a light touch when dealing with the bureaucratic issues that sometimes arise.
As the nature of the biz in Asia becomes more focused on mainland China’s booming market, Singapore touts the fact that Mandarin is one of its official languages, and Chinese culture is strong in the city-state, putting it in a good position to exploit the growing Chinese market.
And its Indian, Malay, Chinese and Western population means it offers an easier intro to the biz in these markets.
Singapore’s lavish film funds are well-known in the Asian biz and since 2003, the Media Development Authority has set aside $179 million for making movies.
But the take-up on the funds has always been slightly underwhelming, and there was confusion about the 46 funds on offer, so in September, the MDA revamped its slate of media funds to streamline the number of programs on offer, better reflecting the development of the industry.
“Sandcastle,” which bowed in 2010 Cannes Critics’ Week, took advantage of local funds, and was produced by local shingles Infinite Frameworks, Zhao Wei Films, Akanga Film Asia.
Singapore is also building Mediapolis @ one-north, a state-of-the-art media park offering soundstages, digital production and post-production as well as broadcast and distribution facilities.
Mediapolis @ one-north will cover 47 acres and serve as a catalyst for film, TV, animation, vidgame and emerging new-media production. First tenant will be local shingle Infinite Frameworks, which has expertise in computer graphics and vfx, which is building two visual effects soundstages for film and television on three acres.
• Singapore Film Commission