Hybrid event to show off Southeast Asian biz

SINGAPORE — ScreenSingapore kicked off Sunday with Zhang Qi’s actioner “The Devil Inside Me,” as the island state began its bid to become a recognized name on the regional circuit with what it is billing as a hybrid event rather than a festival per se.

“As the most important growth area in the world of filmed entertainment, Asia-Pacific is gloriously on show during the inaugural ScreenSingapore,” Greg Coote, chairman of the board of the event, told a press conference.

Others on the board include Hyde Park Entertainment’s Ashok Amritraj, helmer and producer Shekhar Kapur and Fortissimo chairman Michael J. Werner.

Meanwhile, Jon Landau, chief operating officer of Lightstorm Entertainment and producer of “Avatar” and “Titanic,” said Singapore was a gateway for the communication of culture between West and East.

ScreenSingapore is also meant to display the economic strengths of Southeast Asia — which hasn’t been hit by the global recession as hard as other regions — and focus on what countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India can bring to the world stage in terms of talent and resources.

Some 700 delegates have registered for the event. They will participate in professional workshops such as the three-day Expo@ScreenSingapore with 70 representatives from 14 exhibiting companies, and closed-door studio presentations by five major studios. Tom Hanks will be on hand Saturday for the red-carpet gala of “Larry Crowne,” which will close the event.

Its trade expo runs Tuesday-Thursday, setting up networking opportunities for producers, buyers and sellers, and includes a 3D production forum, a World Intellectual Property Organization masterclass, the Film Finance Forum presented by Winston Baker in association with Variety, and an In Conversation series with showbiz players.

The city-state’s Media Development Authority, mandated to foster the growth of the media business in Singapore, is the organizer behind the confab.

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