700 industryites attended, topping fest's 500 target

SINGAPORE — Organizers of ScreenSingapore hailed its inaugural edition in the southeast Asian city-state as a great success for bringing together so many players across the biz.

ScreenSingapore wrapped Sunday after welcoming more than 700 trade attendees from 26 countries, exceeding its target of 500.

Part of the reason for this will have been the fact that the event took place at the Capella Hotel in the luxury resort of Sentosa, but ScreenSingapore did bring in a fair whack of major names.

Tom Hanks presented the Asia-Pacific bow of “Larry Crowne” to close the event, while Fox Film’s Jim Gianopulos and Chinese thesp Zhang Ziyi rubbed shoulders with a truly international gathering of producers, which included Jon Landau, Yu Dong and Ashok Amritraj, as well as helmers such as Shekhar Kapur.

“We’re completely delighted. It’s overachieved. I’m still in the bunker but the feedback is good. The studios came, the Chinese and the Japanese came, everyone came. And they’re all happy they came,” said ScreenSingapore board chairman and Latitude Entertainment prexy, Greg Coote.

He said Singapore’s strengths lay in areas like digitization, animation and post-production, but increasingly ScreenSingapore would be a platform for crossovers.

“Where we’ll see the crossovers is in talent, both in front of and behind the cameras. This is a hub, speaks English, a finance center, the phones work, you can’t say that about all the territories in the region. It’s a good spot,” said Coote.

Among the events held were the Film Finance Forum@Screen Singapore, presented by Winston Baker in association with Variety, the World Intellectual Property Organization Masterclass, The Art of Film Producing workshop, as well as other presentations and preems.

In all, almost 6,000 people attended the 11 red carpet and gala bows and 14 Previews@ScreenSingapore movies.

Ashok Amritraj, chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment, said the event was a “hugely ambitious enterprise” but one that had worked.

“The screenings and the film finance forum went really well, as did all the conversations and workshops, it’s been a tremendous start and something to build on,” said Amritraj.

“Singapore is perfectly situated. There is a great sense of safety here, the law is followed, piracy is not what it is in other areas, it’s a great tax situation, there are a lot of reasons why Singapore should be a gateway and a platform in our business.”

ScreenSingapore was organized by the city-state’s Media Development Authority and Experia, and they said it would be back next year, at the same time.

“It’s been quite a journey and our impressions have been encouraging. The feedback has been positive from guests and participants, and we managed to draw together key executives from across Asia and beyond, that speaks well of Singapore’s competitiveness,” said MDA CEO Aubeck Kam.

Kam said the meetings on the sidelines were good, while the expo was rather constrained by the choice of hotel, which is not set up for trade fairs.

“We need to find a way to make it more compelling for exhibitors,” he said.

The premieres had gone down well, though some had been oversubscribed, and he would investigate how to free up more space.

“In terms of our objectives, we have made a lot of progess,” Kam said. “The positive feedback from the local and international film community on the inaugural ScreenSingapore is indicative that we are headed in the right direction.”

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