×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Local TV channels into film biz

Gov't initiatives to boost local filmmaking

SINGAPORE — Singapore may pride itself on being regional HQ for some 19 international TV companies, but has this emphasis on TV proved detrimental — or developmental — to the country’s fledgling film industry?

Daniel Yun, managing director of MediaCorp Raintree Pictures — itself a subsidiary of the national TV broadcaster — says it’s been easier to develop the TV side of things, but film is growing slowly.

“It was possible to build up a successful TV industry despite Singapore’s relatively small population. But for the local film industry, it’s been harder to get beyond our small market size,” he says. “That said, our film industry is still very young, and there is a lot of government support to try and nurture it. The Singapore Film Commission (SFC), for example, was set up in 1998 — the same time that Raintree Pictures started.”

Certainly there are plenty of government initiatives to boost local filmmaking, from the Media Development Authority (MDA) to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Economic Development Board (EDB), which was instrumental in bringing Lucasfilm Animation to Singapore’s shores.

But EDB and MDA have also been actively attracting international TV broadcasters here for the past 12 years. The city-state is now home to networks like CNBC Asia Pacific, ESPN Star Sports, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment Networks, Fox Intl. Channels Asia, Discovery Networks Asia and Viacom .

“The MTV production facility in Singapore has a history of 12 years. The Singapore government was enormously helpful, cooperative and eager to have MTV locate offices and production facilities here. MTV Networks Asia entered into an alliance with MDA in 2003 to collaborate on the production of the first-ever regional TV series to be aired on MTV’s channels across Asia,” says Chris Steward, exec veep of Viacom brand solutions Asia Pacific & MTV Networks Asia.

Some 30%-35% of MTV Southeast Asia channel’s content is produced in Singapore.

Discovery Networks Asia has used Singapore as a launch pad for a number of panregional initiatives, as well as benefiting from government support.

Back in 2001, in conjunction with EDB, it formed a $7.5 million content development fund to finance 50 hours of local documentary production over five years.

Network also has a close partnership with the MDA for projects like the Documentary Director’s Chair, the Gateway Asia reversioning project and two development funds established in 2005 worth $3.2 million to create 40 hours of factual programming.

According to Tom Keaveny, exec VP and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia, far from undermining the local film industry, such projects help develop local filmmaking talent.

“Both the EDB and the MDA have been very supportive of Discovery, and in return we have been committed to helping develop the local production industry and produce more ‘Made in Singapore’ content,” he says.

Steward echoes that theory. He believes in the crossover, but also that there is always room for growth and improvement.

“We believe that continued support on a bigger scale is essential if we intend to establish Singapore as a TV and film hub in the region,” he says.

More Film

  • AMC theater

    AMC Stubs A-List Becomes No. 1 Movie Subscription Service

    AMC Theatres’ Stubs A-List program, which allows customers to see three movies a week for $19.95 a month, has hit 800,000 subscribers. That figure is well ahead of the original projection, announced last June, for 500,000 subscribers by the end of its first year. According to AMC, the program is now the No. 1 moviegoing [...]

  • Millie Bobby Brown on Her Feature

    Millie Bobby Brown Calls Her Film Debut in 'Godzilla' 'Kind of Unreal'

    Millie Bobby Brown is no stranger to stardom thanks to “Stranger Things,” but she still can’t believe she’s making her feature film debut in the monster reboot “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” “It’s kind of unreal,” Brown told Variety at the premiere. “I’m like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It’s so bizarre and unreal, and [...]

  • Dakota Johnson Tracee Ellis Ross

    Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross Co-Starring in Comedy 'Covers'

    Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross will co-star in “Covers,” a comedy set in the music scene in Hollywood. “Late Night” director Nisha Ganatra is helming from a screenplay by Flora Greeson. Focus Features is partnering with Working Title Films on the movie. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Alexandra Loewy [...]

  • Sony Interactive Launches Film, TV Studio

    Sony Interactive Launches Film, TV Studio to Adapt Video Game Projects

    Sony Interactive recently launched PlayStation Productions, a studio tasked with adapting the company’s video game properties into films and television shows, according to The Hollywood Reporter. PlayStation Productions is headed by Asad Qizilbash and overseen by SIE chairman of Worldwide Studios Shawn Layden. It’s reportedly already working on its first slate of projects on the [...]

  • Breaking Glass Takes U.S. on Female

    Breaking Glass Takes U.S. on Mexican Female Empowerment Pic 'Tatoo of Revenge' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Philadelphia-based indie distributor Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to Mexican director Julian Hernandez’s female empowerment thriller “Tattoo of Revenge” in a deal closed with Italy-based company The Open Reel at the Cannes film market. “Tatoo” is the latest feature by the prolific Hernandez who is known on the festival circuit for films [...]

  • Thierry Fremaux Cannes

    Thierry Fremaux Says 'Cannes Will Always Side With Artists' at Alain Delon's Tribute

    Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival, delivered a heartfelt homage to Alain Delon at a ceremony on Sunday during which the French actor received the honorary Palme d’Or. Alluding to the controversy that Delon has triggered with his past declarations, Fremaux said the actor was entitled to have his own convictions [...]

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt's '7500' Sells to Amazon

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Thriller '7500' Sells to Amazon Studios

    Amazon Studios has acquired global rights to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s terrorist drama “7500.” The deal, announced Monday at the Cannes Film Festival, excludes Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Universum will distribute the film in Germany. In “7500,” Gordon-Levitt plays the co-pilot of a plane that has been hijacked by terrorists. The title references the code 7500, which [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content