×
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

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Crosses $250 Million at Foreign Box Office

    Things are going swimmingly at the box office for “Aquaman” as the Warner Bros.’ superhero flick hits another major milestone overseas. James Wan’s take on the ruler of the seven seas just passed $250 million internationally, and a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories brings its foreign tally to $261.3 million. “Aquaman” — [...]

  • Mortal Engines

    'Mortal Engines' to Lose More Than $100 Million at Box Office

    “Mortal Engines,” a steampunk fantasy adventure, is also an epic flop. With a budget of just over $100 million and tens of millions in global marketing costs, executives at rival studios estimate that the movie will lose upwards of $100 million. Some even project that number could float to more than $125 million. “Mortal Engines” [...]

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content