WHY: Financial support for overseas filmmakers can be accessed directly through the Singapore Tourism Board’s program called Film in Singapore!, which will refund up to 50% of costs incurred in Singapore.
But films that take this coin must show the city-state in a positive light — and thus risk ending up looking like a promo, as was the case with Indian superhero movie “Krrish,” not that Indian auds who turned it into a hit seemed to mind.
Better perhaps is to access the support systems that are open to local Singaporean filmmakers via a co-production. Conveniently, the Media Development Authority has signed or is readying treaties with most of the world’s major co-producing countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The tiny nation, long a regional financial center, is also the home of several film funds. These are typically operated by private-sector companies, but they had their pumps primed with coin from the all-powerful MDA.
Biggest is the $400 million fund operated by management company RGM, which relocated from Australia to Singapore and now hopes to make 10 films budgeted at $40 million each over the next four years.
Other firms, such as Japan’s Entertainment Farm and Hyde Park Asia, also have Singapore funds. TV movies such as RAI Fiction’s “Wherever You Are” have been supported through the European-Singapore Co-Production Fund, managed by Six-Six-Eight.
Local filmmakers are supported through the New Feature Fund, administered by the Singapore Film Commission.
SFC boss Tan Chee Wee says he would next like to see a scheme that fits somewhere between the low-budget efforts of the New Feature Fund and the big-budget films with North American theatrical distribution that the private funds are targeting. That might involve creating a new funding program or modifying an existing one.
Meanwhile, the media and locations department within the SFC and the STB are where to turn for locations support, crews and services, although there is a lack of purpose-built studios — MediaCorp has small TV studios, and the Mark Burnett TV facilities in the Sentosa resort district are still under construction.
But if Tan’s goal of delivering an annual 20-30 made-by-Singapore films is realized that may change. The country already has a decent animation sector and good post-production facilities in VHQ and Infinite Frameworks.
BONUS: Headed by Mike Wiluan, Infinite Frameworks is expanding beyond facilities and services into exec production and content development and management. Also has an animation and sfx studio 40 minutes away by boat on Indonesia’s Batam island.
RECENTLY SHOT: “Anna and Anna,” “Dance With the Dragon,” “One Last Dance”
Media Development Authority: mda.gov.sg
Singapore Film Commission: sfc.org.sg
Singapore Tourism Board: stb.com.sg
Infinite Frameworks: frameworks.com.sg