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Making movies for all markets

Spotlight: Asian Film & TV 2012


Asia is such a vast and populous continent that finding issues in common is not always an easy task. However, one thing that interests everyone from Bollywood to Beijing is creating ways to collaborate and make movies that work in a range of markets across the region.

Singapore producer Flora Goh, who is making a 3D suspense-horror pic by Hong Kong helmer Herman Yau and Australian writer Ng Tin Chi, says the secret to making a pan-Asian co-production work is having the right package to begin with.

“Putting ‘The Second Coming’ together wasn’t that complicated. It all made sense and came together quite nicely,” she says, speaking from the film’s set.

The pic is a bona-fide Southeast Asian co-production, with funding coming from Hong Kong Film Development and the Singapore Media Development Authority through Scout Pictures. Also involved is Imagine Nation Films in Hong Kong, V Media Enterprises from Singapore, CityState Arts and Events Management, Widescreen Media (Singapore), Hong Kong private investor George Andrew Philips and Taiwan’s 1 Production Film Co.

“The language, the director, the genre, all made sense and the financiers were happy to work with different countries,: she says. “If you have the right package, it works.”

Goh says the 3D company involved, Widescreen, was the crucial element.

The main actors in the movie are from Hong Kong, with one thesp from Malaysia. Pic is being shot in Cantonese and will be dubbed into Mandarin.

Of course, China is dominating the dialogue in the film biz right now, as its B.O. soars, reaching $2.1 billion by the end of October, up more than 40% and more than all of last year.

“We looked at Mainland China but decided in the end to work with distributors there, but not in terms of co-production, because it’s a complicated process,” Goh says. She adds that, as a Hong Kong production, the pic is being made under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement, which effectively gives Hong Kong movies domestic status in China.

Yeo Chun Cheng, assistant CEO responsible for industry at Singapore’s Media Development Authority, believes China’s fast-rising consumer market means bizzers are seeking insights into entry strategies and regulatory requirements.

China’s film and TV industry profile also continues to draw auds, Yeo says. With this in mind, ScreenSingapore will feature a one-day session called Spotlight on China.

People are always looking for funding models. Some, like Goh, have opted for bringing in partners from all over the region, including tapping state cash.

Last year, the MDA simplified and revised the number of its funding schemes from 46 to five.

Its new Grant Schemes focus on story development, training and employment of Singapore talent, including freelancers, the potential of the media projects to generate paid work, and value for Singapore’s industry, Yeo says.

A New Talent Feature Grant was launched in May to encourage first and second-time feature directors.


Greg Coote
Latitude Entertainment

Ashok Amritraj
Chairman and CEO
Hyde Park Entertainment

Calvin Cheng
Founding director
Lumina-Looque Intl.

Lim Teck
Managing director
Clover Films

Melvin Ang
Founder and executive director
MM2 Entertainment

Michael J. Werner
Fortissimo Films

Nansun Shi
Distribution Workshop

Norman Abdul Halim
Executive president
Kru Studios

Shanty Harmayn
Founder and CEO
Salto Film Co.

Wayne Duband
Wayne Duband Consulting

Yu Dong
CEO and founder
Bona Film Group

Shekhar Kapur

Michael Ellis
President and managing director
Asia Pacific
Motion Picture Assn. of America

Peter Loehr
Legendary East

Wayne Borg
Deputy CEO & COO
Twofour54 Abu Dhabi

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