Award-winning filmmaker Aditya Thayi has teamed with former Endemol Shine head of line production Kavitha Wijeyaratne to start Singapore production outfit Peddling Pictures.

The company has a paid-up capital of US$500,000 with a further US$2 million being raised from investors in Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

First up for Peddling Pictures is “Prison Food,” a non-fiction original series for Discovery Networks that is currently in production. Filming begins in December on Mediacorp’s feature documentary “Singapore After Dark” to be released on Singapore’s National Day in 2018. It is expected to use breakthrough night-time photography technology.

After directing and producing more than 150 hours of international content for Sony Entertainment Television, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Networks and AETN, Thayi and Wijeyaratne are now diversifying into fiction.

Peddling Pictures is in development on six-part fiction series “Nightwatch” set in the dark, seedy world of extra-judicial killings in the barangays (small districts) of Manila. Also in development is a heist project “Woodlands” that tells the story of two brothers from Johor Bahru who decide to rob the last train from Singapore to Malaysia. Plans are also afoot to explore fiction content for the lucrative Indian market.

“For me sticking to doing original shows and staying away from the corporate-funded-branded content has paid off,” Thayi told Variety. “I was always confident that Asian audiences would see through the farce (of branded content) and demand more emotionally truthful content in both fiction and non-fiction.  It is an exciting time now to be a filmmaker. We are strongly expanding into fiction by using our non-fiction background to seek gritty fresh stories that could be developed into feature film and fiction television projects.”

Thayi won best director at Singapore’s annual Asian Television Awards in 2015 for Mediacorp’s “Dangerzone Kabul” and in 2014 for National Geographic Channel’s “I Wouldn’t Go In There”. Shows directed by him have scored some 35 nominations at the Asian Television Awards.

Prior to Endemol Shine, Wijeyaratne had a five-year stint as head of production for Singapore outfit Infocus Asia.

Peddling Pictures is also looking to nurture local talent and give them the production and creative support needed to make breakthrough content.