Singapore Festival: SE Asia’s Commissioners Seek Fresh Projects

Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’.

“Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of original productions at Singapore-headquartered HBO Asia.

De Silva was joined on the panel by Najwa Abu Bakar, VP at Malaysia’s Astro Shaw, and Daphne Yang, executive director at Taiwan’s Catchplay. The packed audience consisted mostly of regional content creators.

Astro Shaw recently invested in Mouly Surya’s “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” and Jenny Suen and Christopher Doyle’s “The White Girl”, both playing at SGIFF. Previously, it invested in Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Cemetery of Splendor.” HBO Asia has commissioned a slew of originals including “Halfworlds” and “Serangoon Road.” Catchplay had a stake in the Taiwanese remake of Korea’s “Miss Granny,” co-financed “Assassin’s Creed” and “The Revenant” and was a co-producer on Martin Scorsese’s Japan-set, Taiwanese-made “Silence.”

“For the past two years, we have noticed that audiences are moving beyond the action genre and looking for more challenging fare. We are looking for impactful films that are told differently. Apart from finance, we can contribute through distribution, positioning and marketing,” said Yang.

“We want to make films that have a unique voice, like ‘Cemetery’ and ‘Marlina’,” said Abu Bakar. “We are looking for Malay films that travel. The biggest domestic Malay films don’t travel, sometimes not even to Singapore. Sometimes you have to support smaller films with a message. We want to participate in good storytelling.”

The panelists said their doors are open, even to newcomers. A script or a treatment, accompanied by a plan for the film’s road map ahead, will help get meetings with the funders. So too, will a sizzle reel. “If directors approach us with funding plans, it shows how vested they are in it,” said Abu Bakar. Yang also said that pre-selling a project in the right condition, can further help, as it reduces the risk for all the involved parties.

More Film

  • Crazy Rich Asians

    'Crazy Rich Asians' to Top 'The Meg's' Second Weekend

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

  • Running for Grace

    Film Review: 'Running for Grace'

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

  • Love 1. Dog Review

    Sarajevo Film Review: ‘Love 1. Dog’

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Jeffrey Katzenberg on Oscars' New Popular Film Category Controversy

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

  • Most-Anticipated Fall Movies 2018: 'A Star

    Fall Movie Preview 2018: 'Venom,' 'A Star Is Born,' 'Halloween'

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

  • Aretha Franklin 1972

    Aretha on Screen: What's the Fate of Jennifer Hudson Biopic and Embattled 'Amazing Grace' Doc?

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

  • Ruth Wilson

    'The Affair's' Ruth Wilson Stays Mum on Controversial Exit

    Southeast Asian content commissioning powerhouses congregated at the Singapore International Film Festival to discuss the kind of content they are looking for at a panel discussion titled ‘Producing Stories in Southeast Asia’. “Come to us with a project that you believe in and don’t worry about what the broadcaster wants,” said Garon De Silva, director of […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content