×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Daniel Craig

    Daniel Craig to Undergo Ankle Surgery After 'Bond 25' Injury

    Daniel Craig will undergo ankle surgery after sustaining an injury while filming “Bond 25.” “Daniel Craig will be undergoing minor ankle surgery resulting from an injury sustained during filming in Jamaica,” the franchise’s official Twitter account posted. “Production will continue whilst Craig is rehabilitating for two weeks post-surgery. The film remains on track for the [...]

  • Oh Mercy

    Cannes Film Review: 'Oh Mercy'

    It takes more than just watching “Oh Mercy” to understand exactly why Arnaud Desplechin was drawn to the subject matter of his latest movie, a reasonably engrossing police procedural with roots in a 2008 TV documentary. Something of an unexpected detour in the veteran director’s weighty career, the film combines multiple strands to paint a [...]

  • Spielberg's Amblin Chief Jeff Small on

    Listen: Spielberg's Amblin Chief on Making 'Movies in the Middle'

    With the sequel “A Dog’s Journey” now in theaters, Amblin Partners continues to find ways to release the kind of films that aren’t typical of what dominates American multiplexes these days. An follow-up to the 2017 surprise hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Journey” is just another example of the cinematic strategy evident at Amblin, the production [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    French Animation 'I Lost My Body' Tops Cannes Critics' Week Winners

    “I Lost My Body,” a dark French animated film from writer-director Jérémy Clapin, has come up trumps in this year’s Critics’ Week program at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the strand’s top honor, the Nespresso Grand Prize. The film, which follows a young man’s severed hand as it struggles to be reunited with its own, [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Talent Agents Blast Verve Agreement With Writers Guild

    The lead negotiator for Hollywood’s talent agencies has again blasted the Writers Guild and its recent agreement with the Verve agency — and cautioned other agencies against following suit. Verve defected from the major agencies on May 16 when it became the first sizable Hollywood talent agency to sign the WGA’s Code of Conduct. That [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content