The Philippines will be the country of honor at this year’s Singapore Media Festival. The umbrella event, with festival and market functions, set its dates as Nov. 28 – Dec. 9, 2018.

The two-week SMF jamboree includes core continuing events Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), and SMF Ignite. The recently announced Asian Academy Creative Awards replace the now collapsed Asian TV Awards.

The Filipino focus will be most clearly evident at the ATF and ScreenSingapore. The Film Development Council of Philippines will operate a national pavilion, hosting some 30 other delegates, including independent producers and filmmakers. Major Philippines companies ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Worldwide will operate from the main market.

A Spotlight on The Philippines panel discussion at the pre-market ATF Leaders’ Summit, will involve Filipino media veterans Vincent “Chot” Reyes, CEO of TV5, and Peter Bithos, CEO of regional streaming service HOOQ. The Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market will feature five projects from the Philippines among its top 15 finalists.

The AACA has set Wilson Tieng, president of the Motion Pictures Distributors’ Association of the Philippines (MPDAP), as its ambassador. The AACA will include Philippines nominees in each of its 49 categories at the Gala Awards Finals.

China, the Asian region’s biggest economy, will also be in focus. The ATF and GHY Culture Media will hold an inaugural pitching competition for projects aimed at the Chinese market.

The event aims to identify innovative feature film, online movie, and online drama series concepts in the sci-fi, thriller, myths and legends, horror and fantasy genres. Finalists will be expected to pitch their ideas to an expert panel, and winners in each pitch category will take home a $2,530 (S$3,500) cash award. GHY Culture & Media will itself will be launching “Little Nyonya 2,” a remake of the hit TV series.

One novelty at this year’s film festival will be Moonlight Cinema, comprising two free outdoor screenings. These will be held in the Gardens by the Bay location that featured prominently in the recent “Crazy Rich Asians.” The bulk of the film festival’s screening program will be announced on Oct. 23. However, it divulged that “A Land Imagined,” the Singaporean drama which won the Golden Leopard at Locarno, and appears at this week’s Busan film festival, will be among its featured titles.