Singapore has launched a scheme to help find the next generation of filmmakers from the South East Asia region. Local content producers Blue3Asia and CreativesAtWork, with the support of Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority launched the Leap!, a short film production scheme at the ongoing Asian TV Forum & Market on Thursday.

Seven filmmakers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia will be selected to make films based on the theme of mental illness. Selected participants will be announced by the end of January 2020, with a view to the completed films being ready for potential selection at the 2020 Singapore International Film Festival. The films will be 30 minutes or less in duration, with the majority likely to be more than 10 minutes.

The participants will be mentored by filmmakers Fran Borgia (“A Land Imagined”), Daniel Yun (“1965”) and Michael Kam (“Melodi”). The seven filmmakers will work with the mentors and other industry practitioners through lectures, pitching, sample film screenings and focus group discussions to come up with a workable first draft of their scripts.

The budget per short is likely to be in the range of $29,000-$37,000 (S$40-50,000), Yun said, though the final figure depends on sponsoring companies.

Leap follows on from the ‘15 Shorts’ initiative, a collaboration between the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre and Blue3Asia where 15 Singapore filmmakers were selected to show a lesser-told side of Singaporeans from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Earlier this year, CreativesAtWork and the IMDA launched a separate digital initiative, Storeys, to discover, fund and promote 15 independent content creators for stories that have a strong positive social impact. The content creators received guidance from award-winning mentors, such as Nas, vlogger and creator of popular video series Nas Daily, and Josiah Ng, head of film and social content at advertising firm DDB Group Singapore. The first three completed works and teasers for the next 12 productions were screened at the ATF.