×

Revered Singaporean production outfit Zhao Wei Films is presenting a raft of diverse projects at Locarno Film Festival’s Match Me! forum.

Boo Junfeng, whose “Sandcastle” and “Apprentice” were Cannes selections in 2010 and 2016 respectively, returns with the suspense drama “Trinity.” Formerly known as “Dominion,” the multi-territory co-production will follow a pastor who becomes infatuated with a disciple. The project, currently in development, won the CNC cash award at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in 2018 and participated at the Berlin coproduction market earlier this year.

Adding to the ever-popular J and K horror genre is Mai Nakanishi’s Singapore/Japan/Korea coproduction “Hana.” Based on her acclaimed 2018 short of the same name, the film will see a high school student taking up a well-paid babysitting job only to discover that it can be terrifying.

In addition, Zhao Wei is planning six 45-minute episodes of €3.5 million ($3.9 million) budgeted drama series “Rose” that will tell the story of Chinese-born cabaret dancer Rose Chan, who cut a swathe across Malaya in the 1950s before her philanthropy showed another facet of her personality to the world.

“I think we’ve been looking for projects with strong artistic visions and a distinct voice which we are proud to share,” Zhao Wei’s Junxiang Huang, who is representing the company at Locarno, told Variety. “We are looking for co-producers for most of the projects.” He independently produced Tan Bee Thiam’s comedy “Tiong Bahru Social Club” with the blessing of the Zhao Wei team. In the film, which is a Tiger Tiger Pictures and 13 Little Pictures production, young Ah Bee joins a company that is building the “Happiest Neighborhood in the World” with data, revealing the absurdity of life. The film is now in post and is looking for gap financing and sales.

Zhao Wei began in 1995 with auteur Eric Khoo’s “Mee Pok Man” that received wide festival play, including Venice and Berlin. His next, “12 Storeys,” was the first Singaporean film to be selected at Cannes, while his “Be With Me” opened Directors’ Fortnight in 2005. Apart from Khoo’s oeuvre, the company has produced some of the most seminal films in Singapore’s cinematic history, including Royston Tan’s “4:30” and “881,” and Boo Junfeng’s “Sandcastle” and “Apprentice.”

Elsewhere, Singapore’s Momo Film Co is at Locarno with a couple of projects that have been active on the development circuit. He Shuming’s Singapore/Korea drama “Ajoomma,” about a widow finding a new purpose in life who gets lost on a trip to Korea, has previously won awards at International Film Festival & Awards, Thailand’s SEAFIC and the Singapore International Film Festival’s Southeast Asian film lab.

Nelicia Low’s Singapore/Taiwan dark comedy “God Sister” looks at an aspiring actress stuck with looking after her autistic brother, who gets mistaken for a goddess and abuses her position to punish her parents. The project has been to the Singapore International Film Festival Southeast Asian film lab and the Le Groupe Ouest Less Is More Film Lab with the support of Creative Europe Media.

And, Aand Company is in advanced development on Carlo Francisco Manatad’s Singapore/Philippines/France “Whether the Weather Is Fine,” a drama set in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, that has been gathering momentum around the world including at Cannes, Tokyo, Busan and Sweden.

Match Me!, running Aug. 9-11, is an informal networking platform, now in its fifth year. This year, a partnership with Cinema do Brasil, Estonian Film Institute, Istituto Luce Cinecittà – Filmitalia, Latvian Film Center, the Mexican Film Institute, Polish Film Institute, ICA Portugal, ICAA Spain and the Singapore Film Commission sees producers from these countries participate in the forum.