The Asian Academy Creative Awards will return to a pioneering virtual studio later this week as the twin prize ceremonies remain virtual for a second year, due to ongoing COVID concerns and complex travel regulations in the region.

“It was fantastic that ceremonies like the International Emmy’s could be a physical event, but our part of the world isn’t quite there yet” said AAA president, Michael McKay, from Singapore. “It remains a different situation in Asia right now.”

The Grand Awards will present 20 categories of prize on Thursday (Dec. 2, 2021) and a further 18 at the Gala Awards on Friday. These will include scripted works such as best drama series and best actor awards.

The AAAs will be staged in the same 3D virtual Grand Theatre, created by Ross Video at the CGANGS virtual studio in Singapore, that was used in 2020. The show will be called out of a special Sydney, Australia-based Grass Valley control room established under AAA Foundation patron Elevate Broadcast.

“It’s a huge 4-story virtual theatre so this year we want to focus on using more of that environment,” said McKay. “We’ve worked more in the space now, so we’re much more comfortable there. It’s not unlike working out of a physical theatre for the second time.”

Last year, the awards production won The Telly Award out of New York. McKay says that since then the AAA has found it easier to get presenters to appear virtually. “It was almost humorous trying to explain how they would present an award in a virtual environment. but now there’s a real excitement around giving it a go,” said McKay.

The AAA will also stage a virtual red carpet and feature around 50 major artists from around the region. “The combined social media reach on the red carpet is staggering, in the hundreds of millions,” McKay said. The red carpet will be a global livestream via Facebook and also be broadcast via a score of regional partners.

The AAAs have also established a private channel, AAA[tv], which will screen the two-day national winner conference sessions and a premiere screening of the ceremonies and red carpet. Broadcast partners include Viu TV in Hong Kong, Taiwan Plus, iWant IFC, MeWatch, Danet Vietnam and VTV4Cab Vietnam.

The AAAs honor creative excellence through a peer-judged event straddling content creation, performance and media production. It is open to countries throughout the Asia Pacific region, and works on television, film, digital, streaming and emerging technologies. Through its Academy Campus it also strives to develop and encourage the next generation of industry professionals.