Film-makers look forward to bigger event

Film-makers look forward to bigger event
Hong Kong stars Gordon Lam Ka Tung (second from left) and Andy Lau (left) attended the premiere of their movie Firestorm, one of only two movies to open at ScreenSingapore this year, but the Asia TV Forum & Market (below) saw much business done.

SINGAPORE - In three short years, ScreenSingapore has gone from a shaky standalone entity to a combined film and television event alongside the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF).

Key announcements made at this year's ATF and ScreenSingapore, a three-day event which ended last Friday, included several international deals inked by Singapore media companies.

Among them, Singapore-based August Media Holdings' pre-school animated series, Ella Bella Bingo, has been sold to Al Jazeera Children's Channel, now known as Jeem TV and based in Doha, Qatar.

And Singapore's Silver Media Group and Los Angeles-based Ford Movie Group are creating six social and action films, including Home Invasion, a suspense thriller set in Singapore which is slated to start production in the second quarter of next year.

While this year's final sales figures are not yet available, the film and television showcase drew over 4,000 attendees from 60 countries. Last year, there were over 4,000 attendees from 52 countries.

Industry insiders such as Clover Films managing director and ScreenSingapore board member Lim Teck, 38, say that, on the whole, the two-in-one showcase was successful this year. But he adds that ScreenSingapore was more low-key compared to ATF.

For one, there were only two international movie premieres: Hong Kong action thriller Firestorm, with stars Andy Lau and Gordon Lam Ka Tung walking the red carpet, and Sino-French production The Nightingale, with writer- director Philippe Muyl in attendance.

In comparison, there were three premieres last year, with Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun Fat and French actress Sophie Marceau coming here for period drama The Last Tycoon and romantic comedy Happiness Never Comes Alone respectively.

Nonetheless, industry players are looking forward to next year, when the showcase grows even larger with the addition of a revived Singapore International Film Festival and its attendant Silver Screen Awards, as well as the Asian Television Awards.

The festival, which has not been held since 2011, will now be known as SGIFF and have a new board chaired by Ms Shaw Soo Wei, former executive director for the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society. Other board members include Infinite Studios' chief executive officer Mike Wiluan and Mr Michael Lim, assistant director of animation and digital arts at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia.

Incoming SGIFF director Yuni Hadi, 37, says: "There is a gap in South-east Asia for a major film festival and we hope to fill that gap."

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