Hollywood money for S'pore movie

Hollywood money for S'pore movie
Press conference for Kelvin Tong's new movie The Faith Of Anna Waters, the first Hollywood film to be directed by a Singapore film-maker.

It's a leap of faith that Hollywood investors have taken - and for that, Kelvin Tong is truly grateful.

The local film-maker has secured Hollywood funding for his new film The Faith Of Anna Waters.

He also has two Hollywood actors, Elizabeth Rice and Matthew Settle, to star in the English-language horror film.

While the 41-year-old would not disclose how much of his US$5 million (S$6.25 million) film came from Hollywood, it was enough to make him the first Singapore film-maker to have his own Hollywood-financed movie.

The budget was also his biggest for a movie to date. His last movie, It's A Great Great World, in 2011 cost of about $2 million. But Tong was quick to downplay the Hollywood connection.

"I'll be very honest with you, I'll only consider it a Hollywood film if it opens in North America - big."

US and international sales of The Faith Of Anna Waters will be handled by Los Angeles-based Highland Film Group.

"Faith will have a US theatrical release as all other Hollywood movies," Tong said.

"But the producers will decide how wide a release it will have after seeing the finished product."

He added: "Their marketing strategy will depend on how good my film will be. So it's my job to make it as good as I can."

The celebrated writer-director was speaking to The New Paper at The Ritz-Carlton yesterday where he introduced his two leads.

The Faith Of Anna Waters revolves around a Chicago-based reporter Jamie Waters (Rice) who arrives in Singapore to investigate the sudden death of her sister Anna.

Settle plays Anna's ex-husband Sam, who help Jamie to solve the mystery.

Local veteran actor Adrian Pang, Singapore-based Australian-Chinese actress-host Jaymee Ong and Australian actors Colin Borgona and Adina Herz round up the main cast.


The movie is also supported by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) under its Production Assistance Grant, where Tong will get back 40 per cent of every production dollar spent in Singapore.

Tong admitted that getting the funds was a long and challenging process, and he felt like giving up many times.

"We've been working on this for more than a year, from script stage to talking to investors and getting the producers.

"They're unfamiliar with us so it takes a really good script and a lot of meetings to persuade people that maybe these people from Singapore can really pull it off.

"It was so tempting to just make it a local production with a $1 million-budget. But I'm glad we held it out."

Tong said he understood the hesitation.

"Who am I? They didn't know me, they didn't know Boku Films (Tong's production company), they didn't know Singapore."

He added that the US producers came on board because they were impressed by his script and later in him after watching his earlier movies such as The Maid (2005), Rule #1 (2008), and It's A Great Great World (2011).

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