Indonesia will be the centerpiece at this year’s Singapore Media Fesival, which is run by the Info-Communications Media Development Authority. Now in its fourth edition, the fest’s new Country-of-Focus program consolidates its mission of celebrating Asian storytelling by picking one country to highlight and promote across all the fest’s events, such as the Asian Television Awards, Asia TV Forum & Market, Screen Singapore and Singapore International Film Festival. Indonesian cinema is undergoing a vital boom, and the fest will welcome the participation of more Indonesian content and talent as the two countries celebrate 50 years of bilateral and diplomatic relations.
Skills to weave Asian stories are also being honed at the film fest’s Southeast Asian Film Lab and the Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market, both under the umbrella of the media festival. Two Vietnamese projects that participated at the Film Lab last year have been selected by the Cinefondation Atelier: Le Bao’s “Taste” and Pham Ngoc Lam’s “Cu Li Never Cries.”
Le’s producer, Dong Phuong Thao, attended the intense six-day film lab, and her performance helped the project win Most Promising Project Prize. Anthony Chen and Weijie Lai of Giraffe Pictures have come on board “Taste” as producers.
Another project that has borne fruit is “Rahula” a docu-fiction by Thai director Puangsoi Aksornsawang. One of the lab’s mentors, director Anocha Suwichakornpong (“By the Time It Gets Dark”) liked it so much she announced last month that it will be produced by Purin Pictures, founded by Suwichakornpong and Visra Vichit-Vadakan to support Southeast Asian indie filmmakers. The company has supported directors including Mouly Surya, the third Indonesian director to compete in Cannes.
At its second edition last December, a panel of experts shortlisted 15 projects from more than 100 submissions and matched them with financiers, distributors and co-producers. The Aurora Producing award went to “Terbalik,” a Malaysian suspense thriller developed by Yasu and Bea Tanaka. The project went on to be selected by the HK-Asia Film Financing Forum in March. The fest will run from November 23 to December 3. (Variety.com)