Singapore – The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) organisers have confirmed August 21 that award-winning director/producer Eric Khoo will head its first ever Southeast Asian Film Lab.

Khoo, a familiar name in the Asian film industry, put Singapore on the international film map with his first feature film Mee Pok Man (1995), picking up prizes at Fukuoka, Pusan and Singapore. His second feature 12 Storeys (1997) won the Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award and the UOB Young Cinema Award at the 10th Singapore International Festival, and the Golden Maile Award for Best Picture at the 17th Hawaii International Film Festival. More importantly, 12 Storeys was the first Singaporean film to be invited officially to participate in the 50th Cannes Film Festival (1997).

The Southeast Asian Film Lab is a six-day writing workshop aimed at emerging screenwriters and/or writer/directors from Southeast Asia aged between 18 and 35, with a focus on stories capturing the collective experiences of the past, present and future Southeast Asia, to be developed into feature length screenplays.

Mentors for the film lab include Akanga Films’ award-winning producer Fran Borgia, and independent filmmaker and co-founder of Da Huang Pictures Tan Chui Mui. It will be held from December 8 to 13.

Executive Director of SGIFF Yuni Hadi said, “Our thinking behind the Southeast Asian Film Lab is to unearth potential stories from the region, and explore the richness of Southeast Asian culture through the medium of film. Film is one of the fastest and most powerful ways of reaching the wider community. Through this creative collaboration between neighbouring countries, we will build up mutual appreciation and respect for our heritage amongst the participants in Singapore and the region.”

Khoo said, “I believe that this lab will help aspiring filmmakers from Southeast Asia in their story-telling. I look forward to meeting the participants”.

Ten participants will be selected to attend a series of master-classes and screenings with established practitioners from the region on possible writing approaches. They will also receive individual advice from mentors, and eventually conduct a story pitch in front of an industry panel.