Angela Lee Making history in the factual world
Angela: I believe our strength, inherited from MAKE’s British journalistic roots, helped us to be uniquely equipped to produce factual documentaries to international standards. We continue to promote ourselves in the international markets as experienced filmmakers with a growing slate of internationally acclaimed productions, but our Asian expertise gives us something that very few Western production companies can boast. We are not a predominantly Western-based producer with a small office in Asia, we are genuinely Asian, bringing our experience and our blackbook of contacts to the West. This has been recently very successful with a huge Christmas production of Panda Babies for ITV in the UK. We co-produced this film with ITN Productions. This kind of co-production is essential for our growth. Budgets remain low in Asia, with demand for better production values putting increasing pressure on margins.
These commercial pressures are pushing documentary and factual players into more creative financial arrangements in the market place today, with new business models essential commercial world of advertising and marketing. As such, the likes of branded content is rapidly becoming a major form of production funding.
We will forge more ‘firsts’ in coproduction that we hope will be a precursor to yet more opportunities. We have a nimble work force that’s made up of multinational and multi-talented staff that are able to produce any kind of factual content. We also pride ourselves for producing programming promptly without sacrificing quality. When the Nepal earthquake struck, we were at the scene almost immediately and were able to produce a one hour documentary in record time. This show brought us a nomination for best direction at the Asian Television Awards 2015. And we produced the two-part series Ebola Diaries for Channel NewsAsia, following a Singaporean nurse to the Ebolastruck Sierra Leone. This series was also a nominee at the Asian Television Awards.
A growing specialsation in our company is our ability to go into areas that have experienced some disaster or terror and unpick the events six months later when a much more complex story evolves. It is very difficult today with rolling 24 hour news crews covering the minutae of every event to compete, but we are able to reveal so much more by waiting a few months and going back in. A good example of this is our hugely successful and multi-award winning film The Sinking of the Sewol, where we worked with families and survivors of the Sewol Ferry disaster in South Korea.
Share what MAKE is producing for the global market?
Angela: We are currently producing an extraordinary investigative show that looks into the murder of two British travellers on the Thai island of Koh Tao. This is a co-production for Channel 4 UK and Channel NewsAsia – a first for both channels.
As I have mentioned, we are producing our second and third series for the Bloomberg about the world’s greatest living artists. We are working with a British production company and have split the world in half, with MAKE producing all the programmes across Asia and Australasia.
A growing area of interest is video-on-demand. We are in discussions with a number of existing and emerging players in this market. This would allow us to potentially open a new area of commissioning for original content, but would also bring some of the world’s greatest factual and drama to Asia. Watch this space.
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Asian Television Awards
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