The Singapore Media Festival provides recognition and potential opportunities in the age of digital disruption with an incredible lineup organised for media players which ties in with this year’s theme of ‘Celebrating Asian Storytelling’ in the upcoming events. Thanussha Priyah reports.
The third edition of the Singapore Media Festival, hosted by the recently restructured, Info-communications Media Development Authority returns with two new associate events, the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) Spotlight Series, which is a one-day conference offering attendees details about a particular Asian market or sector, and ciNE65, which is a short film competition for film buffs to tell their Singapore story. Another latest addition to the basket of events is the new digital event, SMF Ignite. The established events from Singapore Media Festival include the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore (SS) and Asian Television Awards (ATA) will take place from 23 November to 9 December 2016.
The festival will highlight the abundant openings in the age of digital disruption and signifies the increasing growth of the region’s television and film industry. The festival’s theme, ‘Celebrating Asian Storytelling’ showcases the region’s talent, achievements and significant growth of the media sector. SGIFF is the largest and longestrunning film event in Singapore which focuses on dynamic programming and revolutionary Asian cinema for Singapore and the region.
Its competition component, the Silver Screen Awards gathers emerging filmmakers from Asia with its mentorship programmes, master classes and dialogues with filmmakers. Local filmmaker K. Rajagopal’s A Yellow Bird made its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival during the International Critics’ week and it’s competing for the Silver Screen Awards’ Asian Feature Film Competition. SGIFF Programme Director, Zheng Wenjie said, “In 1995, I remember watching Rajagopal’s first film and thought to myself that he has a remarkable talent and his film is one of the most visceral and powerful Singapore films that I have seen.
Hence, we couldn’t be more proud to welcome Rajagopal back to participate in our festival this year.” The 27th edition of SGIFF targets upand- coming filmmakers to assist them with the support needed to produce outstanding Asian Films. Gladys Ng, winner of SGIFF 2015’s Best Singapore Short Film is the first filmmaker to be commissioned under a new initiative for a short film by the Youth Jury and Critics Programme. The short film will make its world premiere during the opening of the festival. “Our focus is the directors and the stories that they tell and I’m really excited about this year’s lineup because we have close to about 100 films submission and it’s been curated by an amazing team. We get a huge number of submissions and those entries grow every year,” says Mike Wiluan, Chairman, Singapore International Film Festival.
SGIFF will also be paying tribute to Singapore’s independent filmmaker, the late Abdul Nizam by screening a collection of 23 of his works which include Datura (1999) and Breaking the Ice (2014). The second edition of Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market at ScreenSingapore will include 15 projects this year, which is an increase from 10 projects last year. This opens up to more opportunities for participants to work on their feature-length projects. The ATF Formats Pitch is this region’s leading entertainment content event to acquire knowledge, network, buy, sell, finance, distribute and co-produce across all platforms. Regional content creators will present their new and original, nonscripted entertainment formats to get selected as a receiver of a bespoke package worth SG $20,000 of consultancy advice, technical aid and cash support. This initiative is a partnership between ATF and
all3media international (UK). Senior Project Director of ATF and Screen Singapore, Reed Exhibitions’, Yeow Hui Leng said, “ATF and ScreenSingapore constantly evolve and adapt. At the premier stage in Asia for top TV and film players, delegates can look forward to obtaining the keys to navigating today’s robust Asia’s content market – the freshest content, latest formats, cutting-edge technology and up-to-date insights.”
ATF’s summit on “Managing the Business of Disruptors” will see C-Suite executives from Asia to discuss on the digital eco-system such as Chris Erwin, Chief Operating Officer of Big Frame (USA) and Joanne Waage, Senior Vice President of Partnerships & Programming, Viki, Inc. (USA); as well as decision-makers of telecom giants like Jeremy Kung, Chief Executive Officer of Telekom Malaysia (Malaysia) and Winston Damarillo, Chief Strategy Officer of PLDT Group (Philippines). Krishnan Rajagopalan, Co-Founder & Chief Content Officer of Hooq Group (Singapore), AwesomenessTV’s Head of Worldwide Distribution Rebecca Glashow (USA) and Kazufumi Nagasawa, Chief Content Officer of HJ Holdings and Hulu Japan (Japan) will be representing the over-the-top platforms.
ATF’s Digital Corridor’s Transmedia Producer workshops include experts such as Arnaud Colinart, Producer at Agat Films & Cie and Ex Nihilo (France) who will be sharing their experience in applying new technologies to narrative works. An experiential VR zone will allow attendees to take part in the world of Virtual Reality (VR), through screenings of VR projects, including Sundance-winning, “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness.” The Asian Television Awards (ATA) will celebrate its 21st anniversary this year with a star strut of celebrities as it honours television professionals for their valuable contribution and creative talent that has made a significant impact. This year, ATA will honour the President and CEO of Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), Ko Dae-young for his outstanding contribution to the Asian Television industry. KBS is immensely popular for the Korean drama, Descendants of The Sun which was a major hit in South Korea and across Asia, bringing success to KBS.
In 2015, the live telecast of ATA was on various channels all over the region, reaching more than 300 million viewers across traditional and digital platforms. “As the Asian Television Awards reaches its 21st year, we are set to usher in a new chapter of growth. The stellar cast of Asian hosts and award-winning performers for this year’s awards reflects the continent’s diversity and our desire to up the ante in bringing the quality of our awards programme to the next level,” says Cindy Ng, Managing Director of Asian Television Awards.
ATA will be featuring acclaimed Singaporean Mandopop singersongwriter, JJ Lin, and International Pop Phenomenon, Charli XCX. New broadcasters and channels include ABS-CBN’s Lifestyle Network Channel; CJ E&M’s TVing; POPS Worldwide’s POPS Music and POPS TV and Sistem Televisyen’s ntv 7. A high level of social media engagement and participation is expected due to ATA’s partnership with Twitter. SMF Ignite aims to garner digital content creators to learn experience and create through an exciting line-up of interactive workshops and insightful conferences.
SMF Ignite will partner with industry players such as Makers Studios, StyleHaul and Dailymotion to guide budding digital content creators through workshops across various genres, which ranges from fashion and beauty to monetisation opportunities in digital media. The attendees, experts and participants are able to gain knowledge and exchange vivid ideas regarding topics such as innovative technology like virtual reality, augmented reality, and gaming. SMF’s first Festival Square will take place in CHIJMES for event attendees and ticket holders.
It offers many F&B establishments with discounts and special menus for each festivalgoer. The latest festival happenings will be presented at the Square through outdoor screenings. “I do love what the IMDA has done here, for the creative space and the festival to form an environment for the creative people to cross over, whether its festival squares by getting everybody here for a kind of a social gathering place or having the SMF ignite event.
Now, we have multiple forums to get together and I think that’s really important because Asia is a very wide and disperse geographic region and there are tremendous talents in pockets around the region so when you bring them together, something really special comes along,” says Robert Gilby, Chairman of the SMF Advisory Board and Managing Director of the Walt Disney Company (SEA). New Waves serve as a platform for audiences to access stories year-round with sessions that were held since April. It includes monthly dialogue spotlighting stories and storytellers from Singapore and the region. More than 20,000 media industry players and members of the public gathered for the Singapore Media Festival last year, and the same result is expected for this year.