The brainchild of ScreenSingapore and the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA), the SAFF Project Market could be the golden ticket to making filmmaking dreams come true.
Conceived in 2015 to promote opportunities for the meeting and matching up of film creatives with their investor counterparts, the SAFF Project Market has since acquired a reputation among the international film industry for generating regional and international collaborations.
It is increasingly attended by a thriving network of global buyers, distributors, commissioners, collaborators, and media financiers; and is where writers, directors and producers are given a chance to present their shortlisted projects to prospective backers.
Despite SAFF’s relatively new emergence in the international film financing circuit, more than a few of its success stories have already begun showing up in the limelight around the world.
Most notably, Malaysian production One Two Jaga had the recent honour in April of opening the 20th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy. Produced by Bront Palarae and directed by award-winning actor-director Shahili Bin Abdan, it had been one of the Top 10 projects selected for 2015’s SAFF Project Market.
Aside from winning the RED Digital Cinema package worth SGD25,000 at the time, Bront shared that the film’s participation in SAFF 2015 sparked off a 40 per cent sponsorship by FINAS (National Film Development Corporation Malaysia), while igniting vital relationships with project stakeholder Jazzy Pictures and the Far East Film Festival programmers.
“What the SAFF Project Market did was give the right kind of exposure to our project. It gave confidence to sponsors and funders to come on board later, and also helped us connect with key industry players within the region,” Bront said.
Philippines’ Eerie, one of the Top 15 finalist projects at the SAFF Project Market last year, is also all set for its upcoming world premiere this year. Directed by one of Southeast Asia’s most awarded young filmmakers and directors, Mikhail Red, and produced by Micah Tadena, the film found a co-producing partner and distributor through SAFF 2017.
“We closed the deal with our Singaporean producer at SAFF, making Eerie a Filipino-Singaporean co- production. We also met our international distributor through SAFF,” Micah shared. “It’s been a wonderful collaborative process with all the companies involved and we’re hoping for Eerie to be the first of many projects together.”
Also currently in the latter stages of production is Kerwin Go’s Mina-Anud, a Filipino project produced by Epicmedia with Regal Entertainment, one of the invited financiers to SAFF in 2017.
Not far behind in the pipeline are Ishan Shukla’s Schirkoa and Mattie Do’s The Long Walk, similar project finalists from the SAFF Project Markets 2017 and 2015 respectively. Schirkoa is an animated film currently in production, while The Long Walk will commence filming in September. Both productions secured financing with Singapore-based producing and incubation outfit Aurora Media Holdings through the SAFF Project Market.
Ishan elaborated on his experience at SAFF: “I was really fortunate to find amazing partners in Silver Media Group, Aurora Media and 108 Media – they are our co-producer, financier and distributor respectively. Before SAFF, I was very closed-off in my approach to pitching. It was only after SAFF that I realised there are several methods and strategies to producing, funding and distributing a film. Yes, a market like this is definitely overwhelming for a creative, but there is real experience and knowledge to be gained.”
Justin Deimen, Group Managing Partner of Aurora Media Holdings added: “We are excited and so proud to see our involvement as producers and investors in the SAFF Project Market come to fruition. This gives us great satisfaction—to be able to play a part in working with regional filmmakers and providing them the support and collaboration to produce and release their films to the world market.” Justin is also the Executive Director of SAAVA.
Yeow Hui Leng, Group Project Director of ScreenSingapore and Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), Reed Exhibitions said: “Since its inception, the SAFF Project Market has been a key platform where Southeast Asian talents share their ideas with collaborators who can take the concepts further. We are thrilled that stories have been birthed and look forward to more novel submissions in the coming year.”
The SAFF Project Market 2018 will be held at Marina Bay Sands Singapore from 5 – 7 December. It comprises the prestigious Ties That Bind (TTB) workshop for training and mentoring potential European-Asian co-productions, as well as the SAFF Film Financing Conference on the last day. It is co-located with ScreenSingapore, which forms part of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF).
Submissions for Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market are currently open. Interested writers, directors or producers may submit their film treatments by 2 September 2018. For more information on eligibility and criteria, please visit www.screensingapore.com.sg.