With the 25th Asian Television Awards (ATA) fast approaching, Television Asia Plus spoke to award-winning Singaporean filmmaker, writer, and producer S.S. Vikneshwaran who is set to direct the highly-anticipated awards ceremony happening virtually on 15 and 16 January 2021.

In this Q&A, S.S. Vikneshwaran talked about the challenges of mounting a production in the midst of a pandemic, what viewers can look forward to in this year’s awards, and more!

Television Asia Plus (TVA): What are some of the challenges that you have encountered as you mount the 25th ATA, given that the world is in the midst of a global pandemic?

S.S. Vikneshwaran (SSV): The global pandemic has actually opened windows and doors to new and exciting opportunities rather than challenges. Adapting and moving together with these compelling times is what will keep us all united and motivated. Technology has been our pillar to stride on stronger amid this pandemic, and the entertainment industry has been key in using technology to keep everyone entertained. Just as everything we know is going virtual, the Asian Television Awards, too, is going online with its prestigious awards ceremony, and I take pride and joy in being able to present this to everyone, virtually!

TVA: What can viewers expect to see at the upcoming ATA? Do you have something new and exciting planned?

SSV: It’s the 25th edition of the Asian Television Awards in 2021, and it’s very special—25 years of honouring the best in our Asian entertainment circuit! Everyone can expect to do a little bit of time-travel, where we will take viewers back to some of our best years, and bring back noteworthy performances and moments from various parts of Asia, and present this 25th ATA in style.

S.S.Vikneshwaran asian television awards
S.S.Vikneshwaran at work. SSV has conceptualised, created, produced, and distributed noteworthy creatives across Singapore, Malaysia, and India. Courtesy of SSV.

TVA: Cosmic Ultima Pictures has been active in submitting entries to the ATA for several years. What are your impressions about the awards and what’s the motivation to submit entries?

SSV: Cosmic Ultima Pictures is five years old and is a boutique Singaporean production that that has me and my partner, Ms. Koki Selvam, who is also a media veteran herself. Although the company is relatively young, we have almost two decades of production experience. With a number of our productions winning noteworthy awards and nominations at prestigious local and international media festivals, we’ve always been active in sending out submissions for various awards. We’ve been nominated several times at the Asian Television Awards and have represented Singapore on a Pan-Asian level, with some of our nominations, being the only Singaporean selections in some categories. That in itself is an achievement for us. Although we have yet to win an award at the Asian Television Awards, sharing our creatives and our stories with the whole of Asia through this opportunity every year keeps us alive. Moreover, Asia is home and the Asian Television Awards reassured that on many levels.

TVA: Can you give us some insights on how you plan to attract more viewers across the APAC region with your direction of the 25th ATA?

SSV: The Asian Television Awards is a well-renowned name in honouring the best in the Asian television industry for 25 years now. Bringing this silver anniversary to another level is definitely a challenge for me. But thanks to COVID-19, the upcoming awards will become the first virtual awards ceremony for this homegrown brand. This itself is a feat to remember. Announcing 50 category winners over social media platforms, for millions of viewers, fans, and supporters all around Asia is special. As the show’s Director, I have to make sure that the entire experience is made exclusive and personal. With major portions of the awards ceremony shot in Singapore and the rest in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, and Bangkok, the 4.5-hour online experience that is split into two days will keep viewers entertained wherever they may be. I’ve kept the show simple, straightforward yet sophisticated in its own way—with the help of the wonderful organising team of the Asian Television Awards. I’m sure everyone will have a ball of a time celebrating Asian TV content. My best wishes to all the nominees!

Catch the live stream of the 25th Asian Television Awards on 15 January at 20:00 SGT on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Weibo; and on 16 January at 20:00 SGT for the ATA Live Show on ATA’s social media channels as well as its broadcast partner networks Formosa TV in Taiwan; Viu TV in Hong Kong; Jiangsu Broadcast in China; CignalColors and TV5 in the Philippines; and Channel O, CitraEntertainment, and The Indonesia Channel in Indonesia; Bangkok TV Ch 7 in Thailand; TodayTV in Vietnam; and Bayon TV in Cambodia. For more information, visit the official page of the Asian Television Awards.