Singapore Media Festival opens local content to global possibilities

Even through tumultuous times marked by interrupted filming schedules and travel restrictions, the tenacity and drive to create authentic stories continues to propel Asian media far beyond all barriers.

Now, after not meeting in person for a year – in some cases two years – press conferences and festivals are coming back to life, including the Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore (ATF | SS), the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), VidCon Asia Summit and Singapore Comic Con. Attendees will find a lot of content on the market and lots of new developments to talk about, including what it’s like to experience in-person events together again, such as SGIFF.

“If 2020 was the year we stepped out of our comfort zones to make SGIFF a hybrid format, I’m proud to say we’ve come full circle, emerging stronger than ever and bringing the rally back to the cinema, where we let’s experience the real magic of the movie, ”says Emily J. Hoe, Executive Director of SGIFF. This year’s festival returns as an on-site event, an achievement made possible through collaborative efforts to keep attendees safe.

These and other events are the responsibility of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF). Dedicated to building Singapore as a media hub, SMF has facilitated more than $ 1.89 billion in deals between local and international media companies since its inception in 2014.

“We believe there is a wealth of talent, creativity and incredible stories in Asia, and we are grateful that we have been able to shine a light on them through SMF over the years,” said Justin Ang, Director Deputy General of Media, Innovation, Communications and Marketing at the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), a government agency in Singapore.

Singapore Media Festival 2021 – Bringing Asian Storytelling to the World

The 2021 edition of SMF will feature dynamic programming that gives Asian creators the opportunity to make waves regionally and globally. With Singapore as the gateway that connects Asia and global audiences, SMF is uniquely placed for industry insiders to meet and learn about the latest trends, talent and content in Asian film, television and digital media.

To cultivate local media talent, several SMF events should include mentoring and development programs. For example, ScreenSingapore, organized in tandem with the Asia TV Forum (ATF) December 1-3, will host the SEAScreen project market and conference. The event aims to connect promising screenwriters, directors and producers from around the world with various stakeholders in the film and television field of Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), which runs from November 25 to December 5, will feature mentorship programs, master classes and dialogues like the Southeast Asian Film Lab – a collaborative space for budding Southeast Asian filmmakers to receive feedback mentors and hearing from other artists. The Jury and Youth Critics Program, held at the same event, aims to educate new film critics who can contribute to the culture and discourse of cinema in Southeast Asia. Over 100 films will be shown at this year’s SGIFF, with works from over 40 countries, including strong representation from Southeast Asia.

After two years of absence, Asia’s largest celebration of online video and digital creators, the VidCon Asia Summit, will return to Singapore on November 25, with informative workshops focused on growing audiences and revenues in the fast-paced Asian online video market. On the theme of “The Future of Online Video,” the seven-hour multi-genre conference will feature lectures and panels from industry experts and market leaders to help creators hone their technical and design skills. management. Participants will also learn how to use their social channels to best present their vision and seize new market opportunities.

Comic book fans can rejoice too Singapore Comic Con returns after a one-year hiatus, with the colorful conference fully online and free from December 3 to January 2, 2022. In keeping with the overall SMF theme, the 2021 edition of Comic Con will showcase local talent and help them build the connections needed to monetize their ideas.

Paving the way for creatives

This year’s SMF will also focus on connecting leading multimedia players, such as showrunners, to Singapore’s creative talent. Over the years, award-winning local showrunners like Eric Khoo of Zhao Wei Films and Fran Borgia of Akanga Film Asia have propelled Singapore and Asia into international limelight.

For this iteration, SMF will work with these showrunners to promote the creation of new intellectual property (IP) and high quality co-productions. Showrunners attending the event can also package and monetize their intellectual property by securing funding and selling the intellectual property to major distribution platforms. By working hand in hand, local showrunners and talent can bring Asian stories to an international market.

“There are a number of inspiring stories, creators and opportunities here in Asia, and many of them have emerged through showrunners who have led the way in connecting the myriad of factors that make possible quality productions, ”said Borgia. “With SMF as a meeting platform for content, talent and companies, we will be able to discover even more gems that we can share with a global audience. “

Take the Hollywood hit “Crazy Rich Asians”, which was sparked by a conversation between a Singapore Film Commission executive and John Penotti, a producer who attended previous editions of SMF. The distinctively Singaporean film featured 12 local actors acting alongside Asian American stars, as well as nearly 300 local media talent in production team roles. The film grossed US $ 238 million – proudly showcasing Singapore and its talents on the world stage.

Another recent example of such a collaboration enhanced by SMF is the co-production between Indonesian director Edwin, producers Meiske Taurisia and Muhammad Zaidy of Palari Films, Singaporean producers Natalie Balakrishnan and Nathaniel P. Gunawan of Phoenix Films, and Lai Weijie of E&W Films. Their partnership led to the film “Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash”, which won the Golden Leopard at the 2021 Locarno Film Festival and will be this year’s SGIFF opening film.

For more details on the Singapore Media Festival and its partner events, visit

About Monty S. Maynard

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