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Singapore Media Festival 2020 reimagines Asian storytelling and opportunities for Asian creators

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The seventh edition of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) is back this November with a hybrid format and a refreshed lineup that will propel Asian stories to a global audience. The 11-day Festival will bring together the region’s best talents through a mix of physical and virtual programmes that showcase the sector’s ingenuity, creativity and resilience and presents diverse experiences that reimagine Asian storytelling.

Hosted by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SMF takes place from 26th November to 6th December 2020. It consists of the Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore (SS), the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), and this year’s new addition, the inaugural SuperGamerFest (SGF) 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and restrictions on large-scale consumer events, Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) will be taking a hiatus this year.

Mr Howie Lau, Assistant Chief Executive, Media and Innovation, IMDA said: “This year has been undeniably challenging, but the resilience and creativity of our media community as they navigate uncharted waters, adapt, collaborate and continue telling our stories has been inspiring. This has brought on a fresh wave of new experiences and uncovered growth opportunities for the region. As the market re-opens and global players look to tap on the diverse stories in this region, we stand ready to celebrate novel ideas, talents and innovation, and to reimagine Asian storytelling for the global stage.”

The Singapore Media Festival is Asia’s pre-eminent media marketplace, having facilitated more than USD1.7 billion (SGD2.3 billion) worth of deals between local and international media companies between 2014 and 2019. As a platform for opportunity, SMF continues to open doors to enable businesses to access the region’s vibrant media market and talent.

The Asia TV Forum & Market 2020 will host its full market and conference experience online through its ATF Online+ digital platform from 1st to 4th December, combining virtual trade markets, conferences and pitches, and speed dating opportunities on the platform. The four-day event will also bring together top executives from companies such as BBC Studios, Tubi, TV Chosun and WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks to share insights into the developments in the region’s media industry, and the innovative solutions that adapt to the new challenges posed by the pandemic. The full ATF programme and resources will remain available until 28th February 2021. The annual Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market by ScreenSingapore also returns in a virtual form this year, striving to connect promising project ideas to potential investors and financiers. Submissions have closed, with entries received from 14 markets including the United States, Netherlands and Japan.

SMF continues to celebrate the region’s rising media talents and content creators, and will gather the industry’s key thought leaders and maestros in conversations on advancing the region’s media industry. In its third edition, the Asian Academy Creative Awards will deliver a unique four-day virtual awards experience this year. It will kick off with the digital “National Winners Conference”, featuring top creatives and actors selected from 16 AAA member nations across Asia Pacific in a closed-door industry event, and acting panels with Country Winners streamed via Facebook Live. AAA also announced the 270 National Winners shortlisted across 40 award categories. Host nation Singapore competes in 37 categories, with a formidable lineup of winners, including Emmy-nominated lead actress Yeo Yann Yann, competing in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category for her exceptional work on HBO’s Invisible Stories; Chuan Pictures, competing in the Best Immersive category for their interactive film, HIGH; and August Pictures’ Mind’s Eye for Mediacorp, competing under the Best Drama category. The National Winners will go on to compete in the Grand Awards and Gala Final, to be livestreamed on 3rd and 4th December.

Also going online will be the event’s much-anticipated Red Carpet, hosted by Singaporean actress, Ms Munah Bagharib, and Award Ceremonies. AAA will use digital technology such as a branded 3D theatre, red carpet runway and visual effects to bring together talents from across the region through live broadcasts, as they celebrate and crown this year’s winners.

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The 31st edition of the Singapore International Film Festival will continue to champion the art of filmmaking in Singapore, Southeast Asia and the world through the themes of resilience, sharing, hope and community. For those who miss the magic of cinemas, audiences can look forward to both virtual film screenings and physical events. The Festival’s competition component, the Silver Screen Awards will also continue to uncover new filmmaking talents as part of its Asian Feature Film Competition and Southeast Asian Short Film Competition.

Film buffs can look forward to a conversation with Mr Shozo Ichiyama, veteran producer, founder and director of Tokyo Filmex film festival. A prominent figure in the Asian film industry, Mr Ichiyama has worked with established filmmakers on award-winning works, including Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin (2013), Ash is Purest White (2018) and Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai (1998). Most recently, The Calming by Chinese director Song Fang, and coproduced by Mr Ichiyama, was also awarded the CICAE Prize at the Berlinale Forum 2020.

This year, SMF will cast a spotlight on the region’s booming esports sector with the inaugural SuperGamerFest. Presented by regional esports platform PVP Esports and powered by Singtel and Globe, Singtel’s joint venture in the Philippines, SGF will unite esports fans and the gaming community with a myriad of digital events and interactive fringe programmes across the first two weekends in December (5-6 December and 11-13 December). This includes exclusive watch parties, virtual meet-and-greets with popular esports personalities, educational workshops, masterclasses and the first-ever SuperGamerFest Awards to honour gaming content creators and esports talents from Southeast Asia.

As part of the Singapore Media Festival, the second Media International Advisory Council (IAC) will convene virtually to continue the conversation between policy makers and industry players, as they exchange insights and discuss collaborations to increase the vibrancy of the Asian media landscape. The Council will discuss opportunities in the geopolitical landscape, and how Singapore can play a stronger role in helping media companies respond and adapt to the rapid evolution of the media scene. They also look to deliberate global innovation and technology trends, so as to see how Singapore may harness these for the future. Chaired by Minister S Iswaran and comprising global media industry leaders, the Council was set up to provide critical insights and timely expertise to help companies forge new models of partnership, content creation and financing to seize the rising opportunities in Asia.

The 2020 Singapore Media Festival runs from 26th November to 6th December 2020. For more information and the programme lineup, visit their website here

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