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Singapore Media Festival 2020: Made-With-Singapore Content forges ahead with new funding opportunities and global partnerships

Screenshot 2020-12-04 at 8.17.44 AM

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has announced new initiatives and capability development programmes to develop innovative content, nurture local media talent, and cultivate fresh opportunities for international collaborations.

The programmes, which will further strengthen the competitiveness of Singapore’s media ecosystem, were announced by Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran at the opening ceremony of the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, held as part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF). Highlights include nNew partnerships with established global media companies under the Capability Partnership Programme to grow local talent and bring “Made-with-Singapore” content to an international stage; 78 new commissions under the S$8 million Public Service Content (PSC) Fund and six new feature-length projects awarded under the Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant, promising a continued line-up of quality stories for audiences in Singapore and the region, even in this challenging climate; and the Singapore Games Market Bootcamp, SuperGamerFest and VidCon Now Asia at this year’s Singapore Media Festival to celebrate online creators and spotlight the vibrant esports and gaming sector in Singapore.

“I am heartened to see our companies and talent forging ahead to find new ways to share our Asian stories. Thank you for bringing us respite with these amazing stories, reimagined for an unprecedented time. The resilience and ingenuity demonstrated by the media industry throughout this period is a story waiting to be told, to inspire future generations of storytellers,” said Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore.

IMDA has unveiled two new partnerships with Audible and KC Global Media Singapore, and will be rolling out a series of initiatives with these new and existing global media partners e.g. CJ ENM HK, WarnerMedia in the coming months. Launched under the umbrella of the Capability Partnership Programme (CPP), this series of collaborations with our partners are expected to benefit nearly 90 local media companies and over 700 media professionals in 2021 through job creation and opportunities for upskilling. Local companies and talent will be able to grow their capabilities, innovate with new formats and platforms, and showcase their works internationally.

The development of original audio content will be given a boost through a new content-collaboration with Audible (an Amazon Company), one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of original spoken-word entertainment and audio titles. The first-of-its-kind “Audible Accelerator” will provide training in audio development and production, and identify original stories for distribution on Audible’s services around the world. Over 70 media professionals and at least 10 Singapore media companies are expected to benefit from the programme, with up to ten scripts developed by “Audible Accelerator” participants will be selected to be produced into an up-to 30-minute audio pilot which will be tested on Audible’s services to an international audience.

KC Global Media Singapore, which has a strong presence in markets such as Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan will be collaborating with local media companies to conceptualise and co-develop original scripts with a regional appeal.

IMDA is also working with its existing CPP partners to expand their initiatives and introduce new ones. These include ViacomCBS, who will partner home-grown production studios to tap on new market opportunities for animation productions. Under the mentorship of media veterans at ViacomCBS, Singapore companies and talent have the chance to develop an original animation series for each of ViacomCBS’ flagship brands, MTV Asia and Nickelodeon Asia. The collaboration is expected to benefit 19 creative media professionals in roles including writers, producers, and animation artists.

Over the past few months, the IMDA has introduced a series of measures to support the local media sector. The S$8 million Public Service Content (PSC) Fund, launched earlier this year in partnership with Mediacorp, Singapore Press Holdings and Viddsee, aims to catalyse production projects through commissions of short-form content for their digital platforms. Following a call for proposals, the fund was awarded to 78 new commissions, benefitting 67 local media companies such as August Pictures, Verite Productions and Butterworks. 22 new titles were released on www.meWATCH.sg, www.viddsee.com and SPH’s digital platforms in November. Viewers can look forward to titles such as ‘Love Unbound’, ‘Singapore Sonnets’ and ‘Dim Sum’, with more titles to be released progressively by September 2021.

Ongoing projects have also made positive developments amidst this challenging climate. Three out of the eight feature films awarded at the inaugural Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant (SCPG) in 2019 are now in post-production, with the rest scheduled to start filming early next year. To continue supporting these “Made-with-Singapore” projects, a second call for proposals was launched in August 2020.

Six feature-length film projects from Southeast Asia were awarded – three from Vietnam and one each from Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. In line with the grant’s focus on creative cross-border collaborations, two of the Vietnamese films (Cu Li Never Cries and Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell) will see first-time feature directors – Pham Ngoc Lan and Pham Thien An – working alongside experienced Singapore and Vietnamese producers such as Jeremy Chua, Lai Weijie, Teh Su Ching, Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, and Tran Van Thi. Each feature length film project will receive up to S$250,000 in funding for the co-productions.

The seventh edition of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) is underway and runs until 6 December. As one of Asia’s tentpole media events, its partner line-up has always reflected the changing media industry where screens, genres, formats for storytelling, entertainment and technology are converging and creating new possibilities.

Two new events have recently been announced as part of this year’s line-up – gamescom asia’s inaugural Singapore Games Market Bootcamp, which took place yesterday, and SuperGamerFest launching on 5 December. More information on SuperGamerFest can be found at Asian Storytelling, Reimagined: New Genres And Fresh Opportunities For Asian Creators At The Singapore Media Festival 2020.

Singapore Games Market Bootcamp is part of a Digital Miniseries of events produced by the organisers of gamescom asia, the first satellite event of the world’s largest computer and videogames festival: gamescom. Yesterday saw the broadcast of its inaugural hybrid event to viewers across the globe, while 150 Singapore-based audiences attended the hybrid event live at Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre and were able to experience the excitement first-hand.

VidCon, the digital evolution of the world’s largest celebration of online video and digital creators will be launching its first Vidcon Now Asia series in Singapore on 3rd December, anchoring around the present and future of the region’s online and community-led media. Speakers include leading creators and media players like Patrick Starrr, Mr Kate, and Wengie, as well as a special live appearance from kuki.bot, the world’s first synthetic AI transhuman and her creators.

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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