Film News Preview Singapore

Preview: Singapore Media Festival 2022

“Content is Still King” at the Asia TV Market & Conference 2022 (ATF).

Organised as part of the ninth edition of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), which runs as a physical event from 24 November to 11 December 2022, the ATF is expected to make a strong comeback with more than 4,000 trade professionals from leading platforms, studios, and agencies from 60 countries and regions, to celebrate best-in-class Asian storytelling, network and explore partnerships on content across all genres and platforms.

This is in line with the SMF’s theme of “Celebrating Asia’s Stories with the World”, which will also see programmes workshops and initiatives across film, television, and digital and immersive media, offered by SMF partners Screen Singapore, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) and CreatorWorld, all working together to explore and facilitate the creation and distribution of Asian content. Participants of the 2022 edition of SMF can thus expect fresh offerings that showcase and recognise the best of Asian storytelling, as well as a coming together of influential, promising and prominent industry talent, showrunners and companies from around the region to network, connect and collaborate.

The ATF in particular will be key to this, acting as an Asian hub to connect the world’s producers, financiers, content creators and networks. Featured exhibitors this year include ABS CBN Corporation, BEC Thailand, FremantleMedia Asia, ITV Studios, NBCUniversal Networks International, Paramount Global Content Distribution, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros Discovery and Zee Entertainment Enterprises, alongside up and coming companies such as Bilibili from China.

Alongside the market, the ATF will also feature panels and conferences featuring business industry leaders and decision makers convene to present high-level discussions on trends in the entertainment content industry. These include a Spotlight on Korea, providing high-level insights into the Korean entertainment content industry; sessions about new financing models and money matters behind content production; and the inaugural Lab Series looking at Formats and Documentary, which will present experts who will share about IP protection (Formats Lab), and offer pertinent pointers on what it takes to produce content that can be universally sought-after, increasing its financing appeal and sales value (Doc Lab).

Speaking to featured speaker Justin Deimen, President, 108 Media (Global) & Executive Director, Southeast Asian Audio- Visual Association (SAAVA), we gained more insight into ATF’s integral role in growing and developing the industry. “The ATF is a market that brings businesses together, and hopes that it matchmakes the right people to help launch the 2023 strategy for various projects,” says Justin. “The industry has gotten increasingly competitive over the last few years, where festivals and platforms are already seeking to premiere various shows, and are even looking at work that’s still in production to pre-empt possible successes.”

Justin has been in the industry for some time now, starting off as a journalist, working for international publications such as TimeOut London and TheVillageVoice, before moving on to working for film festivals such as the International Film Fest Rotterdam. Today, he leads productions and financing across all genres and formats in every major international territory as a creative entrepreneur and C-level executive advisor and board member, and is often the focal point of complex/matrix teams, building meaningful partnerships across the entire ecosystem through film, TV, branded content, media-tech, esports, licensing, distribution, IP investment, fundraising and M&A.

“In Singapore, I realised there were a lot of opportunities to upscale and increase our financial capability. Everyone wants to be a creative producer, but someone has to do the administrative work,” says Justin. “Right now, the key is to make sure there’s a proper ecosystem for the global market for emerging content, and that comes from filling in the gap, where emerging markets like Asia are not having their content distributed to the world.”

Justin then emphasises how the future lies in international co-production. “Singapore has such great potential to co-produce with the world. Just recently the TV adaptation of Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh Investigates was announced, which will star Sanjeev Bhaskar and be produced in Kuala Lumpur, and is signed to BritBox international,” says Justin. “There is a huge willingness for these shows to travel, but there has to be the infrastructure for that to happen, which is what we’re putting together now, and hopefully, lays the groundwork for future projects.”

“We’re at the point where it is no long a case of ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ content – we are all competing for the same pairs of eyeballs, and we have to reach a global audience. When you put all these producers and distributors in the same room at ATF, that’s when everyone will see the quality content from Asia,” adds Justin. “It’s great that the IMDA recognises and sees the value of such a platform, because the industry cannot take care of itself. As a small country, we cannot keep looking at what the region alone is doing, but the world, especially knowing that we can compete on a global level.”

“What’s most important is that people recognise the value of IPs, and become more business-minded going forward. We cannot be restricted by ceilings we impose on ourselves, and see how much potential there is in content,” he concludes. “The world is developing at a rapid rate, and content is converging, A few years ago, people in television wouldn’t even speak to people in film because they think it’s a different medium. Much like how a lot of technology we use in film today originates from video games, we realise we can no longer work in silos, and have to understand that it all works in tandem.”

Singapore Media Festival 2022 runs from 24 November to 11 December 2022. More information available herehere

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