ScreenSingapore, together with Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA) and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshop (TTB), today announced three producers from the Philippines, Singapore and Myanmar as award recipients of the fourth Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market. “Filipino” took home the prestigious Cre8 Co-Production Award, while “The Carjacker” won the Aurora Media Award and “The Women” received the AV8 Award.
Conceived in 2015 to promote opportunities for the meeting and matching up of film creatives with their investor counterparts, the SAFF Project Market is a platform for promising feature-length projects with Southeast Asian elements to connect with global network of media financiers, distributors and collaborators. By facilitating interaction between producers and key players in the film industry, the initiative strives to grow the standards of filmmaking in the region.
Winning projects tell Southeast Asian stories
A political thriller set in Cebu, Philippines in the aftermath of a massive explosion, “Filipino” tells the story about a journalist who sneaks through the blockade and gets intertwined with five individuals trapped in a fatal chess game between fundamental extremists and higher powers.
“Filipino” stood out amongst the finalists for its potential to be commercialised and co-produced across Southeast Asia and beyond, and also for its evocative storytelling. For this project, producer Mel Allego will receive a co-producing financing worth between US$20,000 and US$200,000 from Cre8 Productions.
An elated Mel Allego commented, “I’m totally thrilled and gobsmacked! Although this is my first feature length film, I have always had an artistic background, as a dancer and lately as an organiser of the Cebu International Film Festival. This award will certainly go a long way for my passion and love for great storytelling through films.”
On his inspiration for a political thriller Allego said, “I always have had (these) thoughts and ideas about my experiences living in contemporary Philippines. I wanted to do a film that is something nonconventional, and get people thinking about what is correct, what is incorrect – against the backdrop of the current uncertain socio-political landscape.”
Separately, “The Carjacker” won the Aurora Media Award that provides co-production financing worth between US$10,000 and US$150,000. Set in a small town in Malaysia, this is a contemporary crime drama of a taxi driver with a violent past, who must hijack a car off the street and deliver it to a mafia boss who is holding this estranged younger brother ransom.
Equally thrilled, director and writer Oman Dhas shared, “I am truly amazed – I did not expect to win this award. I am grateful that I got a chance to participate in SAFF, where I was hoping to find potential financiers, co-producers and distributors. But this win will now change everything, and it will also certainly elevate the project’s appeal and eventually help for its fruition.”
This year’s SAFF Project Market also honoured an aspiring young producer and a director each with a training voucher worth S$2,000 as part of the AV8 Award. The award went to producer Youngjeong Oh and director The Maw Naing for their work on women’s issues and struggles in Myanmar titled “The Women”.
On the win, producer and writer Ms Oh said, “It’s totally unexpected! This is our first time participating in the SAFF Project Market and it was a great platform to network with who’s-who from the industry, learn from great experts from the region and the world, and most importantly – it gave a much-needed exposure to the budding Myanmar film industry.”
“There have been huge changes for women in the past decade, but the story of about their everyday struggles and rights for women in Myanmar is rather unusual. They are in a dilemma as they aim to catch up of with rest of the world after years of suppression,” director Naing shared in summing up the story.
The SAFF Project Market 2018 received submissions from across Southeast Asia, with the 15 finalists representing Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore, covering a myriad of genres such as action, drama, horror, science fiction and thriller.
SAFF Project Market is a partnership between ScreenSingapore, SAAVA and TTB, and is supported by the Asia-Europe Foundation. For more information, please visit http://www.screensingapore.com.sg/film-financing-forum/
ScreenSingapore is co-located with the Asia TV Forum & Market, and is part of the Singapore Media Festival.