The Singapore Media Festival (SMF) will return for its fourth edition this year from 23 November to 3 December to celebrate the best of Asian storytelling. This year’s festival will feature a greater emphasis on emerging technologies and innovation, more platforms to springboard new content ideas, increased regional collaborations with Indonesia as SMF’s first country-of-focus, and a bigger festival village to bring the festival experience closer to the public. With a robust line-up of events in store, SMF 2017 presents fresh and exciting opportunities to discover the latest trends and reinvent the way Asian stories are told.
Hosted by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), the SMF consists of established constituent events including the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asian Television Awards (ATA), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore and IMDA-led SMF Ignite. Robert Gilby, Chairman of the SMF Advisory Board, said, “This year’s festival continues its celebration of Asian storytelling, showcasing the region’s most talented creators and successful media businesses. Bringing the industry together provides an abundance of creative and commercial opportunities through cross-market collaborations and innovative stories that embrace new technologies.”
Spotlight on emerging technology trends
Putting a spotlight on emerging technology trends, VR X SMF Ignite – a new one-day conference and exhibition to be held on 29 November – will bring together technologists, creators, developers and users to exchange insights on the VR ecosystem and discuss how this new paradigm can create opportunities for businesses in media.
Participants can look forward to hearing from industry professionals such as Founder and CEO of Ultimate Creators Create Virtual Reality (UCCVR), Allen Foo, who will speak about key insights in the VR ecosystem in China. Managing Director of Vision Strategy Storytelling (VSStory), Jacqui Hocking, who is nominated as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 Asia’s young advertising, marketing and media entrepreneurs, will also be moderating a panel on the use of VR solutions and immersive media for enterprises. Alexandre Regeffe, VR consultant and post-production specialist at Neotopy, will go in-depth into the post-production and storytelling process of 360 VR documentary “Expedition Antarctica”, which is a sequel to the Academy Award winning feature “La Marche de l’Empereur” (March of the Penguins). ILMxLAB will share insights about storytelling for immersive entertainment. Participants can also look forward to a larger VR Exhibition which will be located within ATF and ScreenSingapore’s market floor. The exhibition will showcase the innovative use of VR for entertainment, and explore immersive media solutions for enterprises.
Creators X SMF Ignite, a two-day event to be held on 28 and 29 November, will be organised in partnership with Bloomr.SG (Mediacorp Creators Network) to equip digital creators with skills that revolve around storytelling, creativity, technology integration and market grade pitching. Participants with outstanding ideas will have a chance to walk away with cash prizes. An open call for participation will be launched on the week of 16th of October to invite content creators from Singapore to be a part of the experience, where they will be able to learn from and interact with veterans and corporates in the industry.
SGIFF’s Future of Cinema forum, organised with Canadian filmmaker and Creative Director of EyeSteelFilm, Sandra Rodriguez, and Australian filmmaker Aaron Wilson, will delve deeper into how VR technology has allowed for more innovative storytelling on a medium that transcends film, television and traditional media.
As an associate event of SMF, Beach House Pictures will host a career and media workshop titled “Careers in Content in the Age of Digital Disruption” at PIXEL Studios on 27 and 28 November. The event will feature interactive workshops, the latest breakthroughs in technology such as VR and HDR, break-out sessions with industry professionals, panel discussions and screenings of award-winning content.
With widespread use of technology generating large amounts of data about consumers, ATF Leaders’ Summit will focus on big data, a key tool for uncovering audience behaviours and preferences. In addition to releasing exclusive data and delving into the rationale of modern business decisions, industry experts will shed light into today’s omniplatform environment – taking a look at how content producers can creatively utilise various technological platforms for seamless storytelling across multiple screens.
Platforms to recognise innovative Ideas
To recognise the best innovative ideas and stories, SGIFF’s Asian Feature Film Jury will be headed by award-winning film director behind Elizabeth and Bandit Queen, Shekhar Kapur (India). He is joined by Iranian-American screenwriter and film director, Ana Lily Amirpour (United States); filmmaker Clara Law (Hong Kong/Australia); and Locarno Festival’s Head of Programming, Mark Peranson (Switzerland). Separately, this year’s Southeast Asian Short Film Jury will be headed by the Programming Director of the Asian Future section at Tokyo International Film Festival, Kenji Ishizaka (Japan). He is supported by actress Marsha Timothy (Indonesia) and filmmaker K. Rajagopal (Singapore).
ATF will introduce its inaugural ATF Animation Pitch in search of the best ideas for original animation for children in the genres of Comedy, Adventure, Action and Fantasy. Organised in partnership with Green Gold Animation, a leader in India’s animation scene, the competition seeks to facilitate the exchange of ideas and talents between leading international television, distribution and Asian-based producers. Shortlisted participants will have the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of experienced industry veterans, including senior executives from Disney, Netflix, Nickelodeon (a Viacom brand) and Green Gold Animation. The winner will take home a US$19,000 prize which comprises a US$2,500 cash award, as well as guidance and mentorship on their project worth US$16,500.
The Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market, organised by ScreenSingapore in partnership with the Southeast Asia Audio-Visual Association and Ties That Bind, as well as the ATF Formats Pitch – which is backed by all3media international – will return this year to connect promising project ideas to potential investors and financiers. A successful case study is XTREME Media, which won the SAFF Project pitch in 2015 for “Happiness Revolution”, which is slated for release in early 2018. Xtreme Media also came out tops at last year’s inaugural ATF Formats Pitch. The format has since been adapted locally and commissioned for MediaCorp Suria, and will debut in February 2018.
To recognise significant contribution to Asia Pacific’s television industry, ATA will be presenting the ‘Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television’ to the founder of Indonesian broadcasting companies, Trans TV and City Corp, Mr Chairul Tanjung on the trade Gala evening of ATA happening on 30 November.
Greater regional collaboration and opportunities for investment with Indonesia as country-of-focus
In line with the festival’s aim of driving investment opportunities into the region through collaborations, SMF 2017 will be spotlighting Indonesia as its very first Country-of-Focus. Commemorating 50 years of Singapore-Indonesia bilateral and diplomatic ties, the festival will highlight Indonesia’s rich stories, talents and achievements across all of its constituent events.
SGIFF will recognise Indonesia’s contributions to Asian Cinema by launching a Focus series titled Histories of Tomorrow: Indonesian Cinema After the New Order. The programme highlights the practice of filmmaking in Indonesia and explores diverse trajectories within Indonesian independent cinema.
ATF will also gather major stakeholders – particularly buyers and sellers interested to know more about the Indonesia market – as a global market intelligence firm shares its latest data on the country. The world’s fourth most populous nation will also have a strong showing at the ATF and ScreenSingapore market floor, where content producers looking to sell into Indonesia can look forward to interacting with buyers representing broadcasters and platforms such as Hooq, Indonesia Entertainment Group, MNC Contents, PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi Antv..
ATA’s awards will feature popular Indonesian singer, songwriter and actor, Afgansyah Reza, who will take the stage to entertain and serenade audiences.
Prolific Indonesian filmmaker, Shanty Harmayn, who has been a creative force in Indonesia’s film industry for over a decade and sits on the SMF Advisory Board, said, “This is an exciting time for Indonesia’s media industry – local producers and content creators are taking risks, making bigger budget productions and telling a diversity of stories. My hope is for Indonesian content creators to be able to come to the Singapore Media Festival to have their voices and stories showcased, to exchange knowledge, and to share more about our market and potential.”