Singapore Media Festival 2017: Taking Asian Storytelling to the Global Forefront

Southeast Asia’s leading international media event, the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), announced today that its fourth edition will be held from 23 November to 3 December 2017. Hosted by the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), the festival is a marquee platform to showcase notable regional creative talent, and provide opportunities to discover and connect with a vibrant global media community.

Building upon the festival’s theme of ‘Celebrating Asian Storytelling’, this edition will see the introduction of the Country-of-Focus programme — a concerted spotlight on one Asian country, recognising its rich stories, talents and achievements. 2017’s Country-of-Focus will be Indonesia.

Mr Robert Gilby, Chairman of the Singapore Media Festival Advisory Board and Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company (SEA), said,” Introducing a Country-of-Focus programme is all about creating a bold platform to showcase the quality and variety of creativity originating from that country, and affirming its strong community of creators who continue to push boundaries and explore more collaborations between the country, Singapore and the rest of the world.”

He added, “Southeast Asia is a region rich in potential for great storytellers, and we see the importance of amplifying these voices on the global stage. Singapore and Indonesia commemorate 50 years of bilateral and diplomatic relations in 2017, and in recent years Indonesia has proven to be a vibrant source of great content, talent and stories. It is timely that SMF marks its first Country-of-Focus with Indonesia.”

This spotlight on Indonesia will thread across all SMF constituent events – the Asian Television Awards (ATA), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore (SS), Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), and SMF Ignite. Award-winning Indonesian singer and actor, Afgan (Afgansyah Reza), will be headlining ATA’s Awards Ceremony, and ATF is also expecting stronger participation from Indonesian talent and media businesses this year including Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV), Metro TV, and Media Nusantara Citra (MNC), Indonesia’s largest media group and a long-time supporter of the event.

As SMF grows amid a constantly-evolving media landscape, the SMF Advisory Board, consisting of industry heavyweights from Singapore and the region, continue to lend their expertise towards charting the Festival’s strategic direction. Mr Chang Long Jong, a media industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in the broadcast and digital domains across Asia, joins the Board this year. He also assumes the role of mm2 Asia’s Chief Executive Officer from 3 April.

Chang shared, “Having witnessed the evolution of content development in Singapore and the region over the last three decades, it is very exciting to see how new and varied content, platforms and formats are being presented today, showcasing our Asian stories anew. I am honoured to be part of the passionate team working to elevate Asia’s storytellers to a global audience through the Singapore Media Festival.”

Exemplary of the diverse formats and presentation of Asian stories, the IMDA, will be leading a delegation of 23 Singapore companies to the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), where it will present over 200 hours of film and television content across more than 60 titles.

2017 and Beyond (Film picks) | Upcoming film projects supported by the Singapore Film Commission

•Blessed Reunion is an action film around a young female contract killer who returns to her hometown for her family’s Chinese New Year Reunion with an ulterior motive – only to find out that she, the hunter, is also the hunted. The film, produced by Weiyu Films, is currently in the pre-production and development phase.
•Wonder Boy is the biopic of acclaimed Singaporean singer-songwriter Dick Lee, loosely based on Lee’s childhood years that led to the release of his first album. Set in early 1970s Singapore, the film centres on a musically-inclined social outcast who starts his coming-of-age journey after he forms a band – The Wonder Boys. Produced by Bert Pictures & mm2 Entertainment, the film is slated for release in August 2017.
•One Headlight sets out to be a musical on an aspiring musician who goes on a road trip with his five-year-old niece, hoping to reunite her with her father. As they travel along the Taiwan coast to find clues about her father’s whereabouts, they bond over classic old songs. The film is currently being developed by mm2 Entertainment.

2017 and Beyond (Television picks)

•Let’s Do It Together is an infotainment travel series featuring local communities from all over the world, including France, Finland, Guatemala, Nepal and Spain. Produced by August Pictures, the Mandarin programme spotlights the unique stories of ten different communities, and captures their community spirit as they come together to achieve various tasks.
•Take A Break, produced by Mediacorp, is a brand new travel programme that picks the best short holiday destinations, sharing itineraries on unique and lesser-known places that are worth venturing over the weekend. There will be something for every traveller – whether a solo sojourn, a romantic trip for two, a getaway with friends or a family vacation.

Capturing the Asian voice | Fresh Asian-themed content

•Jimami Tofu, a web telemovie by Singapore-based BananaMana Films, is a romance drama revolving around a Singaporean chef who finds himself in Okinawa, begging an old chef to teach him traditional Okinawan cooking, and a top Japanese food critic who travels to Singapore to discover Southeast Asian cuisine. The film is available in the trade market for the first time, and has received strong interest from international distributors around the world.
•Happiness (R)evolution is a brand new documentary on Bhutan, looking into how, for a country famously known for its Gross National Happiness index, it is actually also one of the world’s most isolated nations. As the Buddhism kingdom modernises and opens up to the world, will ‘the happiest country in the world’ remain contented and happy as they are? The show is produced by XTREME Media, and is currently in production.

Exciting Genres & Formats | Offering refreshing perspectives & innovative storytelling

•Dream Defenders Virtual Reality invites audiences to go beyond the TV series and step into the universe of the Dream Defenders using Virtual Reality, getting them to run, fly, shoot and interact within the universe with friends and fans of the series from around the world. This interactive multiplayer VR game is currently being produced and developed by Tiny Island Productions.
•Food Of Life, an infotainment series by WaWa Pictures explores the significant role of food in the same festive celebrations, but in different countries – the difference in the dishes served and their ways of celebration. Starting from Singapore, interesting comparisons will be made with that of different regions around the world, giving audiences a better understanding of traditional festivals and significant days across cultures.

New stories are also being developed and brought to fruition at the Hong Kong — Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), taking place on the side lines of Hong Kong FILMART. This year, three upcoming film projects by Singapore filmmakers have been shortlisted for co-production ventures with the region’s top film financiers, producers, bankers, distributors and buyers. They include:

•I AM A BANANA!, directed by Honey B. Singh (Honeylove Films) and produced by Gabrielle Kelly, centres around an Asian girl living in Canada who has never embraced her Asian roots, and how she receives an unexpected ticket to Singapore where her late absentee father has left her an entire shophouse.
•La Luna by M. Raihan Halim (Papahan Films), a film about a young woman who sets up a lingerie shop in a strict Muslim village and finds herself challenging age-old traditions, turning the lives of the villagers upside down.
•The Rocks of Hua Lamphong (Taipan Films) is an action road trip film noir about an ex-soldier who is ordered to search for a girl to clear his debts but ends up escaping with her instead, inciting a manhunt from Bangkok to Singapore. It is directed by JD Chua and produced by Juan Foo.

Singapore content and talent continue to make waves around the world – Boo Junfeng’s highly-acclaimed feature, Apprentice, has been nominated under two award categories at the 11th Asian Film Awards, taking place in Hong Kong on 21 March. The film’s lead actor Fir Rahman has been nominated for the Best Newcomer Award, while editors Natalie Soh (Singapore) and Lee Chatametikool (Thailand) have been nominated under the Best Editing Award category.

About the Singapore Media Festival
The Singapore Media Festival, hosted by the Info-communications Media Development Authority, is set to become one of Asia’s leading international media events, where the industry meets to discover the latest trends, talents and content in Asia for Film, TV and digital media. Taking place from 23 November to 3 December 2017, the Singapore Media Festival brings together established media events such as the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore (SS) and Asian Television Awards (ATA), as well as a new digital event SMF Ignite. For more information about the Singapore Media Festival, please visit