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Singapore adds project market

As Singapore closes down for a weekend of serious partying to celebrate 50 years of independence, in the same week Busan names its Asian Project Market selections and Hong Kong’s HAF opens for submissions for 2016, details have been announced for another opportunity for film finance hunters in Asia.

The Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market will run as part of ScreenSingapore, itself part of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), late this year.

The inaugural edition of SAFF has set modest targets, aiming to select 10 projects (compared with the 25 – 30 commonly named for the region’s established events). Awards totalling S$40,000 (cNZ$40,000) are on offer.

The application criteria ensure a skew towards a strong South East Asian focus for projects, but doesn’t exclude applications from beyond the region. The move is in line with the regional focus the Singapore International Film Festival has developed for industry programmes, including a short film competition and filmmakers’ lab.

SAFF is being run with Europe-Asia co-production programme Ties That Bind, which has run at Italy’s Festival of Far East Film in Udine since 2009, and local partner the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA).

The projects selected for this year’s Udine event (which ran in May) will be presented in Singapore alongside those chose from submissions to SAFF. One Singaporean project was at Udine this year, comedy For Adults Only, presented by producer Jen Nee Lim and director Leon Cheo.

The SAFF projects will be selected by a panel, which leans more to arthouse than commercial fare. While Singapore’s industry turns out very little arthouse fare, it’s popular (with filmmakers, at least) elsewhere in South East Asia. SAFF’s selection panel members are: Venice programmer Paolo Bertolin; SAAVA Chair Chan Gin Kai; Ties That Bind organiser Kristina Trapp; MD of genre project market NAFF Jongsuk Thomas Nam; and Cannes Directors Fortnight selector Benjamin Illos.

SAFF is the second addition to SMF announced recently, with industry conference Digital Matters also joining the line-up.

The Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market is open for applications, which close 30 September. The event will run 2 – 4 December. The Singapore Media Festival runs 26 November – 6 December.

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