APOS: Southeast Asian Streamer Hooq Unveils Five Original Productions

HOOQ
'Critical Eleven'

The platform, which is backed by Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros., will begin theatrically exhibiting and streaming the projects in Asia over the coming months.

Southeast Asian streaming-video service Hooq is deepening its investments in original content.

The video platform, which competes head-to-head with Netflix and Amazon in the region and counts Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. among its financial backers, said Wednesday that it will produce five new Asian originals to stream on its service.

The announcements were made on the first day of the APOS entertainment industry conference in Bali, Indonesia.

"There is a huge thirst for high-quality, unique Asian stories, told from an Asian perspective," said Peter Bithos, CEO of Hooq. "We aim to satisfy this with Hooq originals on our platform."

The first project is actually an expansion of Hooq and Globe Studios' previously announced debut original series, On the Job, from Filipino filmmaker Erik Matti. At APOS, Hooq revealed that the first episode of the five-episode show, a gritty crime thriller loosely based on Matti's 2013 critically acclaimed film of the same name, will now be a feature-length film. Hooq plans to screen the film theatrically in the Philippines in August; six weeks later, the film and the additional episodes of the first season will be streamed on the company's platform.

A second Filipino series has been given the working title The T Party. A romantic comedy, the eight-episode show centers on the online dating world. Directed by Joyce Bernal, as well as Marvin Agustin in his directorial debut, each episode "will revolve around intertwining stories based on finding love (or otherwise) through a popular dating app," says Hooq.

The other three new projects, all Indonesian feature-length films, include: revenge drama Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts; romantic drama Critical Eleven, an adaptation of a best-selling novel from Ika Natassa; and Sweet 20, a remake of CJ Entertainment's blockbuster comedy Miss Granny (2014).

Marlina, a co-production between Cinesurya and Kaninga Pictures, Sasha and Co Production, Astro Shaw, Hooq and Purin Pictures, was just selected to screen in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival in May. It tells the story of a young widow of the Indonesian hills who is attacked and robbed by a group of local men, before ultimately exacting revenge on the entire gang. Marlina is targeted to screen theatrically and on Hooq toward the end of 2017.

A co-production between Starvision, Servia Plus, Legacy Pictures, Hooq and Telkomsel, Critical Eleven stars Citra Award winner, Reza Rahadian and Adinia Wirasti from Ada Apa Degan Cinta? The film takes its title from the aviation term referring to the crucial 11 minutes during take-off and landing, when 80 percent of air accidents occur, and applies the idea to the beginning and end of a romantic first meeting. The film will open in Indonesia and begin streaming May 10.

Sweet 20 follows a 70-year-old grandmother, who is transported back to her youth as a lively 20-year-old and becomes a star. The property was previously adapted in Vietnam and became a local box-office phenomenon. Hooq's version will hit screens big and small in June.

A startup joint venture established in January 2015 by Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros., Hooq currently operates in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, India and Indonesia. The service delivers approximately 35,000 hours of Hollywood films and popular local movies and TV series to customers in the region.  

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