China, Singapore to sign memorandum

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SINGAPORE -- China and Singapore are preparing to sign a government-level memoranda of understanding in the next few months "to promote bilateral media cooperation," Christopher Chia, CEO of the Media Development Authority of Singapore, said Friday at a news conference in Beijing.

The new agreements are part of broad efforts to strengthen ties between the two countries. These include a joint film festival development program between the MDA and the Film Bureau of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the MDA said in a statement released after the briefing.

No dates for the MOU signing have been confirmed, but the first Singapore Film Festival will be held Oct. 13-18 in Beijing as part of the joint festival development program.

"The MOUs will provide a framework to facilitate business development for both countries' media industry players, as well as to promote each country's media output and expertise," Chia said.

Chia highlighted shared linguistic and cultural links between the two countries.

"What makes us different is our unique East-West sensibility and a cosmopolitan outlook grounded in our multicultural Asian heritage," he said. "These not only add a different perspective to the creative process in media projects, but also make Singapore an ideal gateway for China companies looking to expand beyond their shores."

The October festival will be part of the government-backed multiagency Singapore Season in China 2007 in October and includes the first China-Singapore Media Business Forum.

The Singapore Season, launched in London in 2005, is part of the government's cultural diplomacy program.

In addition to highlighting government media policies, investment and business opportunities in both countries, the forum focuses on developments in the interactive digital media sector, the MDA said.

"This is an example of the steps we are taking to further open the doors for cultural and information exchange. The Singapore Film Festival is an excellent opportunity for China audiences to gain a greater understanding of our society and the issues facing contemporary Singapore," Chia said.

Singapore will host a Chinese Film Festival in Singapore next year, Chia added.

The October festival comprises six Singapore-linked films from directors such as Royston Tan, Jack Neo, Djinn Ong and Kelvin Tong.

Jack Neo's "I Not Stupid Too" will open the festival, whose line up also will include Tony Ayers' "The Home Song Stories," which stars Joan Chen as a Shanghai nightclub singer in love with an illegal immigrant in Australia.

"I truly believe that the Singapore Film Festival can help Chinese audiences to better understand Singapore, the beautiful country, her people, as well as their customs," said Luan Guozhi, SARFT's director of international cooperation. "As a result, we can build even stronger ties between the people in China and Singapore."
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