- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Tumblr
The team behind the thriller Nina Wu (Zhuo Ren Mi Mi) had a simple message for the world when asked for their reaction after their pan-Asian production was selected as part of this year’s Un Certain Regard section.
“We want our voice to be heard loud and clear,” was their official statement to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a sentiment shared by filmmakers throughout Southeast Asia as markets in this wildly diverse region continue to expand and chart new territory in terms of the films they make and how they are making them. Nina Wu is a case in point, tackling challenging subject matter (it’s inspired by the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein scandal) and drawing on the diverse talent pools of Malaysia and Myanmar.
While much of the world’s attention during the past decade has focused on China’s rise, and justifiably so, there has been remarkable growth experienced at the same time by the Middle Kingdom’s neighbors, who, combined, feed the entertainment needs of more than 640 million people.
Domestic box office records are being set across Southeast Asia, more screens are being built, and more people are going to the movies. Major international productions, such as last year’s hit Crazy Rich Asians, which shot in Singapore and Malaysia, have showcased the region’s strengths as a backdrop, while streaming giants Netflix and HBO — both have headquarters in Singapore to oversee production in Asia — are increasingly looking east for subscribers and localized content to diversify their swelling content libraries.
"Southeast Asia has been a region of focus and growing industry interest for the past several years," says Rance Pow, founder and president of leading Asian film research and market intel group Artisan Gateway. "Markets with large populations that are relatively underscreened by more mature market standards represent significant admissions growth opportunities for the film and cinema industries. This also means opportunity for the local creative industry as the filmgoing experience grows in popularity."
Here’s a look into what’s been happening in five major markets that are leading the expansion of Southeast Asian cinema.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day