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With a fresh management structure and the claim of backing from all but one of the Hollywood studios, the plans for industry showcase event Screen Singapore are being drawn up quickly now that there’s real money to make in the world’s fastest growing exhibition market.
“It’s not just about Singapore, it’s about the region,” Screen Singapore Chairman Greg Coote told The Hollywood Reporter at the American Film Market on Saturday.
Slated for June 5-12 — right after the Marche du Filme at Cannes and before Cinema Expo in Amsterdam – Screen Singapore will allow Hollywood studios and bigger independents a chance to air their wares to Asian exhibitors and also to regional buyers, whose attendance will be subsidized by the Singapore government-linked companies backing the event.
“We’re going to have the red carpet glamour of Cannes, the exhibitor attraction of Cinema Expo, the content market of an AFM and the trade show element of a Show West,” said Coote, who’s signed to chair the event for three years.
Screen Singapore managing director Jimmy Lau, whose experience in event management in the Southeast Asian city-state includes running the famous Singapore Air Show, expects to “break even” for the inaugural event. “It’s a commercial venture and I would hope to be making money by the second edition and maybe even make some money this year too,” Lau said.
Singapore weather in June averages 75-87 degrees Fahrenheit and services in the English-speaking nation of just over 4 million are renowned as among the most efficient in the region. “We added 6,000 hotel rooms just this year,” Christopher Chia, senior advisor to Singapore’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, said. “In total, we’ve got far more than Cannes.”
To promote the event to the world film community, Coote and Lau and the Singapore Media Development Authority are working together to bring 40 “ambassadors” to the event. Among those who’ve already agreed to attend are James Wang Zhonglei, CEO of Huayi Brothers Media in Beijing, Kishore Lulla, chairman and CEO of UK-listed Indian film company Eros International, Roger Pollock, executive vp at Paramount Pictures and Hollywood director Oliver Stone, Coote said.
With support from DDA public relations, whose founder Dennis Davidson is consulting Screen Singapore, the event hopes to become Asia’s biggest regional sales market, different to the markets at the Hong Kong, Pusan and Tokyo international film festivals in a key way. Davidson said: “We’re going straight for commerce. The word aesthetics doesn’t come off my lips.”
At least three of the Hollywood studios will showcase tent pole titles from their summer 2011 slate at Screen Singapore, Coote said, adding that many titles – Avatar not least among them – are these days grossing upwards of $150 million in Asia. (Avatar grossed $200 million in China alone).
The Walt Disney Co. is the only Hollywood studio that has thus far not offered its tacit support for Screen Singapore.
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Samuel L. Jackson