Filmart eyeing Singapore swing

MDA, Film Commission lead 19-company contingent

Singapore's Media Development Authority and the Singapore Film Commission head to the Hong Kong Filmart this year with the biggest delegation of filmmakers and producers ever and their sights firmly set on the mainland Chinese market.

Nineteen media companies, with more than 40 made-in-Singapore films and projects, are taking part in this year's Singapore Pavilion, organized with Singapore's Association of Independent Television Production Cos., the MDA said today.

At least three films, including Jack Neo's hit "Just Follow Law," are being presented to the regional and international marketplace for the first time. "Just Follow Law" already has crossed the S$2.5 million ($1.6 million) boxoffice mark, making it the highest-grossing movie in Singapore this year.

Though Singapore's film industry has maintained a presence at the Hong Kong market, this is the first time since 2003 that the MDA has led an official delegation to the event.

Man Shu Sum, the MDA's broadcast and film director and the Singapore Film Commission's director, said that Singapore is ideally placed to take advantage of the growth in China's film market, where last year's boxoffice topped 2.6 billion yuan ($336 million).

"Of the top 10 boxoffice hits, half are produced by Hong Kong and Chinese mainland companies. With Singapore's affinity for the Chinese culture and strong bilateral relations between the two nations, our media companies stand a good chance of benefiting from the Chinese film industry's exponential growth," Man said.

Among the Singapore-China collaborations thus far are "One Last Dance" by MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and China's Ming Prods.

Four Singapore projects have been shortlisted for various Hong Kong Filmart events including Neo's "I Not Stupid Too," shortlisted for the Hong Kong Film Awards' best Asian film nod, and Kelvin Tong's "Bed," which will be taking part in the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum.