Made in Asia: Singapore


Singapore's content production industry is flush with money and government determination to attract the international film world's attention -- and business.

At last count, this tiny country of less than 5 million had $740 million worth of private capital and government subsidies available to filmmakers and content creators willing to link their projects to Singapore in some way.

Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) and the Singapore Film Commission have long backed local projects with a range of incentives and grants for everything from first-time short films to full-length features.

But filmmakers looking for studio space may come up short. One of the largest is Hanchew Studios' 8,000-square-foot studio, generally used for commercials and photo shoots.

While the MDA takes equity stakes of up to 50% in certain projects, the government body often contributes 10%-15% of the budget, which MDA CEO Chris Chia describes as "sufficient to get the film made."

So far, the publicity value of regional and international media funds being set up in Singapore far outweighs the immediate benefits to local producers, who say they haven't seen much of the new money.

There are indirect benefits. Major international projects with Eastern subject matter by companies like the Weinstein Co. and RGM Holdings "will open up people's eyes to the big projects that are possible from here," says Daniel Yun, CEO of Singapore's sole studio, MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures.

For the moment, it's Singapore's smaller, privately funded films making the biggest impact on the international stage. Eric Khoo's "My Magic," for instance, is the country's official entry to this year's Oscars.

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