'Manta Ray' Producer to Receive Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant

Manta Ray Still 1- Venice Film Festival - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Venice International Film Festival

Venice-winning Thai producer Mai Meksawan is among the big names to benefit from a new Singapore-based initiative aimed to produce "quality stories for the world."

Venice-winning Thai producer Mai Meksawan (Manta Ray) has been handed a slice of the inaugural Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant, and he revealed that the figure, up to S$250,000 ($183,000), being provided would allow “ambitions to be fulfilled.”

“The budget for my new project is very big for a Thai film, at around S$800,000 ($586,000), so this money means we can now meet that budget,” said Mai, co-founder of Thailand’s Diversion production house. “It’s a very ambitious project and now we’ll be able to start next year. It is a great help to us, considering the economy in Thailand is not that good right now.”

Mai’s project was among eight announced as the first recipients of the Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant, an initiative that has emerged out of the Singapore Film Commission, which comes under the umbrella of the city’s Infocomm Media Development Authority.

The motivation, according to grant organizers, is to encourage “film talent in Singapore and the Southeast Asian region to jointly produce quality stories for the world.”

Anatomy of Time will be directed by Jakrawal Nilthamrong (Vanishing Point) and co-produced by Singapore’s Panuksmi Hardjowirogo of M’Go Film and Thailand’s Chatchai Chaiyon. It tells the story of an old woman who reflects on a life of hardship after her husband falls into a coma.

The grant requires projects to be directed by a Southeast Asian (non-Singaporean) filmmaker and they must involve at least one Singaporean and one other Southeast Asian producer. There were 26 applications filed for the first edition of the grant, while the successful projects stem from Indonesia (three), Thailand (three), Malaysia and Vietnam.

The projects selected will also feature the work of three first-time directors in Sorayos Prapapan (Thailand) on Arnold Is a Model Student, Makbul Mubarak (Indonesia) on Autobiography and Amanda Nell Eu (Malaysia) on Tiger Stripes.

Other grant recipients:

Arnold Is a Model Student (Thailand): Director: Sorayos Prapapan (Thailand); Producers: Anthony Chen (Singapore), Tan Si En (Singapore), Donsaron Kovitcanitcha (Thailand).

Autobiography (Indonesia): Director: Makbul Mubarak (Indonesia); Producers: Jeremy Chua (Singapore), Yulia Evina Bhara (Indonesia).

Glorious Ashes (Vietnam): Director: Bui Thac Chuyen (Vietnam); Producers: Jeremy Chua (Singapore), Tran Thi Bich Ngoc (Vietnam).

Regretfully at Down (Thailand): Director: Sivaroj Kongsakul (Thailand); Producers: Lai Weijie (Singapore), Pimpaka Towira (Thailand).

Tiger Stripes (Malaysia): Director: Amanda Nell Eu (Malaysia); Producers: Fran Borgia (Singapore), Foo Fei Ling (Malaysia), Yulia Evina Bhara (Indonesia).

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (Indonesia): Director: Edwin (Indonesia); Producers: Lai Weijie (Singapore), Meiske Taurisia (Indonesia), Muhammad Zaidy (Indonesia).

Yuni (Indonesia): Director: Kamila Andini (Indonesia); Producer: Fran Borgia (Singapore), Ifa Isfansyah (Indonesia).