Pubcasters from Asia fund 3 docus


CANNES -- Independent producers from India, Malaysia and Indonesia have won full funding for three high-definition documentary projects as part of a new co-production alliance between three of Asia's leading public broadcasters.

Winners of the first Asian Pitch were announced Monday by Japan's NHK, Korea's Korean Broadcasting System and Singapore's HD production and distribution house, Caldecott Prods., which is part of the Media Corporation of Singapore.

The three projects are "Supermen of Malegaon" by Faiza Ahmed Khan (India); "Subak" by Justin Ong Tat Tiong (Malaysia); and "The Mummy Theft From Toraja" by Agung Mulya Setiawan (Indonesia)

"Subak" is the story of age-old irrigation systems in Bali; "Supermen" is about the making of the movie "Malegaon ka Superman" and "Toraja" is about a villager who turns to stealing from ancient burial grounds after his family is bankrupted by an expensive funeral.

The alliance -- the first of its kind in Asia -- is led by NHK.

Asian Pitch creator and deputy director of NHK's Program Development Center, Fumio Narashima, said a space is needed to be created for indie producers to pitch ideas to pubcasters in the region.

Too many Asian producers, he said, were making programming only for European and American channels.

Caldecott will market the shows internationally. NHK holds all rights to Japan and KBS has rights for Korea.

Funding amounts were not disclosed.