Singapore: 'Avatar' Producer Jon Landau Talks Future of Branded Entertainment

Jon Landau in India
Nyay Bhushan

The Oscar-winning producer has been mentoring upcoming filmmakers for the British content-sourcing company and calls the new advertising format a great way to unearth future stars

In addition to producing the next Avatar film, Oscar-winning producer Jon Landau has been mentoring young YouTube-generation filmmakers to generate new forms of advertisement content, expressing his belief in branded entertainment's potential to unearth future filmmakers.

MOFILM, the U.K.-based content-sourcing company, has been at the forefront of creating branded entertainment content for clients such as Coca Cola and Sony, tapping into younger audiences watching YouTube videos on mobile devices.

Landau has been mentoring the tens of thousands of filmmakers across the world, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, to whom MOFILM reaches out for ideas and pitches. Earlier this year, South Korean indie filmmaker Jude Chun won Chevrolet's Oscar contest, and her short film Speed Racer was aired during the 2014 Oscars ceremony.

"I think [MOFILM's system] is very exciting because you have the ability to create content and distribute it in multiple ways. To evoke an emotional response is the goal of any storyteller," said Landau during a keynote address Wednesday at the Singapore Media Festival's Asia TV Forum and Market.

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"I tell filmmakers we want to develop movies that have themes that are bigger than the genre because that is what you walk out with from a theater. […] The opportunity to communicate with young filmmakers and help make them see things they don't know also allows me to learn things I've taken for granted. These are people who could be the future of our industry. I provide very little guidance, and they did a phenomenal job," he added.

"Over the last five years, MOFILM and a handful of video invaders looked to ways to make diverse, high-quality content at a level that is affordable," said Jeffrey Merrihue, CEO and co-founder of MOFILM.

When asked by a member of the audience how local Asian brands trying to internationalize could use branded entertainment as a tool, Merrihue said it was important to determine the target audience first.

"You should start by asking who's going to see it and how are they going to see it. It's heartbreaking when brands make some amazing content but don't know how to distribute it. You must think who is going to watch it where and how are they going to afford it?" he said.