Singapore Film Fest to Launch Southeast Asian Film Lab

The Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore

The 25th edition of the festival will debut a seven-day writing workshop aimed at boosting the careers of emerging screenwriters and directors from the region.

The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) will launch a new Southeast Asian Film Lab during the 25th edition of the event in December.

A seven-day writing workshop aimed at boosting the careers of emerging screenwriters and directors from Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asian Film Lab will "focus on stories capturing the collective experiences of the past, present and future Southeast Asia, to be developed into feature length screenplays," according to the organizers.

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Industry mentors for the first edition of the lab include Signapore-based producer Fran Borgia (producer of Boo Junfeng's Sandcastle, which appeared at the Cannes Director's Fortnight in 2010) and independent local filmmaker and co-founder of Da Huang Pictures Tan Chui Mui.

Yuni Hadi, SGIFF's executive director, said in a statement: “Our thinking behind the Southeast Asian Film Lab is to unearth potential stories from the region and explore the richness of Southeast Asian culture through the medium of film….Through this creative collaboration between neighboring countries, we will build up mutual appreciation and respect for our heritage amongst the participants in Singapore and the region.”

To be eligible for the lab, screenwriters and/or directors must be of Southeast Asian descent and between 18 to 35 years old. They must have had at least two short films screened in international film festivals, and must not have made a feature-length film before.

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Ten participants will be selected to attend a series of master classes and screenings with the mentors and other established filmmakers from the region on possible writing approaches. They will also receive individual advice from mentors and will conduct a story pitch in front of an industry panel. Entries must be submitted by Sept. 15. SGIFF will announce the list of lab participants by mid October.

This year SGIFF is taking place concurrently with the Asian Television Forum (ATF), Screen Singapore and the Asian Television Awards in an expanded, co-located five-day convention. The organizers are holding the various events under one umbrella at the Marina Bay Sands resort to reach a wider audience and capitalize on the growing Asian content market.

SGIFF runs Dec. 4-14. The Southeast Asian Film Lab will be held Dec. 8-14.