Singapore makes location case


SINGAPORE -- British Colonial-era buildings, old police stations and aircraft hangars are among the attractions Singapore is showcasing at the American Film Market this week as part of the country's latest government-driven media development initiative.

The location parade is designed to draw international filmmaking attention to Singapore's location, postproduction and sound-recording services, say the country's film and television authorities, the Media Development Authority and Singapore Film Commission, which organized this year's national delegation to the AFM.

Singapore is being positioned as "the gateway to the East for Hollywood," said Michelle Lui, the MDA's senior assistant director for industry development.

"Singapore's East-meets-West sensibilities, rooted in our strong bilingual education, enable us to better understand and access key target markets overseas," Lui said. "Apart from participating in Asian film markets, it is also important for us to reach out to the U.S. market," she added.

Made-by-Singapore movies also are a strong component of this week's showcase, presented under the banner Singapore Media Fusion. The campaign was unveiled at October's MIPCOM television market in Cannes.

The aim of Singapore Media Fusion is to "consolidate and showcase the collective richness and diversity of Singapore media through a coherent and compelling front," the MDA said.
Ten made-in-Singapore feature films including director Royston Tan's "4:30" (Zhao Wei Films), Jack Neo's "I Not Stupid Too" (MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures) and Jean Yeo's "Feb. 29" (MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures) are being presented at the AFM this year.

Another seven films -- including psychological thriller "Fallen," produced by LeBrocquy Fraser -- are part of the "in development" slate, along with "Sing to the Dawn," which is in production. (LeBrocquy Fraser's previous films include Afghan director Siddiq Barmak's "Osama," winner of the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film in 2004).

Also part of the Singapore delegation at AFM is Rebel Prods./Shooting Gallery Motion Pictures producer Juan Foo, who has just signed a distribution deal for his new movie, "Untold Beauty," with France's Wild Side Films. "Untold Beauty," billed as an "eerie yet poignant drama about the trade of embalming," is the first independent Singapore film to be presold to a major territory.

The involvement of Singapore's government-funded bodies in local and international film and television development is part of the Media 21 blueprint launched in mid-2003. Media 21's financial ambition is to increase the media's GDP contribution from the current 1.56% to 3% in 10 years and creating more than 10,000 new jobs for Singaporeans.