Singapore's MDA extends funding

New scheme covers international movies

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CANNES -- Singapore's Media Development Authority on Tuesday unveiled plans to open its generous production funding schemes to international movies.

Kenneth Tan, COO of the MDA and director of the Singapore Film Commission, described the move as the "second phase" in the country's provision of public money for filmmaking. Schemes have been in place since 1995 to assist local movies, but until now support for overseas productions has been on a case-by-case basis.

The unimaginatively named International Film Fund is structured as a revolving fund that takes equity positions in funded movies and seeks a share of revenue. Films will only be eligible if they have an international sales house and a Singapore partner company on board. But there is no requirement for the Singapore firm to be a producer of the film, which leaves the scheme open to films using Singapore-based post houses or VFX providers.

A first round of funding with a call for submissions set for July 31 aims to back 17-20 movies with public funding of up to $2.5 million per movie.

MDA CEO Dr. Christopher Chia said his organization also will help movies using the IFF to access the private equity film funds based in the country. These, he estimates, have a combined firepower of $880 million.

Through a separate fund unveiled in November to help aid the development of stereoscopic 3-D film, there has been financial support for "Amphibious," a monster movie to be directed next month by Brian Yuzna and produced through Yuzna and San Fu Maltha's Singapore- and Jakarta-based Komodo Films.

The MDA confirmed that it also is looking at funding two more Komodo projects: "Necronauts," a journey into the realm of death written by novelist Terry Bisson and directed by Brett Leonard ("Lawnmower Man" and "Virtuosity"), and survival tale "Cold Blooded," about American tourists stranded on a lizard-infested island to be directed by Richard Stanley.