Workshop has tools for MDA sales

International Film Fund unveiled ahead of Cannes

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CANNES -- Singapore's Media Development Authority has appointed Hong Kong-based Distribution Workshop to handle global sales of movies backed by its newly launched International Film Fund.

The fund, unveiled a week ago on the eve of Cannes, is the twin to the city-state's generous support system for its domestic industry and the local film fund it launched last year. The IFF aims to attract films to shoot in Singapore and, by requiring the involvement of a Singapore partner company, to help its domestic industry become more involved with international productions.

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 project.

"Selected applicants will be required to pitch their projects to a committee comprising representatives from MDA and Distribution Workshop," the MDA said. "Upon selection, the winning projects will have their own dedicated distribution executives involved from the onset of preproduction. After completion, the films will be distributed to the worldwide marketplace by Distribution Workshop."

MDA COO Kenneth Tan said subsequently explained to THR that the fund will welcome applications from projects with other sales companies attached.

"What we are most keen on is presales. These provide a measure of the marketability (of the projects)," Tan said. "Public funding decisions in Singapore are very stringent, and it is the MDA that will have final say on funding and be responsible for those decisions."

Distribution Workshop is controlled by China's Poly Bona group and by its principals, "Infernal Affairs" producer Nansun Shi and former Media Asia executive Jeffrey Chan.