AWN China Interview – Responses from Mr Robert Gilby, Chairman of the Singapore Media Festival Advisory Board

CGGE: What’s the specialty of Singapore Media Festival?

R: As a leading international media event in Asia, the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) showcases and recognises the best of Asian storytelling, bringing together Asian talent from around the region to network, connect and collaborate.

The festival has established itself as a must-attend event in this part of the world, gathering influential, promising and prominent names – whether you are a content creator or owner, or a creative talent. Last year, the festival welcomed an attendance of over 20,000 delegates and festival attendees from over 50 countries.

More than US$1 billion worth of deals and partnerships have been inked across the last four editions of the festival, contributing to the rapid growth of the Asia’s media industry.

CGGE: What’s the difference between Singapore Media Festival and other standalone Asian companies/events

R:Singapore Media Festival isa holistic festival, bringing together different components of Singapore’s vibrant media ecosystem through its strong partnerships with its four constituent events – the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), and the newly-introduced Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA) – as well as the Festival’s keystone digital event, SMF Ignite.

The festivalpresents strong content offerings across different platforms and mediums, and also highlights the talents in our media landscape. At the festival, there are many opportunities for discussions and collaborations, to spur innovation and development in this sector.

SMF is moreover committed to create a vibrant and forward-lookinginfocomm and media ecosystem in Asia, and to facilitate media-tech convergence for original, creative content

CGGE: Will China be the strategic partner in near future?

R:The SMF is a key gateway into Asia and its markets, and vice versa, from Asia to the world.

Its strategic location between the rest of the world and Asia, including China, makes Singapore a portal to a region of opportunities.

China has always participated regularly in the SMF, be it at the SGIFF or ATF and this year it continues to do so. For instance, the ATF introduces the inaugural ATF Chinese Pitch in partnership with GHY Culture & Media. The pitch will identify innovative traditional movie, online movie and online drama series concepts in the genres of Sci-Fi, Thriller, Myths and Legends, Horror and Fantasy.

We hope to continue leveraging on our strategic location and existing ties with China to grow our relationship from strength to strength

CGGE:Due to global media industry, what Singapore’s role in this area?

R:With a robust and vibrant infocomm media ecosystem and its strategic location world, Singapore is well positioned to play a key role in facilitating access to Asian markets and to support innovation, sectoral transformation and the co-creation of content for business.

We are a strategic partner to many countries in this region – we also understand the landscape and are able to gain access to these new markets. Since the 1990s, Singapore has been the springboard to – and increasingly a home in – Asia for some of the world’s most established global media companies, including Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, HBO Asia, and the Walt Disney Company SEA.

In the global digital economy, Singapore, through its Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), is leading the media-tech convergence in this region, with state-of-the-art infrastructure and strong government support to foster innovation and business growth.

SMF Ignite is the platform at the festival for media-tech convergence.

This year, SMF Ignite will focus on creating new opportunities for Asian media companies to thrive in a digitally-driven environment. The theme is “The Convergence of Big Data, AI and Storytelling”. A conference and keynote speeches look at how media companies can leverage digital technologies in the creation, distribution and monetisation of content. Speakers include a top executive from iQiyi, China’s popular OTT platform; a founder of VidCon, a festival celebrating the best of the world’s online videos; and popular vlogger Nuseir Yassin of Nas Daily

CGGE:How can Singapore promote the growth of the media industry through SMF?

R:Apart from helping content owners and creators to harness digital technology for innovative storytelling techniques, the festival nurtures and develops talent.

The AAA’s Asian Academy Creative Campus will feature a host of masterclasses and panels to equip budding media professionals in skills such as live TV directing and writing.

In addition to the ATF Formats Pitch and ATF Animation Pitch (launched in 2016 and 2017 respectively), ATF will introduce an inaugural ATF Chinese Pitch, to identify innovative concepts in the genres of Sci-Fi, Thriller, Myths and Legends, Horror and Fantasy, for the Chinese market across different formats to grow and nurture creators for the Chinese market.

The SGIFF features an annual Southeast Asian Film Lab – a story development workshop for emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia embarking on their first feature-length film. The lab will end with a pitch in front of an industry panel for a development prize – the Most Promising Project – that will be awarded at the Silver Screen Awards.

In addition, the SGIFF also introduced a Festival Commission since 2016 to nurture and showcase up-and-coming Singapore filmmakers by commissioning a new short film by a local filmmaker that will make its world premiere at the festival. This year, an animation (Kingdom by Tan Wei Keong) which won SGIFF 2017’s Best Singapore Short Film will make its world premiere at the festival.

Continuing to champion the development of Singapore’s film industry, the SGIFF will be launching the SGIFF Fund with two new grants, the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF SEA-DOC Grant, and the SGIFF SEA-SHORTS Grant, dedicated to supporting filmmakers with compelling stories to tell across both fiction and non-fiction genres.



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