Singapore Media Festival 2018: Gearing Up for a Digital Future

SINGAPORE, Dec. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Singapore Media Festival (SMF) 2018 wrapped up a hallmark year for Asian storytelling, drawing to its constituent events a total of over 23,000 media and creative professionals, industry thought-leaders and enthusiasts of television and film from around the globe.

Hosted by Singapore's Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), the fifth edition of the Singapore Media Festival took place from 28 November to 9 December, and comprised the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), SMF Ignite, and the inaugural edition of the Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA).

This year's festival threw a strong spotlight on growing Asian storytelling through strategic collaborations, leveraging emerging technologies and innovation to create content for new platforms and wider audiences.

A boost for the local media industry

  • IMDA unveiled a series of new initiatives during the festival to increase the vibrancy and spur growth of Singapore's media ecosystem. These include the launch of the Skills Framework for Media, which helps companies and professionals identify career progression pathways and the skills needed to stay updated in a changing media landscape.
  • IMDA also launched the Media Industry Digital Plan (Media IDP), to better support SMEs in the media industry. Aligned with the Infocomm Media Industry Transformation Map (ITM), the Media IDP is part of the SMEs Go Digital programme to make going digital simple for SMEs at different stages of growth. Support from the Media IDP is also extended to media professionals, who can upskill themselves through broad-based digital literacy courses or specialised training in areas including immersive media, to keep pace with industry changes.

From 'Made-in-Singapore' to 'Made-with-Singapore'

  • Two new funding initiatives -- the Public Service Media (PSM) Digital Partnership Fund and the Southeast Asia Co-production Grant -- were announced at the festival, to encourage Singapore talent to foster regional and international co-productions, in the fields of digital content development and film production.
  • To grow the capabilities of local digital content creators in Singapore, IMDA also embarked on new collaborations with Disney and Facebook. In a two-year collaboration, Disney will partner and train local content creators to develop and produce the studio's first slate of eight digital-first, multi-platform titles for distribution on Disney's platforms targeted at the Southeast Asian market.
  • The Facebook Creator Lab will be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, where participating creators learn how to manage their presence, build their business and grow their community on Facebook.
  • The Singapore Pavilion (hosted within the ATF Market) this year showcased over 800 hours of compelling Asian stories through over 130 film, television and VR titles from a diverse range of genres, ranging from comedy and sci-fi, to horror and documentaries.

Honouring the best of Asian storytelling

  • Wrapping up its 29th edition, the Singapore International Film Festival welcomed a record-breaking attendance of more than 17,000 festival-goers from Singapore and across the region. The festival showcased a total of 103 feature and short films from 44 countries, with 29 sold-out screenings of local and international films, masterclasses and In Conversations sessions.
  • Singaporean filmmakers received a strong showing at the SGIFF this year with a line-up of 18 films and co-productions, including A Land Imagined by Yeo Siew Hua, which made history as the first-ever Singapore film to be awarded the Best Film under the festival's Silver Screen Awards' Asian Feature Film Competition. Vietnamese filmmaker Pham Thu Hang took home the honour of Best Director for her feature documentary, The Future Cries Beneath Our Soil, which captured the dark shadow of war and death in Vietnam's Quảng Tri province.
  • 2018's Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore saw record-breaking performance, from attendance to sales transactions on the market floor. Attended by over 5,600 delegates from 58 countries and regions, over US$313 million worth of deals and partnerships were estimated to have been facilitated over the dynamic three-day market.
  • The newly minted Asian Academy Creative Awards made history with winners from 16 territories, across 49 production and acting categories over two star studded awards ceremonies, held on 6 and 7 December at Singapore's historic Capitol Theatre. Winners from 13 nations and territories took home the top honours, with Indonesia's Adinia Wirasti claiming the Best Actress In A Leading Role award for her role in HOOQ's Critical Eleven. The Best Actor In A Leading Role award went to China's Yu Hewei (Jetsen Huashi) for his role in The Drug Hunter, while the highly sought after Best Direction award was won by India's acclaimed Anurag Kashyap. Japan's Miss Sherlock won the coveted Best Drama series award. Singapore and India tied as the most awarded countries after all the awards were announced, with each country clinching nine of the AAA's golden trophies.

Nurturing the next generation of Asian talent

  • Singapore hosted for the first time the Film Leaders Incubator (FLY) 2018, co-organised by the Busan Film Commission and Singapore Film Commission, saw 22 finalists across 11 countries come together to produce 2 short films. In a two-week bootcamp, 22 aspiring ASEAN filmmakers were given the opportunity to learn from industry veterans from Singapore and South Korea in short film workshops and mentoring sessions. As part of the programme, a scholarship to the 2019 Asian Film Academy (AFA) was awarded to FLY trainee Kawakibi Muttaqien from Indonesia, while Terence Giourdan Gonzalves from the Philippines was awarded Best Cinematographer, with a prize of the latest lighting equipment offered by Aputure Imaging Industries.
  • The fourth edition Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market, organised by ScreenSingapore together with Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshop, received submissions from 16 countries and regions. The top 15 finalists came from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Singapore. These emerging Asian filmmakers were given opportunities to meet with media financiers, distributors and collaborators who could potentially fund, produce or contribute to their works. Filipino-American filmmaker Mel Allego's Filipino won the Cre8 Co-production Award, while crime drama The Carjacker by Singapore-based Oman Dhas won the Aurora Media Award, and Myanmar drama The Women by director The Maw Naing won the AV8 Award.

Towards a strong digital future in the media landscape

  • Anchored on the theme of the convergence of big data, AI and storytelling, the one-day SMF Ignite Conference presented a dynamic line-up of inspiring keynotes to an eager crowd of close to 400 attendees, and also received more than 2,000 impressions through its 'livestream' on Facebook). Keynotes were delivered by industry luminaries such as Chen Xiao (Vice President, iQIYI), Jim Louderback (General Manager, VidCon), Alex Smith (APAC Area Lead, Microsoft), John Sietsma (Evangelist, Unity Technologies) and Nuseir Yassin (CEO and Director, Nas Daily).
  • As part of SMF Ignite, Nuseir Yassin also led a workshop for three Singapore online content creators, sharing with them tips on storyboarding and content creation, before they each presented their one-minute videos during Singapore Hour on 6 December.
  • For updates on next year's edition, please visit | #SGMediaFest

About the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore's digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem -- by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore's data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission. For more news and information, visit or follow IMDA on Facebook and Twitter @IMDAsg.

About the Singapore Media Festival (SMF)

The Singapore Media Festival, hosted by the Infocomm Media Development Authority, is set to become one of Asia's leading international media events, where the industry meets to discover the latest trends, talents and content in Asia for Film, TV and digital media. Taking place from 28 November to 9 December 2018, the Singapore Media Festival brings together the newly-minted Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA) and established media events such as the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore and SMF Ignite. For more information about the Singapore Media Festival, please visit  

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Source: Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)
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