The fifth Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market today announced over SGD100,000 worth of prizes for six winning projects from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. Amongst these, Golden and Indigo Children from Philippines received the top prizes.
These were selected from a pool of 85 entries – a three-year record high – from 18 countries. Not only did this year’s Market see entries from finalists representing Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore, there were also entries from Brunei and Portugal for the first time.
“This year’s SAFF Project Market surpassed our expectations not only based on the quality of projects but also because of greater buy-in from regional industry players. We are one of the only project markets around the world with prizes being awarded at this scale, in line with our reputation of having a good number of in-development projects cross into production each year,” said Justin Deimen, Executive Director, Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA).
The SAFF Project Market is jointly produced by SAAVA and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshop (TTB), in conjunction with ScreenSingapore. Established in 2015, it is a key regional platform for established and upcoming content creators to come together and present their projects to financiers, commissioners and investors at the international marketplace.
Golden and Indigo Children secure more than $29413.92 of production support each.Amidst the stiff competition, Golden’s storyline and line-up of acting talents impressed the judges. Inspired by actual issues in Philippines, the project tells of homeless gay seniors reuniting to perform as drag queens, in order to pay for a new home.
TBA Studios creative director, said, “We participated in the SAFF Project Market as we were seeking international co-producers or distributors who would be able to bring Golden beyond Philippines – and we got what we were looking for. Following the one-to-one meetings, many prospective partners expressed interest in being part of the film. Golden’s script has been two years in the making and we hope to start production in end 2020. When the film is out, we hope it will raise awareness about homeless elderly gays in the Philippines and spur viewers to help them.”
Separately, Indigo Children won praise for being a unique superhero story. In it, an ordinary boy, who has felt like a loser his entire life, thinks he hits the jackpot when he temporarily develops superhuman abilities after stealing an alien device. As he uses his powers to reinvent his image but loses it when he needs it the most, he rediscovers his true identity and realises what it really means to be a hero.
Toni Zuniga of Wanderstruck Film Production, who is a co-writer and co-producer of Indigo Children, shared his thoughts on the SAFF Project Market being a platform for the company to reach the global market. He said, “This is our second year at the SAFF Project Market and it has helped expand our circle of connections, which is important because our vision is to create local content for the global market. Indigo Children is very much in the developmental stage, so the Project Market has been helpful for us to gather input and feedback from experts. This was our main goal for joining and the win is a bonus. There are not many sci-fi films from Southeast Asia, so this award affirms that the region responds positively to this genre.”
For their winning submissions, TBA Studios and Wanderstruck Film Production both received the RED Award, a camera loan package valued at SGD20,000. In addition, Golden walked away with the KL Post / SuperNova Award, a SGD20,000 post-production prize, while Indigo Children took away the 108 Media Award, a USD20,000 distribution prize.
Along with Golden and Indigo Children, four other projects also received awards at the SAFF Project Market 2019.
TBA Studios and Wanderstruck Film Production join the ranks of Bront Palarae, Kerwin Go and Mattie Do – SAFF Project Market alumni whose entries achieved success either in the commercial scene or independent film circuit, after tapping on the Market as a springboard.
The SAFF Project Market is jointly produced by SAAVA and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshop (TTB). It is part of the annual Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, which provides a suite of pitch competitions to nurture talent from the region and beyond, to create compelling stories of the future.
ATF and ScreenSingapore is part of the Singapore Media Festival.