Singapore's Xtreme Media is a winner at ATF and ScreenSingapore for the second year running

SINGAPORE - A documentary about Bhutan and a game show with a fun take on sports are both project ideas from Singapore's Xtreme Media, a winner two years in a row at the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore.

Last year, it walked away with several prizes, including $20,000 in cash, at the inaugural Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market, with the idea for Happiness Revolution, a documentary about Bhutan's journey in pursuit of Gross National Happiness.

This year at the same event, it came out tops at the inaugural ATF Formats Pitch for original, non-scripted entertainment formats.

The winning idea, Hit It, was announced on Dec 8. It is planned as a weekly series, with each episode pitting two teams against each other in a series of comedic sports-linked challenges.

Xtreme Media executive producer William Lim, 41, describes it as a mash-up of a wacky Japanese game show and a sports-type show such as American Gladiators. One idea is to have contestants playing volleyball, but on a court smeared with glue.

The production company gets $3,500 in cash and a consultancy package valued at $16,500. Xtreme Media will work with the United Kingdom's all3media International to develop its idea.

But Mr Lim says that at this point, there is already interest from local and regional broadcasters.

He adds: "I'm honoured and feel quite lucky to be winning two times in a row. We are encouraged by the wins and we hope to do better next time round."

His company did not participate in this year's SAFF, which gave out two awards on Dec 9. From a field of 15 finalists, Vietnam's mob comedy Mamafia won a full audio post-production package worth $50,000 from Imaginex Studios and Basecamp Films, and Malaysian thriller Terbalik, about an actor trapped in an upside-down car wreckage in the jungle and is tortured by a group of sadistic boys, won an investment of $20,000 towards its production project from Aurora Media Holdings.

Terbalik is from the husband-and-wife team director Yasu and producer Bea Tanaka, both 49. Bea Tanaka says: "It's about how a man survives in a very extreme situation and we think we have come up with an idea that will travel."

The prize money will come in useful for pre-production and she is targeting to shoot the film in April or May next year.

Of the 10 shortlisted SAFF finalists last year (2015), four projects, including Xtreme Media's Happiness Revolution, are currently in production and slated for release in 2017.

The project market is a partnership between ScreenSingapore, Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshops.

bchan@sph.com.sg