Singapore Media Festival celebrates Indonesian cinema, embraces new technologies

A still from The Talisman (2016) by Hari Suhariyadi. The film is part of the showcase Histories of Tomorrow: Indonesian Cinema After the New Order. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
A still from The Ballads Of Cinema Lovers (2017) by Yuda Kurniawan. The film is part of the showcase Histories of Tomorrow: Indonesian Cinema After the New Order. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

SINGAPORE - Asian storytelling continues to take centre stage at the fourth edition of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) from Nov 23 to Dec 3.

There will be a spotlight on Indonesia as the festival's first Country-of-Focus to mark 50 years of bilateral ties between the two countries, and award-winning Indian film-maker Shekhar Kapur (Bandit Queen, 1994; Elizabeth, 1998) will head the Singapore International Film Festival's (SGIFF) Asian Feature Film Jury.

SMF is hosted by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and includes the SGIFF, Asian Television Awards, Asia TV Forum & Market, ScreenSingapore and SMF Ignite, with its focus on online content creation.

More than 20,000 industry insiders and members of the public are expected to be part of festival.

Kapur said in a statement: "As an Asian looking for new adventures in storytelling and film-making, I once went to Hollywood. However the urge to return to Asia is strong, as I find that the real stories now lie in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Asian film-makers and storytellers now have the amazing opportunity to ride the tide of Asia's century and tell their own stories."

Indonesia's rich cinematic heritage will be celebrated at the SGIFF (Nov 23 to Dec 3) with a series titled Histories of Tomorrow: Indonesian Cinema After the New Order. Film festival programme director Pimpaka Towira said: "The Indonesian film industry today is rich with provincial colour and this is without doubt a result of the resurgence of Indonesian cinema post-New Order."

At the same time, the country's movie industry is also looking ahead by seeking out opportunities at the trade events Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore.

Prolific Indonesian film-maker Shanty Harmayn, who sits on the SMF Advisory Board, said: "This is an exciting time for Indonesia's media industry - local producers and content creators are taking risks, making bigger budget productions and telling a diversity of stories. My hope is for Indonesian content creators to be able to come to the Singapore Media Festival to have their voices and stories showcased, to exchange knowledge, and to share more about our market and potential."

The festival will also have a greater emphasis on emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR). On Nov 29, a new one-day conference and exhibition, VR X SMF Ignite, will bring together creators and users to explore the new opportunities of this exciting technology. Mr Allen Foo, founder and chief executive officer of Ultimate Creators Create Virtual Reality, will speak about the VR ecosystem in China.

The Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market and the ATF Formats Pitch will return to showcase promising ideas to potential investors. The inaugural ATF Animation Pitch will seek out the best concepts for original animation for children in the genres of comedy, adventure, action and fantasy.

There will be a bigger festival village, in Clarke Quay, to bring the media festival closer to the public on Nov 25 and 26 through activities such as outdoor screenings, performances and immersive media demonstrations.

From Nov 11, members of the public can look forward to pop-up events featuring interactive installations and short film screenings at several Capitaland malls over the weekends.

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