SINGAPORE — The Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market may be a brand new addition to Screen Singapore 2015, but it has already amassed an overwhelming 148 project submissions from 22 countries, after a call that ended on Sept 30.

The inaugural SAFF Project Market is an initiative to connect film-makers and their in-development projects with potential financiers, investors, collaborators and co-production partners. It is organised in partnership with the South-east Asian Audio Visual Association (SAAVA), a non-profit organisation that seeks to unify media producers and media financiers in the region, ScreenSingapore and the Ties That Bind producing programme from Europe.

A selection panel will choose the top 10 projects to be featured at the project market. It will comprise of: Paolo Bertolin (Venice International Film festival programmer and film critic), Kristina Trapp (CEO of European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), Jongsuk Thomas Nam (managing director of Network of Asian Fantastic Films), Benjamin Illos (selection committee member of the Director’s Fortnight, Cannes International Film Festival) and Chan Gin Kai (executive producer of the Silver Media Group and chairman of SAAVA).

The selected projects will also get a chance to win prizes at the end of the SAFF Project Market.

“The depth of stories, film-makers and producers from South-east Asia is phenomenal,” said Bertolin. “We are seeing a beautiful and exciting synergy happening between the established film communities from all over the world working with undiscovered talents in this region.”

Justin Deimen, executive director of SAAVA, said: “We’re encouraged and motivated by the support given. The overwhelming response is testament to the relevance of the Project Market and the media financing focus to the film industry, especially in South-east Asia. I hope to see SAFF grow in significance in the near future as we tap into the potential of producers and media professionals (from the region).”

Echoing a similar sentiment, Yeow Hui Leng, senior project director of the Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore, said one of the key focus areas for ScreenSingapore has always been that of developing Asian film-makers, producers and scriptwriters. “Film financing is a subject that is close to the heart of the film industry in South-east Asia,” Yeow added. “The SAFF Project Market addresses it by bringing in investors and co-production partners to meet with promising talents to collaborate on their projects.”

Screen Singapore is an event under the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) and hosted by the Media Development Authority. It runs from Dec 2 to 4. The SMF takes place from Nov 26 to Dec 6 and includes events such as the Singapore International Film Festival, Asia TV Forum & Market, Asian Television Awards and Digital Matters. Genevieve Loh.

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