Jack Neo sets up film studio
Veteran scriptwriter, actor and director Jack Neo will be setting up Singapore’s first dedicated film studio in a bid to boost the local film industry, reports The Straits Times. Together with partner Philip Wu, a telecommunications company executive, Neo has set up the new Neo Studios, which will be modelled after success stories, such as the Warner Brothers.
The new venture has already attracted “a few million dollars” from several investors, including the Media Development Authority of Singapore, financial institutions and wealthy individuals looking for viable investment opportunities. It seeks to take care the practical side of filmmaking — finding the right scripts, funding, market research, distribution, merchandising as well as project management. Neo explains that many filmmakers in Singapore are inexperienced, ‘indie’ operators that have plenty of passion, but are often hindered by a limited budget and have no ideas of what makes for a commercial success.
“Movies can be a viable investment, and my record for making profitable movies is good â€“ half have been profitable, compared with one in five for Hong Kong movies, and worse than that for Hollywood productions,” explained Neo. With a production house (JTeam Production) and over ten films to his name, Neo identified one of the bigger problems facing the local industry â€“ the lack of a dedicated movie studio. Ideally, studios would be the ones who identify and pay suitable directors and production houses to create movies from scripts which the studio will provide.
He also revealed that Neo Studios is slated to sign three co-production agreements with mainland Chinese and Hong Kong studios next week in Beijing, with more deals underway elsewhere in the region, including Taiwan. These deals, said Neo, would expand the market for co-productions and provide the local industry with benefits in production and post-production works.
A nationwide talent search will also be launched next year by the filmmaker to boost the local talent pool by seeking out potential scriptwriters, directors, actors and other film talents. Neo added that he will continue to direct films, and that his other company, JTeam Production, will continue to operate as a production house.