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Filmmaking Grants for Southeast Asian Filmmakers

2 July 2019

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Filmmaking Grants for Southeast Asian Filmmakers

Filmmaking is not all lights, camera and action – it is also networking, marketing and, at the root of it all, money. The average cost of producing a feature-length film is minimally SGD800K but there are a number of ways for filmmakers to lower this cost. There’s crowdfunding, lowering production costs by renting equipment or cutting budgets and, most commonly, applying for production funds.

Applying for funds are not without its own complications, of course. After all, the money comes from either economic budgets or cultural institutions so it’s really like an investment in your productions. And this comes with the pressure of making sure they are worth it. 

Film producer and writer Jeremy Chua’s (Tomorrow Is A Long Time, A Yellow Bird, Brotherhood) pro-tip is to establish your worth as a filmmaker by having a substantial portfolio, knowing what your marketing plan is, and paying careful attention to the expectations set forth by the organisation that is funding your projects. 

Here’s a list of Filmmaking Grants that are accessible to Singaporeans and Southeast Asian filmmakers alike!

Filmmaking Grants for Singaporeans

Honour Film Initiative

Perfect for newbies – no experience is required. As long as your film is related to the theme of Honour, you can pitch the idea to the panel. 

The panel takes place every couple of months. Over the years, Honour has given support to an average of 30 to 40 films every year. You can find out more about these films here.

Selected ideas will be rewarded a production grant and screened at the bi-annual Honour Film Screening event.

Runtime: Typically about 4-12 minutes
Eligibility: Singaporean students and young adults (35 and below)

You can contact Honour (SG) for more information about this initiative here.

Viddsee Juree Singapore

Submit your short films (any genre) to Viddsee to be featured for a year and stand a chance to win the Viddsee Jury award. It comprises a production grant of SGD8,000 alongside tech equipment and an opportunity to attend an overseas film program.
Eligibility: Director, producer, screenwriter must be Singaporean. 
Runtime: Maximum 30 minutes

Stay tuned for their next call for submissions here.

The OG of local film support, Singapore FIlm Commission (SFC), is a division of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Since 1998, they’ve given grants and promotion to over 600 projects, including Boo Junfeng’s Apprentice (2013) and Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo which have entered international film markets and clinched awards. 

SFC provides 3 kinds of grants for Singaporean filmmakers and production companies:

Short Film Grant (SFG)

SFG supports costs related to production of short films – from manpower and equipment to professional services required – capped at $10, 000.

Eligibility:  Singaporean/PR directors and producers with at least one short film previously screened at an event
Runtime: Maximum 15 minutes

More information and application guidelines can be found here.

New Talent Feature Grant (NTFG)

The NTFG helps directors working on feature-films for the first or second time by supporting up to $250, 000 or 100% of production costs. Of course, this is subject to assessment and approval of the project. 

Eligibility: Singaporean/PR director registered with a local company that engages in info-communications and media-related activities, with no previous support by SFC
Runtime: Minimum 70 minutes

More information and application guidelines can be found here.

Production Assistance Programme

Much like the NTFG in terms of eligibility and requirement, this programme focuses more on feature films that engage Singapore talent in quality credited roles. It gives a support of up to 40% of cost of production.

More information and application guidelines can be found here.

Grants for Southeast Asian Filmmakers

There’s always a demand for Southeast Asian films, and there exists organisations that encourage inter-region collaborative filmmaking all around the globe. Most of them look for feature-length films and documentaries specifically because they are seeking out films that can reach out to a global audience by sharing stories that are culturally enriching. 

As a case in point, this year alone, SGIFF have funded seven short films and documentaries from Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam.

The list that follows is by no means exhaustive but these are organisations that have consistently supported the production of many Southeast Asian films.

Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant (SCPG) 

Under the Singapore Film Commission, the SCPG supports film co-production in Southeast Asia with grants capped at 50% of production budget for feature-length narrative films, potentially including genres like documentary and animation.

Find the application guidelines here.

Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF Southeast Asian-Documentary Grant (SEA-DOC)

Every year, 4 grants with a cash amount of $25,000 each is given to support documentary-style films made in Southeast Asia. 

Eligibility: Southeast Asian filmmakers who have made at least 2 short films before
Runtime: Medium-length (40-59 min) or feature-films (over 60 min)

Application guidelines can be found here

Southeast Asian Short Film Grant (SEA-SHORTS)

Every year, 2 short films of any genre are given a cash amount of $3,000 to begin production, followed by a post-production support of $4,000 and a final $1,000 upon submission of completed film.

Eligibility: Southeast Asian filmmakers who have made 1 short film before and production must not have started at the time of application
Runtime: Maximum 25 min

Submission form and guidelines can be found here.

Purin Pictures in Thailand

Production & Post-Production Fund

Every year, two application sessions take place for a production and post-production fund. 

The production fund is a US$30,000 cash payment split into three payments upon signing, upon commencement of the project and upon receipt of delivery materials. 

The post-production fund is a services package valued at US$50,000 – more details are available in the link below. 

Eligibility: Director must be a citizen or a resident of a Southeast Asian Country, projects accepted include fiction, documentary and animation films.
Runtime: Minimum 60 minutes

Film Activities Fund

A maximum of 5,000 USD cash grant to support activities which focus on the development and promotion of films and filmmakers. 

Application for all the funds takes place biannually. 

Terms and regulations of the funds can be found here.

Asian Cinema Fund in Korea

With a record of projects from South Korea, India, and Singapore, this initiative supports the growth of Asian Cinema with their funding programs.

Script Development Fund

10 million Korean won (about 11.5 grand SGD) provided to talented Asian independent filmmakers to complete feature-length fiction film scripts that are in development. 

Eligibility: Director should have directed at least one short or feature film and the original script must contain Asian elements in its story, theme, character and background.

Post-Production Fund

Services provided to filmmakers to complete their digital-formatted films at state-of-the-art facilities in Korea and, upon completion, premiere at Busan International Film Festival. 

Eligibility: The project must not have been screened or released before, and it must contain Asian elements in its story theme, character and background. 

Asian Network of Documentary Fund

Funds independent documentary filmmakers to complete their feature-length documentary film projects that are aimed for theatrical release.

Eligibility: The project should be 60 minutes or more and may be in any stage of production. 

Detailed submission guidelines can be found here and application dates here

World Cinema Fund in Berlin

This is an initiative launched by the German Federal Foundation for Culture with the Goethe Institute that aims to develop and support cinema in regions with a weak film infrastructure, while fostering cultural diversity in German cinemas. They provide production and distribution grants yearly to developing films with powerful, visually creative stories and an authentic image of the filmmakers’ cultural roots.

Eligibility: Companies from a list of countries who can confirm cooperation with the director from a WCF eligible region.
Runtime: Feature-length narrative films or documentaries 

Detailed submission guidelines and more information can be found here.

Hubert Bals Fund in Netherlands

The HBF offers several funding schemes: early on for script and project development, or later on for production. Filmmakers with a project in early development can apply for Script and Project Development Support in two sub-categories: Bright Future for first and second-time filmmakers, and Voices for filmmakers more advanced in their career.

Eligibility: Filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe 
Runtime: Minimum 60 minutes narrative films

More information can be found here.

The Global Film Initiative in America

This organisation’s Granting Program awards fifteen to twenty grants of up to $10,000 each, annually, to filmmakers whose works offer diverse interpretations of the human experience. 

Applications are accepted from various countries for projects in pre-production, production and post-production only with a finished and English-translated screenplay, with 50% or more funding secured.

Eligibility: Directors must be citizens of the country of production
Runtime: Minimum 64 minutes

More information on eligibility and application can be found here.

The Alter-Ciné Foundation in Canada

A grant of 10,000 Canadian dollars is awarded to a video or filmmaker to assist in the production of a documentary project on the theme of rights and freedom. The film can be done in their native language or any of their choice. 

Eligibility: Filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America
Runtime: Not specified 

Application guidelines and form can be found here

Competition may be stiff and requirements may be tougher to meet – but don’t get intimidated. Complications aside, these organisations present great opportunities for aspiring filmmakers. From festival screenings to co-production opportunities, applying for grants can open up new avenues for your filmmaking career. 

Check back in with this article for updates on new or upcoming grants accessible to Southeast Asian and Singaporean filmmakers!

An optimistic pessimist. A cynical believer. And a careful dreamer. Basically the moron in oxymoron but sometimes I say things just for pun.
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