GENERAL COMMENTARY

How Independent Filmmakers In Southeast Asia Are On The Rise

12 September 2019

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How Independent Filmmakers In Southeast Asia Are On The Rise

Independent filmmakers in Southeast Asia face numerous obstacles, but a burgeoning network of support — such as film fund Purin Pictures — is fuelling growth and ambition. 

Speaking at the Purin Pictures Round table industry event in Bangkok in July, Monster Jimenez, a producer from the Philippines, outlined some of the obstacles facing Southeast Asian independent cinema. She said that when it comes to accessing funding or distribution, films from Southeast Asia are often lumped together as a genre, forced to compete for the same limited resources, despite the diversity of content emerging from around 10 film-producing nations across the region.

“I’ve had a hard time convincing sales agents that my film was a hip-hop film, not a Southeast Asian film,” said Jimenez, who produced Treb Monteras’s Respeto, about the friendship between a young rapper and an older poet. “My hope is that five years from now, every film we make can stand alongside those from Japan, Korea and France and get the same crack at the funding. It feels like we’re competing with the rest of the world but we’re always at a disadvantage.”

That’s a challenge Bangkok-based Purin Pictures is keen to tackle. Launched in 2017 as a film fund, it provides grants to around 10 film a year from the region, along with supporting film-related events such as Vietnam’s Autumn Meeting and SeaShorts Film Festival in Malaysia. Round Table was launched this year in partnership with Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival to explore the issues facing the industry through panels, workshops and spotlights.

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Photo credit: Screen Daily

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