Singapore Rolls Out the Red Carpet
Singapore wants to join the major international film festival circuit. With the launch of ScreenSingapore, which runs through June 12, the island city-state is hosting dozens of screenings and events aimed at wooing industry players: Oliver Stone is heading an awards-selection jury, Tom Hanks and Zhang Ziyi are walking the red carpet and “Titanic” producer Jon Landau is anchoring a discussion panel on film business, among other happenings.
Indeed, Singapore is entering a competitive market, which might be why organizer Jimmy Lau prefers to call ScreenSingapore a “business convention for international media players” rather than a film festival.
The Singapore International Film Festival, the city-state’s original flagship film event, which will be held in September this year, is aimed at smaller Southeast Asian art-house films. In Asia, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, started in 1977, and Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, launched in 1996, have taken center stage (though worldwide, the Cannes Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival tend to attract the biggest names and most sales).
Still, ScreenSingapore, which is backed by the government’s Media Development Authority, has managed to attract 700 delegates to its three-day film market, the focal point of the weeklong event (its original target was 500, it said).