NYFA Interviews: Freddie Yeo, Chief Operating Officer of Infinite Frameworks
Freddie Yeo founded Infinite Frameworks in 1997, and has been running post-production services for short films, television commercials, animations, and other films since. Freddie has produced several notable films like Eric Khoo’s “My Magic“, “Tatsumi” and “Be With Me“, all of which were nominated in the Cannes Film Festival. He has also co-produced HBO’s recent TV series “Serangoon Road” and 20th Century Fox’s “Agent 47“.
I spoke with Freddie about his views on how the National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) can draw media students closer to the local film industry.
1. What do you think differentiates NYFA from other film competitions in Singapore?
First and foremost, this is targeted for the youth. I suppose a lot of other existing film competitions are more generic. Organized by *SCAPE, which is a platform for many youths, we will be able to see ideas being generated within that age group through this film awards. This could eventually become a bit of a benchmark for youths to learn what other films are being done in school in comparison.
I think another difference is the quality of the Jury that is put together as well. The Jury consists of people who have been in the industry for a long time. It is quite difficult to get such judges on a single panel, and it will be an opportunity for all of us to get a fresh sense of the heartbeat and pulse of topics youths are trending towards, in terms of the film content they are producing.
2. What are your thoughts about the way the Awards is being designed/structured?
I think there is a bigger emphasis on craft in general, versus a typical offering of Best Director award or other usual kinds of awards that are out there in the market.
This film awards is really about recognizing the many members of a film production team. To put a film production team together is not just a matter of bringing on board the Producer, or the Director, or the Cinematographer, but it basically goes down to every component of craft that is involved in the process of making a film, and you don’t usually find the recognition of that in a lot of film awards.
3. How will the Awards benefit the industry as a whole?
I think there are 2 parts to this. Firstly, let’s talk about the youths who participate and emerge as award winners. Apart from the standard prizes that they may be awarded, the chance to interact with industry people who have been around for a long time is certainly very valuable.
This Film Awards also allows first hand, a touch-base with a lot of this work that has been done. Some of these short film ideas are prime for a bit more development into a full-fledged feature or a TV series. When the originators of the ideas and industry people come together, they can potentially collaborate to realize the project. I think this Awards serves as a wonderful platform for the industry to see the kind of talent that is emerging, and the kind of genres that youths of today are passionate about. Ultimately, as content producers, we are always looking for new content. I think there’s a lot of parallel in terms of how the young film production talents and industry people can benefit each other.
4. Are there any key attributes that you look for particularly in potential apprentices?
Personally, I think a key attribute is a demonstration of a person’s passion for the craft. I think you cannot feign such things. It’s either you have it or you don’t, and I think one can quite easily have a sense of a person’s passion for the craft of film.
Humility is also exceedingly important. I think the ability to take criticism constructively and to want to improve, is a basic fundamental trait for any young person coming into the industry. If a person comes with a lot of misplaced ego and pride, ultimately it is very clear where the person’s path will be. And I’m not saying that for lack of ambition. At the end of the day, you do have to be willing to collaborate, and know that the filmmaking process is a team effort. There is no scarcity of people in this industry, as we say. Everybody needs to collaborate with each other.
5. In your opinion, how will NYFA change the landscape for young and emerging film production talents in Singapore?
It really depends on our reaching out to as many youths as possible through this Awards. Being able to showcase the event at *SCAPE is a good mechanism for creating awareness, and participating youths will be able to show the content they produced to a wider audience.
There are a lot of efforts from every part of the ecosystem, whether it’s the schools, through film competitions like this particular one, through the efforts of the government, or through the industry. I think there are a lot of influencing elements to this whole media landscape.
A film awards like this can help fuel interest amongst the youths, not just through their friends, but also through their family. Perhaps they may then pursue filmmaking a bit more seriously, dispelling the common notion of filmmaking as a hobby or a craft activity, and learn to pursue it as a career.
6. Anything to add?
I think it would be great, as we progress, if the Awards transformed itself to become non-specific to its current medium of film. It could be across creative industries, be it music, dance or theatre. *SCAPE could play that role in driving it to a platform where it is about the youth’s creativity in the arts and media, versus a specific genre like film.
I think right now, it is about taking baby steps. Let’s roll this out, and see how it works. If it works out, if it is a success, then we can continue broadening the scope a little bit.