SINGAPORE – Singapore is launching a new fund to support local media companies to work with international partners, and is also investing more money into developing and funding virtual productions.
The new measures were announced by Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Tan Kiat How at the opening of the Asia TV Forum and Market (ATF) held at Marina Bay Sands on Dec 6. The ATF is part of the annual Singapore Media Festival, which is hosted by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
A $30 million International Co-Production Fund will be launched to encourage and empower local media companies to pursue co-productions that have both a distinct Singaporean flavour and international appeal with international collaborators.
The fund, which can be used to work with overseas talent in creative roles such as producers, directors and scriptwriters, is open to media companies in Singapore with a track record in long-form content production. Companies interested in tapping the fund can submit their proposals to IMDA between Dec 11 and Jan 31.
Additionally, $25 million will be invested in the Virtual Production Innovation Fund over the next three years. The fund was first announced at 2022’s ATF, with a $5 million tranche to encourage media companies here to experiment with virtual production.
Virtual production combines both physical and virtual film-making techniques, to allow for visual effects to be shot on-camera instead of edited in during post-production.
The initial tranche has helped to bring 20 projects to life and exposed more than 300 media professionals here to hands-on experience with virtual production.
Works that have benefited from the fund include Mediacorp’s upcoming Chinese-language drama Once Upon A New Year’s Eve, which will debut in early 2024.
The series, which stars Qi Yuwu, Jesseca Liu and Zhang Zetong, follows a man who is given the chance to time-travel to different stages of his life to make amends with his family members.
Virtual production technology was leveraged to recreate monuments that no longer exist, such as the National Theatre in River Valley Road that was demolished in 1986 and the old National Library building in Stamford Road, which was demolished in 2004.
The additional $25 million will go towards developing more virtual production talent in Singapore to meet the increasing demands of the industry. It will grow the talent pool by inviting overseas trainers to train local students and film-makers, as well as by introducing virtual production modules in schools.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic will begin to run virtual production curricula from April 2024. Local virtual production studio Aux will also partner with XON Studios, one of the pioneer virtual production studios in South Korea, to mentor local film-makers to use the technology in their storytelling.