UPCOMING film support initiative Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market has gone for five Malaysian film projects this year. The selection, announced by ScreenSingapore and the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA) on Friday, was made by a panel of industry experts including acclaimed filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich and executive producer of The Danish Girl, Kathy Morgan.
Resulting from a collaboration initiated in Cannes last year between Creative Content Association Malaysia (CCAM) and SAAVA, the project market’s Malaysia: Country of Highlight banner made space for five local films currently in early stages of development.
Shortlisted entrants include upcoming projects Devoted and Sama Laut, to be directed by Tony Pietra and Madnor Kassim respectively.
Tony Pietra is co-director of local cult hit Cuak and international collaborative film project Train Station. He posted a message of gratitude on his Facebook account after the reveal, providing a bit more information about the project.
Over a year ago, Corinne Adrienne had a vision. Damon Chua visualized it in written word. I fell in love with that vision and it has since grown into a labor of love for our tiny team. We are elated and honored that our project is selected with 15 finalists from across SEA, among 4 fellow Malaysians. Congrats to all; we’re proud to be standing with you!
— Tony Pietra, 28 October 2016
Madnor Kassim (a.k.a. Mohd Noor Kassim) meanwhile is a respected cinematographer. The two-time Best Cinematographer winner for Setem and Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa made headlines earlier this year for returning his FFM trophies in a garbage bag.
The remaining three shortlisted Malaysian projects are The Flying Tiger by Iranian filmmaker and Susuk co-director Naeim Ghalili with producer Abd Samad Hassan, Terbalik by filmmaking couple Yasu Tanaka and Bea Tanaka, and The Wave by Asian Film Academy 2014 alumni Jose Wei Ping Leong with producer Chris T. Weatherspoon. Almost sixty Malaysian companies submitted entries to this edition of SAFF.
“There’s a growing sense of excitement around Southeast Asian content, especially from Malaysia,” noted SAAVA executive director Justin Deimen. “Each of these projects have unique qualities and can take Malaysian made content to the next level.”
All five projects will be connected to SAFF’s network of co-producers and financiers, but they will also be competing with ten other film projects from Southeast Asia for a chance to win prizes.
SAFF Project Market 2016 will be held during Southeast Asian film market and industry conference ScreenSingapore.
SAFF Project Market 2016 shortlist
Diwata | Directed by Angcoy Crisologo | Produced by Reena Cortez and Vanessa Ulgado | Philippines
Neomanila | Directed by Mikhail Red | Produced by Pamela L. Reyes | Philippines
Ricky Boy The Wonder Boy | Directed by Victor Villanueva | Produced by Daphne Chiu | Philippines
Mamafia | Produced by Hang Trinh | Vietnam
The Wilderness | Directed by Bao Nguyen | Produced by Lucas | Vietnam
Hidden | Directed by Chhin Sothea | Produced by Sotho Kulikar | Cambodia
Siam | Directed by Tom Waller | Produced by Tom Waller and Katrina Grose | Thailand
The Cat and The Fish | Directed by Agung Sentausa | Produced by Sabrang Mowo Damar Panuluh, Dewi Umaya Rachman and Allen Jordan | Indonesia
The Violin | Directed by Ervin Han | Produced by Ervin Han and Bernard Toh | Singapore
The Wave | Directed by Jose Wei Ping Leong | Produced by Chris T. Weatherspoon | Malaysia
The Flying Tiger | Directed by Naeim Ghalili | Produced by Abd Samad Hassan | Malaysia
Devoted | Directed by Tony Pietra | Produced by Iman Corinne Adrienne and Damon Chua | Malaysia
Terbalik | Directed by Yasu Tanaka | Produced by Bea Tanaka | Malaysia
Sama Laut | Directed by Madnor Kassim | Produced by Siti Marzuliana Marzuki and Zuliana Ismail | Malaysia
SAFF Project Market 2016 takes place from 7 – 9 December at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. For more information on SAFF Project Market 2016 and other related news, make sure to follow ScreenSingapore, SAAVA and CCAM! Cover image features a behind-the-scenes look at Cuak.