In a strategic move that surprises many, Singapore, whose cinematic output is limited in volume and significance, is asserting itself as an international player in the film industry. Next week, Singapore’s Media Development Authority will host ScreenSingapore, an “international cinema event offering policy makers, industry buyers, sellers, producers and creative talent from all over the world a platform to exchange ideas, business opportunities and showcase their product.”
Basically, it’s a marketplace and a trade show for the movies. The event, which runs from June 5 to 12, will include screenings, workshops, seminars, gala receptions and red-carpet premieres. R
ight now, the most prominent star who’s confirmed to appear at the event is Tom Hanks. He directs and stars in Larry Crowne, a drama-comedy that also stars Julia Roberts. Meanwhile, Chinese star Zhang Zhiyi will serve as the Event Ambassador.
In an ambitious move, ScreenSingapore is courting everybody from Bollywood to Japan and China. There will be a screening of the much-expected Ra:One, a Bollywood sci-fi adventure starring Shah Rukh Khan, and a China Film Festival embedded in the programme. Kelvin Tong, one of the Lion City’s best-known filmmakers, will also present his retrospective.
But it remains to be seen if Singapore can launch this new event on the map of global film events. The timing, right after the heavy dealings at Cannes Film Market in mid-May, may not be ideal, but the Singaporean government seems determined to make its mark with big spending and a major PR blitz. The fact that Singapore, despite a number of talented directors, is not strongly associated with the burgeoning Asian film scene means the island republic will have to work hard to leave a true impression on the participants and policy-makers.
Still, it’s interesting that as the Thai government has been banging the gong of the Creative Economy, with uneven results, Singapore shows a clear intention to assert its own regional importance in the same direction. And with its reputation for efficiency and deal management, Singapore may create a ripple that Thai policy-makers will feel.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post (1/06/2011)