Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Animation firms attend Singapore media exhibition

CARTOON CAPERS This year marks Taiwan's debut at the Asian Media Festival and local companies have been quick to sign deals with foreign customers


Filmmakers are one step closer to turning their ideas into real works at the Asia Media Festival in Singapore, with US$250 million worth of funding -- US$50 million more than last year -- up for grabs, according to the event's organizers.

Movie distributors, private equity fund managers and other media investors such as Peter Graham of the low-budget hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding are gathering at the fiesta to look for talented start-ups, they added.

The Asia Media Festival, now into its fifth year targeting the trade and public, has managed to attract several new nations including Taiwan, who are hoping to showcase their high quality media productions.

Activities tailor-made to stimulate consumer interest started on Nov. 13, while the three-day professional exhibition running through Friday has demonstrated 25-percent growth from last year, with record numbers of sellers and buyers from 49 countries, said Ed Ng (吳一平), president of festival organizer Reed Exhibitions, during the opening speech.

Hosted by the city-state government's Media Development Authority, the festival saw deals valued at US$33 million sealed last year, more than five times the US$6.3 million at its inception in 2002, said Lee Boon-yang (李文獻), Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts of Singapore.

In a recent report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers entitled Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2006-2010, the media and entertainment industry in the Asia Pacific was estimated to have grown 8.2 percent last year. From this year to 2010, the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at a compounded rate of 9.2 percent, according to the press statement.

The festival has been viewed as an important event in fulfilling the government's strategy to develop Singapore into a global media city, where international media elite would have a platform to facilitate financing, production and distribution.

This year, the festival is expected to play host to over 600,000 local and international visitors mainly from the television, broadcasting, film, animation, advertising and digital media industries, according to the press statement.

Most notable about Taiwan's first time participation at the exhibition is the "Taiwan Animation Pavilion," with nine companies attending to showcase the nation's prowess in the field.

The first piece of good news came from Jamar Idea Production Ltd (甲馬創意), which signed one Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday with a Canadian firm to distribute an animated series. It is expected to sign another MOU with a South Korean firm today, said product manager Genie Liu (劉怡麟).

Bulky Animation Studio (大腕影像) and Far Eastern Animation Production Co (遠東卡通) have been chosen as two of the five finalists for a SuperPitch session this morning, where they will present their animation works and try to to win recognition from judges and opportunities for capital injection from international financiers.

Also at the exhibition was Green Paddy Animation Studio (青禾動畫), whose work Jokes won the Best Original Made-for-Mobile Content award in MIPCOM, the world's leading audiovisual content market, in Cannes last month. Another production A Fish with a Smile (微笑的魚) walked away with the best animation award in this year's Asia-Pacific Film Festival last week in Taipei.

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