The Ilo Ilo director’s company will produce one or two films per year.

Singaporean director Anthony Chen, who won last year’s Cannes Camera d’Or with his debut feature Ilo Ilo, is launching a film company called Giraffe Pictures today in Singapore. Chen is partnering with Ilo Ilo associate producer Huang Wenhong on the boutique outfit which aims to develop emerging talent in Singapore and the region.

The company plans to start by producing one to two films a year, with Chen serving as executive producer on all its projects. 

Based in London, Chen is developing UK projects of his own and so Huang will be heading up Giraffe Pictures in Singapore. The company will also produce Chen’s Asian projects.

Giraffe Picture’s first project will be Distance, an omnibus feature collaboration with China’s Guangxi Film Group. Up-and-coming filmmakers Sivaroj Kongsakul (from Thailand), Tan Shijie (Singapore), and Xin Yukun (China) will direct. Taiwanese actor Chen Bolin (Blue Gate Crossing) will play the lead. Distance will start production in January 2015, shooting in Singapore, Taiwan, China and Thailand.

The company’s upcoming slate also includes three debut features - one from Tan Shijie, whose shorts were in Venice and Busan; K Rajagopal’s Cannes Cinefondation project A Yellow Bird, and Kirsten Tan’s Popeye, which won the top prize at last month’s Torino Film Lab.

Chen said, “Having experienced the struggles of a young filmmaker while making my first feature, it has always been my intention to set up a home to support young visionary filmmakers in the region. Asia is brimming with exciting filmmaking talent at the moment and we are hoping that Giraffe Pictures would provide the platform and opportunities for such emerging voices to be heard. We are stressing rigorous development on script, with a focus on quality over quantity, eventually building a brand that is synonymous to the best of Asian cinema.”

Huang said, “Having worked in the Singapore media industry for 20 years, in television, radio, web and print, I see Giraffe Pictures as the beginning of an exciting new chapter as I move into film. I share Anthony’s passion, ambition and vision in the possibilities of Singapore and Asian cinema and I’m heartened that we found financing partners within and outside the region who believe in our cause.”