The inaugural edition of the ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator (FLY) project wrapped in Davao City, the Philippines this weekend with a mandate for expansion in 2013.

As previously reported, the initiative brought together 22 young participants from ASEAN member countries plus Korea to encourage filmmaking collaboration and education.

Backed by the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the event was organised by the Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet) and Busan Film Commission (BFC), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Screen Authority Sapporo (SAS).

Following several months of online discussion and pre-production in two separate groups, the teams relocated to Davao from November 12-25 for production meetings, instructional classes and shooting of two 10-minute shorts.

The first edition’s instructors and master classes drew heavily from the Korean and Filipino industries. Experts included The King And The Clown director Lee Jun-ik, leading independent Filipino director Tikoy Aguiluz and Oba: The Last Samurai director Hideyuki Hirayama from Japan. Director Adolfo Alix Jr. and cinematographer Song Jin-yuel were among the instructors.

The two finished short films were screened at the Cinematheque Davao, which opened this June as one of a growing number of Cinematheques opening around the country through efforts by FLY partner FDCP.

At the closing ceremony on Sunday two participants received a $5000 production grant award by private Korean FLY sponsor Benex Foundation. Lwin Ko Ko Oo and Zay Yar Aung, both hailing from Myanmar, received the grants toward their next film productions.

AFCNet president and BFC director Oh Seok-geun commented and outlined expansion possibilities for next year.

“Asia is now the second biggest film market in the world. Almost half the films produced in the world annually come from Asia. But the gaps in industry development between countries is a serious problem. We want to take FLY beyond ASEAN nations and open the programme to China, Japan and other countries across the continent. Perhaps even including Central Asia and the Middle East. But new sources of funding will be required.”

In the meantime, this year’s participants will gather again in Sapporo, Japan in February of next year for the ASEAN-Sapporo Re:J Workshop.

The workshop, hosted by Screen Authority Sapporo (SAS) and co-hosted by the FLY partners will function as a continuation and follow-up to the first edition. Students will focus on sales and funding possibilities, location filming and work on project proposals with the intention of submission to the 2012 Asian Project Market in Busan.