The third edition of ScreenSingapore and the Asia TV Forum & Market brings pan-Asian buyers and producers together.

There are many markets in Asia, but ScreenSingapore is unique because it is a gateway to Southeast Asia. It’s not just a local market. Everyone is trying to do more regional work,” says Melvin Ang, who is a board member of ScreenSingapore as well as the founder and executive director of Singapore-based Chinese-language production and distribution company mm2 entertainment.

In its third year, the ambitious ScreenSingapore and Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) is looking to establish itself as Asia’s must-attend entertainment content market. Running December 4-6 with pre-market conferences on December 3, the event comprises sales booths, conferences, masterclasses, networking events and premieres.

“ATF and ScreenSingapore bring international film and TV content, as well as Asian buyers and producers together. We have big names on the market floor and quality content at the conference sessions,” says project director Yeow Hui Leng from Reed Exhibitions, the event’s organiser.

Country pavilions will include newcomers from Indonesia, Spain and Russia, as well as returning participants from Australia, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK. Hollywood-based studios such as Miramax and Paramount Pictures are also taking stands.

Buyer Kamal Jain, CEO and managing director of India-based Superfine Films, says his company chooses to attend ATF/Screen Singapore because it is geared “more specifically to Asian film fraternity and sheer scale in the field of cinema and TV”.

Ang also notes the cultural and linguistic advantages of Singapore as a crossroads from which to branch out into mainland China and other Chinese-speaking territories. “Singapore is good because it’s cosmopolitan, and 90% of people in the business community will speak English and Chinese. There are a lot of mainland Chinese companies coming to ScreenSingapore and Singaporean producers are actively looking to work more with regional and international players,” he says.

This year’s conferences include a Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia-sponsored series on producing films in China for local and overseas audiences. Experts such as Yu Dong of Bona Film Group, Nansun Shi of Distribution Workshop and Greg Basser of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group will talk about development, financing, production, marketing and distribution of Chinese films.

A Super Producers panel will showcase the film-makers behind Asian box office successes, such as The Raid: Redemption’s Maya Barack Evans from Indonesia, Thai hit Pee Mak’s producer Banjong Pisanthanakun and prolific Singaporean hit-maker Jack Neo.

Other panels include one on Southeast Asia film financing with producers from Singapore’s mm2 entertainment and Starhub, Korea’s CJ Entertainment and Japan’s Nikkatsu, and a panel on locations incentives. Recent Cannes Camera d’Or winner Anthony Chen (Ilo Ilo) and Shekhar Kapur, director of the Oscar-winning Elizabeth, will also give talks.

For TV-focused participants, ATF/ScreenSingapore is holding conferences such as the day-long MIPACADEMY with masterclasses on non-scripted formats and factual programming. Speakers include producers from Korea’s CJ E&M, China’s Hunan Satellite TV and the UK’s FremantleMedia. Rob Clark, director of global entertainment development at FremantleMedia, will give a talk on “How to format the show and turn it into a global entertainment business” on the basis of his company’s experiences with successful formats such as The X Factor and Got Talent.

Animation Lab, a matchmaking platform for Asian animation producers looking for co-producers and financiers, will run December 4-6. The lab will give its finalists opportunities to meet with commissioning editors and broadcasters from Disney, BBC Worldwide, Turner, Viacom and others in closed-door pitching sessions.

Ang says ATF/ScreenSingapore is a full-service market: “It’s not just about distribution deals, it’s about funding, investing and creative content. It’s an event where people can talk about exciting ideas and develop new innovations. ScreenSingapore can help you meet the big boys, but also the young start-ups. Markets shouldn’t just be for established players. Aspiring film-makers can come [here] for inspiration,” he says.