Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) has announced the eight local directors who have each been awarded $205,000 (S$250,000) under the inaugural New Talent Feature Grant (NTFG).

The grant is a new initiative by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC), part of the MDA, to support up-and-coming directors making Singaporean content, including commercial and arthouse features, documentaries and TV films.

Unlike previous co-investment schemes, the NTFG gives the filmmakers S$250,000 or up to 100% of their production budget (whichever is lower) and the directors will get to own the intellectual property of their films.

A minimum of 40% of the grant money does need to be spent in Singapore, and the grant-winning projects must be completed within a year.

Six of the eight grant winners are first-time feature film directors: Ric Aw with the project Building Waves; Abbas Akbar with Singapooru; M Raihan Halim with Banting; Jason Lai with Ms J Contemplates Her Choice; Kesavadas S/O Rajagopal with A Yellow Bird, and Tan Ai Leng with Sinema

The two others are second-time directors who have won awards for their previous work. Documentary filmmaker Tan Pin Pin won the grant with her project Hinterland and Teo Eng Tiong with The Confinement Nanny.