As third-annual event kicks off welcoming 4000 buyers and sellers; organisers announce week-long event for 2014 combined with film festival and awards.

The third ScreenSingapore and 14th Asia TV Forum (ATF) opened today at the Marina Bay Sands with Singapore’s minister for communications and information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim announcing the combined event will from next year also be held in conjunction with the revamped Singapore International Film Festival and the Asian Television Awards (ATA).

“The week-long event, featuring local and international content, will be launched in end of 2014. On top of the present format of trade market, conferences, screenings and world premiere, we will introduce a new festival component, including film awards for trade professionals and public screenings for Singaporeans,” he said.

The minister anticipates the Singapore International Film Festival will help make the combined event “a window to Southeast Asian films for the world.”

“For more than 20 years, it has been bringing international films to local film buffs, Following its two-year hiatus, we are working with its organisers to bring it back as “SGIFF”. We are also reviving a home favourite, the [Asian film competition] Silver Screen Awards, which has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of Singapore’s most notable filmmakers such as Royston Tan, Eric Khoo, Kelvin Tong and Boo Jun Feng,” he said.

SGIFF will programme 50 to 80 films.

With the 18th ATA this year reaching 28 million households around Asia through MediaCorp, Fox International Channels’ StarWorld and Channel [V], Ibrahim expects next year’s event to become one of the most widely watched TV events in Asia.  

This is the second year ScreenSingapore and ATF have been held together. Organizers say they expect 4,000 international buyers and sellers from close to 60 countries with 16 international delegations from Australia, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK.

Ibrahim noted upon last year’s event: “We had 4,000 trade participants from more than 900 companies in 52 countries. At the close of the event, some $204m in sales were sealed – a 8.5% jump over 2011. These are positive and encouraging results and we are hopeful of doing even better this year.”

Stars Andy Lau and Gordon Lam Ka Tung were on the red carpet this evening for the world premiere of Chinese action drama Firestorm.

Energized by the success of Anthony Chen’s homegrown film Ilo Ilo at Cannes where it won the Camera d’Or and at the recent Taipei Golden Horse Awards where it picked up amongst other the Best Feature prize, the Singapore film industry is looking to grow further.

Talks by Chen and Shekhar Kapur were held today as well as other panels including ones on Southeast Asian film financing and production incentives.