Thai production service and equipment company VS Service and post-production house White Light are launching Open SEA Fund, Southeast Asia’s first regional film fund.

The new fund for Southeast Asian filmmakers will start out by supporting two feature film projects a year – one in production and one in post-production, with an estimated value of $50,000 for both projects combined.

VS Service will provide a full camera, lighting and grip package for a feature film shooting in Thailand or the region. White Light will offer a color grading and DCP package for a feature film.

“Thailand has profited immensely from being the post-production centre of Southeast Asia,” said White Light’s managing partner Lee Chatametikool. “With the Open SEA Fund, we want to give back to the region by opening up funding opportunities for both unknown and established Southeast Asian filmmakers.”

The award-winning editor, director, producer and post-production supervisor has worked with filmmakers such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Aditya Assarat, Anocha Suwichakornpong and Woo Ming Jin.

He explained that he and VS Service owner Pete Pithai Smithsuth, also the director of Taxi Karaoke, had been discussing such a fund for a long time.

“My idea was about wanting something that’s a relatively open platform. For most film funds, you need to build up your background and network. We wanted to do something from scratch for new directors, shake things up a little bit and just rethink the way projects get funded,” he said.

VS Service has worked with Hollywood productions such as The Beach, The Hangover Part II and American Gangster as well as independent productions and its upcoming projects include Anocha Suwichakornping’s By The Time It Gets Dark.

“VS has already been active in funding local films, but we were looking for a more comprehensive way for filmmakers to take projects from production all the way to post,” said Smithsuth.

“Our collaboration with White Light is the perfect answer - projects with some funding in place would benefit from our production support and become good candidates for further post-production support.”

The two representatives are at the Asian Film Market to meet with filmmakers in the Asian Project Market.

“It made sense to launch the fund at Busan. Being here helps to introduce us to actual projects and actual filmmakers what we have in mind and want to do,” said Chatametikool.

Open SEA Fund will take submissions until the end of November, aiming for projects to be completed in 2015.

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