SE Asian Genre Projects Secure Producing Deals in Udine
Singapore’s Aurora Media partners up with Indonesian and Lao features.
Two films with major regional directors selected in the Focus Asia Project Market of the Far East Film Festival (FEFF) in Udine, Italy have already landed investment and producing agreements with Singapore-based financier Aurora Media Holdings (Aurora). FEFF, the largest European-based film festival solely dedicated to Asian cinema, is currently ongoing, with over 200 film professionals from all over the world participating.
Focus Asia, the revamped genre-focused industry platform of FEFF added a genre project market this year and selected 12 projects currently in development to give them access to co-production or co-financing potential with key industry players from Europe and Asia.
Aurora, one of ASEAN’s leading media and entertainment asset incubation, investment and management vehicles enters into co-production with Abracadabra and The Long Walk, both films helmed by some of the region’s top talents. Justin Deimen, Group Managing Partner of AMH says of the strategic partnerships, “While we’ve invested into content around the globe, an important part of our fund’s DNA has always been primed to engage and invest into Southeast Asian talents and producers, while continuing to put support behind the region’s films and other creative properties, especially when they are as strong as the ones we’ve indentified here.”
Mattie Do’s project from Laos is The Long Walk, a unique time-travelling horror-sci-fi drama, which Do first pitched at the Southeast Asian Film Financing Forum (SAFF) in Singapore in 2015 alongside producers and genre experts, Annick Mahnert and Todd Brown. The Long Walk will be Do’s third film, following her well-received second film, the festival smash Dearest Sister, a Lao-French-Estonian co-produced horror-thriller.
Producer Annick Mahnert says of the new partnership, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Aurora Media on The Long Walk. Aurora is a major investment company in Southeast Asia and we are humbled by their confidence in Mattie’s new film. This brings our project to a whole new level.”
Abracadabra is the Indonesian-set black comedy topbilled by Indonesian megastar, Reza Rahadian. It will be helmed by Faozan Rizal, the director of 2012’s domestic hit, Habibie And Ainun, as well as produced by acclaimed Indonesian filmmaker, Ifa Isfansyah. Abracadabra was previously in 2015’s Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) and won the Special Recognition Prize at the MPA-APSA Project Pitch Reception in 2015.
“Faozan and I are happy to be co-producing Abracadbra with Aurora Media and we’re looking forward to take our film to the next level creatively and commercially by being part of this regional co-production,” says Ifa Isfansyah of the collaboration.
Both projects are in advanced stages of financing with the aim of moving into production by Q4 2017. Deimen, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA), a non-profit trade group representing intellectual property owners, media investors, and creative producers working within the ASEAN region remarks that being a part of FEFF through the Focus Asia section is a great opportunity for filmmakers and investors like Aurora. “The selections made this year have been stellar, and we’re looking forward to seeing Focus Asia grow in influence over future editions.
Aurora’s previous regional investment was in the faith-based sports drama 100 Yards, a co-production between Singapore, the Philippines, and the United States, now currently in post-production. It is currently in active casting and financing for East-West creature feature Mogwai, penned by Gary Young (The Tournament, Harry Brown) and co-written and directed by Spanish director Alejandro Suarez Lozano, picked up at the last edition of NAFF. During ScreenSingapore 2016, Aurora also awarded the Aurora Producing Award to Malaysian psycho-thriller Terbalik and also announced a multi-year investment agreement with top Hollywood sales agency, Kathy Morgan International and will serve as Executive Producers on Stano and Storm Boy, with both these high-profile international projects heading into production in June 2017.