Source: Media Development Authority
First-time Singapore film directors have a strong reason to cheer as the Media Development Authority (MDA) has launched a new initiative called the 'New Talent Feature Grant (NTFG)' to help up-and-coming film directors start their careers in feature filmmaking.
The NTFG supports film directors to produce their first feature films in a variety of genres, including those of artistic and cultural value, such as documentaries, festival-oriented works, and films in non-English languages (i.e. Malay and Tamil). The NTFG also supports films meant for theatrical release, festivals and broadcast, including feature-length telemovies.
The NTFG is administered by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC), with funding up to $250,000 or 100% of the production budget (whichever is lower) for each feature film. Successful recipients are required to use at least 40% of the grant in Singapore.
The NTFG is a grant, which means directors own the intellectual property of their films. As the NTFG is not based on co-investment, film directors need not raise the their own funds and can concentrate their energies on producing good, quality content.
The NTFG does not require film directors to partner with a production company experienced in making feature films. This means that they can form teams with other individuals including freelancers, who have had some experience in media production. Again, this will open up more opportunities for directors to produce their first feature films.
First-time Singapore film directors can now apply for the NTFG. The window will open from 7 May 2012 to 31 August 2012. More details of the NTFG can be found HERE.
5 Questions with MDA's Chief Information Officer Yeo Chun Cheng:
Q1: How is the 'New Talent Feature Grant' an improvement over the 'New Feature Film Fund'?
YCC: There are two key changes to the new scheme. First, the film director holds the intellectual property rights of his or her feature film, thus giving him or her ownership of the product. Second, there is no need for film directors to find an existing production company to co-invest in their project. In fact, aspiring film directors can start their own company and apply for the grant accordingly. Only those with a valid company will be considered for the grant.
Q2: Does the new scheme replace the existing 'New Feature Film Fund'?
YCC: Yes. However, other complementary schemes from MDA like the 'Development Assistance' and 'Production Assistance' grants can still be applied and used in conjunction with the new scheme.
Q3: How many projects does MDA expect to fund in a single year with this new scheme?
YCC: We hope to get as many proposals as possible. But we are looking to accept 8 quality projects per year. In the event that there is another promising project, we can be flexible to include it. Still, we have the resources for 8 feature films per year. We hope that applicants do not get discouraged if their proposal is rejected, do continue to try and submit your proposals again in the near future.
Q4: It seems like MDA does not expect these film projects funded under this new scheme to make money. Is that the case?
YCC: Our aim is to further develop the Singapore filmmaking scene. We are looking to lay the foundations for perhaps a Singapore New Wave, to have talented local directors fly the flag for Singapore in both regional and international cinemas. We have extended this new scheme to more arthouse films like festival films or documentaries, films that are more culturally significant than being box-office winners, in the hope that this will inspire a new movement of filmmakers to exercise their creativity.
Q5: It appears that films shot in non-English language are encouraged? Does this mean that films shot in dialect will not be dubbed?
YCC: It is still up to the Board of Film Censors to decide on issues pertaining to dialect. I believe there is a quota to meet. And it is likely that this quota will still be enforced with this new scheme.