‘Filipino’ wins top prize at Singapore Project Market

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“Filipino” by Mel Allego wowed the festival’s jury for its powerful storytelling and potential to be commercialized and co-produced globally.

A film project from the Philippines won the prestigious Cre8 Co-Production Award during the Southeast Asia Film Financing Forum (SAFF) Project Market, beating out 15 projects from Southeast Asia.

The project-in-development titled Filipino by Mel Allego wowed the jury for its powerful storytelling and potential to be commercialized and co-produced globally. Allego took home a co-production deal worth up to $200,000 from Cre8 Productions.

“I always have had (these) thoughts and ideas about my experiences living in contemporary Philippines. I wanted to do a film that is something non-conventional, and get people thinking about what is correct, what is incorrect — against the backdrop of the current uncertain socio-political landscape,” Allego said.

Executive producer Chan Gin Kai of Cre8 Productions (left) and Filipino producer and filmmaker Mel Allego at the Singapore Media Festival at Marina Bay Sands.

Set in Cebu, it tells the story of a journalist who sneaks through the blockade and inevitably gets caught up with five individuals cornered in a deadly chess game between fundamental extremists and higher powers.

The SAFF Project Market is back for its fourth edition this year to offer opportunities for investment and co-production to feature films from Asia and Europe and featured five Filipino projects in its slate, including:

Ani (The Harvest)
Genre: Science fiction, coming
of-age
Producer: Toni Zuniga
Director: Kristine Zuniga.

Bangsa Badjao
Genre: Drama thriller
Producer: Suzanne Richiardone and Jessel Monteverde
Director: Jessel Monteverde.

Comfort
Genre: Feminist action drama Producer: Bianca Balbuena and Kriz Gazmen
Director: Gino Santos.

John Denver Trending
Genre: Drama, social satire Producer: Sheron Dayoc and Sonny Calvento
Director: Arden Rod Condez.

Launched by Screen Singapore in partnership with the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshop, the annual summit was established in 2015 to bring together key players in the international film industry and promote fruitful collaborations.

Meanwhile, in line with the celebration of Philippine cinema’s 100th anniversary, the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) puts the Philippines on center stage as this year’s country of focus. The Film Development Council of the Philippines was the lead agency in the Philippine participation to the SMF, and brought together 30 companies including film buyers, producers, service providers, distributors and animation agencies to attend SMF-established events, including the Asia TV Forum & Market Leader’s Summit and SAFF Conference.

The SAFF Project Market 2018 was held from 5 to 7 December 2018 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

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