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The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) today announced the first film to receive support under its International Film Fund that was launched at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Neon Sign the first Singapore-China-Korea film co-production, will be directed by Korean Pil Gam-Sung (“Musa”) and is scheduled for release in 2011. Backed by Asian film powerhouses CJ Entertainment and Beijing Polybona Film Distribution Co. Ltd, with support from MDA, “Neon Sign” will be produced by Bang Productions (Singapore) and Nabi Pictures Ltd. (Korea).
“Neon Sign” is the second feature film co-production deal involving Singapore and Korea. The first, Host 2 by Singapore’s Boku Films and Korea’s Chungeorahm Films, was announced two months ahead of the American Film Market in September. In all, Singapore has co-produced properties in the film, television and animation space with over 10 countries across the world.
Commenting on the growing trend of co-productions between and among countries, Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer, MDA said: “This tripartite collaboration represents the growing synergies among Asian countries and our abilities to tell Asian stories concerning universal topics such as music and culture in a unique way for an international audience.”
Neon Sign is set in China’s picturesque Yunnan province. The comedic road movie centers on a highly sought- after Korean pop idol who flees to China to escape paparazzi following scandals at home. On a quest to seek out a particular fan who could be the answer to his career woes, he is suddenly stranded in the remote but magical countryside of Yunnan with two wayward traveling companions in tow.
Mr. Joon Choi, Vice President of CJ entertainment said, “We are delighted to be participating in Neon Sign. We believe that this film will undoubtedly make a mark as a successful Singapore-China-Korea co-production. Utilizing its topnotch entertainment network, CJ Entertainment is pleased to contributeto the realization of this project as we believe the film will offer a warmhearted delightful storyline that combines beautiful music, choreography and artistic direction to entertain audiences far beyond Asia’s borders.”
Producer Min-whan Jo of Nabi Pictures said: “Nabi Pictures is excited to be working with great partners across Asia and a wonderfully talented director, Gam-Sung Pil. With his Chinese-Korean background, we believe Pil’s cultural and creative sensibilities will capture the essence of the Neon Sign story perfectly.”
Keiko Bang, President of Bang Singapore said, “A project like Neon Sign beautifully weaves together Korea’s dynamic talent both in front and behind the camera, China, both as a marketplace and a film location, and Singapore’s unique role in the region as a hub for executive production, financing and production. This film is symbolic of the many new and lasting alliances which signify the emergence of a new paradigm shift in the way that Asian media projects will be financed, produced and distributed in the future.”
“We’ve been looking for opportunities to work with CJ Entertainment and MDA for some time, and Neon Sign has nicely pulled together the strengths and resources of all the parties asa showcase for pan-Asian co-production and cooperation”, said Jeffrey Chan, CEO of Distribution Workshop and Group COO of Bona International Film Group.
The International Film Fund is one of several initiatives launched under the Singapore Media Fusion Plan at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Fund provides Singapore-based production and post-production companies the opportunity to executive produce and/or co-produce films of global appeal with international partners and will invest up toS$5 million per film, covering 17 to 20 projects ranging from animation, live-action features and post-production projects.
CJ Entertainment is Korea’s leading entertainment company founded in 1995, with a business that encompasses film production, investment, distribution and exhibition. CJ Entertainment’s business lines are extensive, operating in a broad spectrum of entertainment fields. Through its array of films, network of premier multiplex cinemas, wide selectionof video and DVD titles, the company is providing an outstanding entertainment experience to all customers, realizing its vision of becoming a truly comprehensive world-class entertainment group.
Beijing Polybona Film Distribution
Beijing Polybona Film Distribution has distributed over 150 films in China with a total box office of over RMB 1.5b (US$220m). Founded in 2000 by Yu Dong who is now the CEO and Chairman, the Company has now grown into a champion player in the China film industry, with solid financial backing and fully integrated business scope spanning film distribution, film production, international film sales, cineplex investment and management, film advertisements and talent management.
Bang Singapore is a leader in the executive production of media projects across Asia, achieving critical acclaim for the creation, production, financing and distribution of high-end, quality content projects that showcase the compelling dynamism and brilliance of Asian storytellers to the rest of the world. Bang is based in Singapore with partner offices in Tokyo and Seoul.
Nabi Pictures is a Korean film production company founded in 2001, producing many films since inception, includingone of the first Pan-Asia market-focused films The Restless in 2006. Nabi Pictures is poised to become an industry leading producer that will specialize in the international co-production market place.
Distribution Workshop is a joint venture between Bona International Film Group, the holding company of Beijing Polybona Film Distribution, the largest independent distributor in China, and film distribution veterans Nansun Shi and Jeffrey Chan, with a mission to be thepremier international sales agent and producer of the best quality Asian films for distributors worldwide.
Formed in 2003, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) plays a vital role in transforming Singapore into a Global Media City and positioning it at the forefront of the digital media age. MDA spearheads initiatives that promote developments in film, video, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation, media services and Interactive Digital Media. At the same time, in ensuring clear and consistent regulatory policies and guidelines, MDA helps to foster a pro-business environment for industry players and increase media choices for consumers. (Source: MDA)