Singapore Media Festival to Shift Mostly Online

Patrick Frater
·3-min read

The wide-ranging cluster of events operating under the Singapore Media Festival banner will this year shift largely online. The move is a response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the limited opportunities for travel in the Asia region.

The Singapore International Film Festival, running the full length of the SMF (Nov. 26-Dec. 6), will combine virtual film screenings and in-person events, organizers said. All the SMF’s other component events will be held virtually.

These include the Asia Television Forum (Dec. 1-4); ScreenSingapore and the Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market (Dec. 1-4); the Asian Academy Creative Awards (Dec. 1-4).

The Singapore Comic Con, held for the first time in 2019, will be put on hiatus this year “due to COVID-19 restrictions and restrictions on large-scale consumer events.” Gamers, however, will be given a new event, with the launch of the inaugural SuperGamerFest 2020, to be held on the weekends Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 11-13.

“This year has been undeniably challenging, but the resilience and creativity of our media community as they navigate uncharted waters, adapt, collaborate and continue telling our stories has been inspiring. This has brought on a fresh wave of new experiences and uncovered growth opportunities for the region,” said Howie Lau, assistant chief executive for media and innovation at the InfoComm Media Development Authority. “As the market re-opens and global players look to tap on the diverse stories in this region, we stand ready to celebrate novel ideas, talents and innovation, and to reimagine Asian storytelling for the global stage.”

The IMDA said that the cornerstone ATF will host its full market and conference experience online through the ATF Online Plus digital platform. These include virtual trade markets, conferences and pitches, and speed dating opportunities. Presentations and seminars are expected to include speakers from companies including BBC Studios, Tubi, TV Chosun and WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks.

“To date, there is still much uncertainty on travel restrictions globally, thus impacting our partners who come from all over the world to attend ATF. After much consideration, and in the best interests of the industry, we have decided to take ATF online in order to facilitate business and networking for our industry,” organizers said.

The Asian Academy Creative Awards will kick off with the digital “National Winners Conference”, featuring top creatives and actors selected from 16 AAA member territories in a closed-door industry event, and acting panels with country winners streamed on Facebook Live. The national winners will then compete in the awards and gala final, to be livestreamed on Dec. 3 and 4. The online events include a branded 3D theatre, and a virtual red carpet runway.

Singapore has largely brought the coronavirus outbreak under control, despite a surge in mid-summer that occurred when virus infections ran wild among the dormitories of migrant workers. On Tuesday, there were just 6 new cases, including four imported cases. The country now has a total of 57,900 documented COVID-19 infections and 28 deaths.

Singapore’s movement control measures have been partially eased since July, but officially the country will remain in Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange “for the time being.” Singapore and Hong Kong, which similarly has the disease under control, are also close to agreeing a transport bubble. That potentially will allow quarantine-free travel between the two places, on condition that travelers have a current negative virus test from government approved laboratories.

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