Media fest finds opportunities in Covid-19 crisis

A general view of Marina Bay Sands hotels and resorts is seen lit-up in Singapore on November 19,2020. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN/ AFP)

Storytellers from Asia have demonstrated resilience and creativity amid the disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

From now to Dec 6, they are gathering – physically or virtually – at one of the largest annual media events in the region, the Singapore Media Festival (SMF).

It’s a much-needed opportunity that bridges those storytellers with global markets in challenging times.

SMF returns for a seventh edition in 2020 with an array of events to showcase and connect filmmakers and content creators from around the region.

The fest rides on the city-state’s unique status as a media-tech hub in Asia, and prepares talent to

reimagine Asian storytelling and embrace the future in the post-pandemic era.

“As we recover from this challenging climate, we have to ensure that there continues to be opportunities for the region’s talents to develop their craft, and that doors for cross-country collaborations continue to be open to catalyse more production projects that will in turn benefit media professionals and companies on this road to recovery, ” said Howie Lau, assistant chief executive of media and innovation at Infocomm Media Development Authority (Imda), which hosts SMF.

Lockdowns and social distancing measures aimed to contain the pandemic have caused a major shift in the way people consume content.

They have migrated from attending events in-person to online, said Imda board member Amit Malhotra, regional lead at Disney Plus South-East Asia.

But Malhotra added that one thing remained unchanged: the importance of storytelling.

“It is indeed an exciting time to embrace the digital revolution where new capabilities and skill sets are sought after, ” he said.

Singapore aims to take the lead in this transformation with this year’s SMF. The flagship event has made a tremendous contribution to the region’s media ecosystem since its inception, having facilitated over US$1.7bil (RM6.918bil) worth of deals between local and international media firms from 2014 to 2019.

Lau said SMF is playing an even bigger role this year: The event serves as a multi-medium, multi-

genre platform that regathers the community while establishing the city-state as a go-to place for content creators.

“It’s encouraging them to expand into the region as the industry faces a paradigm shift, ” he said. — Reuters

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