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Speech by RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew at the opening of Scorpio East Building

21/07/2009

Speech by RADM(NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts, at the Opening ofScorpio East Building, TUESDAY, 21 July 2009, 12.05pm

Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC

Mr John Ho, CEO of Scorpio East Holdings Ltd

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction

1.      Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to witness the opening of the Scorpio East Building today.

Scorpio East's Achievements

2.      Scorpio East has come a long way since its inception in 1994. It started its operations as a distribution company, and gradually became one of the largest distributors of video entertainment programmes in Singapore.By leveraging on their core expertise and networks in the distribution and marketing space, Scorpio East has grown over time, expanding their sights from distribution, to co-production, owning intellectual property and making films with regional partners for the worldwide Chinese-speaking market.

3.      Following the success of their first co-production venture with MediaCorp Raintree Pictures on I Not Stupid 2 in 2006, Scorpio East went on to co-produce movies such as Money No Enough 2, Rule Number 1 and The Wedding Game. At present, they are working with local director, Kelvin Tong on his latest film, Kidnapper, which is currently in production.

4.      Scorpio East has also ventured beyond Singapore, teaming up recently with China Film Group, Hong Kong's Emperor Group and Taiwan's Chang Hong Films to co-produce Treasure Hunter.The movie, starring Jay Chou and Lin Chi-ling, will premiere in cinemas across the region at the end of this year. This initiative is a positive step forward for Singapore-made content to gain greater exposure in the international film circuit.

Alignment With MDA's Media Development Blueprint

5.      Scorpio East's co-production ventures within and beyond Singapore, and its efforts to work with established local talents as well as nurture young and upcoming local film directors are greatly encouraged. They are also closely aligned with the MDA's efforts to grow the film industry.

6.      Through its Singapore Media Fusion Plan or SMFP blueprint, MDA is encouraging filmmakers to tap on the rich offerings of Asia. Be it folklore or contemporary themes, the range of story options are vast. Furthermore, the mounting interest from the West to remake Asian films, particularly those in the horror and comedy genres, are an added boost to filmmakers in the region to create more local content with an international appeal.

7.      With our strategic positioning, pro-business policies, multi-cultural society and strong language skills, Singapore is ideally positioned to be the East-West gateway for the creation, aggregation, distribution and commercialisation of New Asia Media, be it content, services or applications.

8.      Indeed, Singapore's film industry has made significant progress in recent years, raising its profile in tandem with more Singapore films made and exhibited overseas. From only two films produced in 1995 - Mee Pok Man, and Bugis Street, the number of locally produced films in 2008 has since increased to 17. Singapore filmmakers have once again come to the fore, producing films that are winning accolades and awards at international film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival. Eric Khoo's My Magic saw its world premiere in Cannes last year and was in the running for the top prize - the Palme D'or [pronunciation: Palm Door] Award.And this year, visual artist Ho Tzu Nyen's HERE was screened at the Directors' Fortnight.

Nurturing Talents

9.      In growing the film industry, the Government recognises that nurturing of media talents for the future is key. MDA has been working closely with local and overseas industry players to groom our local talents. For example, MDA's Media Education Scheme enables them to take up varied courses offered by local and overseas tertiary institutions, such as the Tisch School of the Arts Asia and the Digipen Institute of Technology. The scheme has supported talents such as Anthony Chen in honing their skills. Anthony Chen is a graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film & Media Studies. His graduation film was screened at over 35 film festivals worldwide and garnered awards in France, Belgium, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.His second short film Ah Ma won a Special Mention Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.

10.     Various local and overseas attachment programmes for the industry workforce have been launched through MDA's Media Training and Attachment programme. For example, at last month's BroadcastAsia, MDA announced a collaboration with the Interactive and Digital Media Institute (IDMI) of the National University of Singapore. This will provide attachment programmes to major movie and television studios such as The Walt Disney Company, ABC, ESPN and The Jim Henson Company in the United States of America, through the NUS-Digital Hollywood Lab. In its latest efforts, MDA has tied up with Salon Films to offer attachments at the Hengdian World Studios to local media professionals. It is noted for being the world's largest location facility for foreign and local feature film and TV productions, where films such as "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor", MediaCorp Raintree Pictures' "Painted Skin" and "Hero" by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou were shot.

11.     Such strong collaborations and developments augur well for Singapore's developing film industry. Scorpio East has told me that, apart from production and post production facilities, this new building will also house an artiste training centre to help nurture local acting talents. This is heartening news for the industry and complements the MDA's efforts to nurture and grow the talent pool in Singapore.

Conclusion

12.     The opening of the Scorpio East building brings a mini media-ecosystem under one roof, from production and post-production facilities, to marketing and distribution.This is both a testament to the Company's commitment to grow its own professional expertise and move into higher-valued added activities, as well as a reflection of the dynamism of Singapore's media sector.

13.     We look forward to Scorpio East's further contributions to the film industry through its work with established talents, and in nurturing young and upcoming movie talents in Singapore.

14.     Thank you.

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