Malaysia: adds another market event to Asian calendar

Malaysia's film agency FINAS has confirmed plans for an inaugural festival and content market this year, setting dates in November for the Kuala Lumpur event.
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Malaysia’s film agency FINAS has confirmed plans for an inaugural festival and content market this year, setting dates in November for the Kuala Lumpur event.

The International Film Festival Malaysia (IFFM) will run 10-18 November, with a focus on films with Asian/ASEAN focus, helping to differentiate it from other festivals in the region. There will also be a competition line-up, and – for the first edition at least – Malaysia will be the festival’s country focus. Retrospectives and “international hits” will round out the first edition.

The festival has appointed a pair of high-profile expats, Lorna Tee and Dennis Lim, to the positions of festival director and artistic director respectively. Tee is a Hong Kong-based producer, who has had success at recent Asian Film Award events with Yu Hang Ho’s At the End of Daybreak and Edwin’s Postcards from the Zoo. Lim a New York-based film critic and programmer.

FINAS’ director general, Mohammed Nauguib Razak, will share the festival director’s chair with Tee. The market event, the overly long titled Kuala Lumpur Content & Communications International Market (KLCCIM) will run at the back end of the festival, 15-18 November.

Casting the net wider than film and TV, the market will be open to a broader range of content creators and their distributors with animation companies, app and game developers and music licensors also welcome. Malaysia has a rapidly-growing industry of app and game developers.

The market hopes to attract around 300 sellers, roughly split as 100 Malaysian, 100 other Asian, and the balance from the rest of the world – and around 400 buyers.

All of which adds up to a pretty large bill for the inaugural edition as participating companies are usually comped in early editions of such events, to enable organisers to boast decent attendance numbers and build interest for future years.

FINAS is planning other parts of the programme along familiar lines, playing it safer than last year’s inaugural market event ScreenSingapore. An accompanying conference programme and
project market will feature, as will masterclasses from filmmakers whose films are selected in the festival programme.

The market expects delegations from Australia, Japan, Singapore, Iran and India, with the signing of the in-train co-production agreement between Australia and Malaysia also possibly taking place at the event.

Although the market will clash with the annual American Film Market, the November positioning comfortably slips between Korea’s Asian Film Market in Busan (October) and the less market-focused CineAsia event in Hong Kong and ScreenSingapore, both of which run in December.

The announcements were made in Cannes, along with further promotion of Malaysia’s newly-introduced production incentive scheme. The scheme offers a 30% of in-country spend for international productions spending a minimum of RM5 million (cNZ$2 million) and local productions spending more than RM2.5 million.

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