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ATF kicks off; participation up 25 %

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SINGAPORE: The Asia Television Forum, Asia Film Market & Conference and the Asia Animation Conference got off to a flying start this morning in Singapore with the Singapore information, communication and arts minister Dr Lee Boon Yang announcing that participation had grown 25 per cent this year.

Dr Lee stated that the markets had attracted 80 new seller companies, and 50 new buyer companies. The total number of sellers at the market has grown to 250 and buyer countries represented from 25 to 29 countries, revealed Dr Lee.

Among the countries which have shown sharp increases include: Greece, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Qatar and Ukraine. The companies attending the market for the first time include: Mosfilm Cinema Concern, Kazakh Cinema Distribution, and Russico. All the major four Korean broadcasters including Educational Broadcasting System, Korea Broadcasting System, Munhwa Broadcasting Corp, and Seoul Broadcasting System have made it a point to attend for the first time.

The minister added that Singapore was working hard to emerge as a post production service providing hub to Hollywood and other countries wanting to dub or subtitle and distribute to Asia. He pointed out that a beginning had been made and that Singapore has a long way to go but the effort will continue in the form of financing funds from the Media Development Authority, and other government institutions. "Media is one of our core focus areas," he said.

He also announced that Oak3 Films will be coproducing a telemovie for German broadcaster ARD which will be distributed by Beta Films globally. Another Singapore company Sitting in Pictures is developing a nine part series with Fremantle International Distribution. Dr Boon Yang also said that the MDA has collaborated with Singapore talent management and executive production company RGM Holdings to set up a loan guarantee facility. The loan facility will be used to partially finance at least six international films worth Singapore $80 million over the next two years.

His most important announcement was that Singapore's media industry secured coproduction deals worth $50 million at Mipcom 2006

Additionally, he said that the his ministry had identified interactive and digital media sector as a key engine of growth and that a fund of upto S$ 500 million had been kept aside to catalyse the same.

Among the companies which are exhibiting at ATF and the AFM include: Sony Entertainment Television, Sahara One, Zee TV, Eros Multimedia, UFO Movies, Indian Television Dot Com, to name a few.

The highlight from the Indian perspective is the Indian animation conference which is to be chaired by Ashish Kulkarni with participation from Munjal Shroff, P Jayakumar, Rajesh Turakhia, Sudhish Rambothia. SET CEO Kunal Dasgupta is slated to give the welcome address and function as the co-chair.

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