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Indian filmmaker among 6 selected for Hooq

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MUMBAI: Hooq Filmmakers Guild has turned six filmmakers’ ideas into reality. Hooq has announced six titles for pilot development from its inaugural Hooq Filmmakers Guild 2017. The Guild, launched in June 2017, is an annual initiative designed to seek out film talents in Asia that have great ideas but lack the opportunity to turn these ideas into reality. It claims to be one of the top VOD service in Southeast Asia.

The 2017 selections are Bhak (India), Suay (Thailand), Haunt Me (Singapore), How To Be A Good Girl (Singapore), Aliansi (Indonesia) and Heaven and Hell (Indonesia).  The six were selected from 500 submissions received by Hooq over a 2-month period from all over the region.

The top ideas will get $30,000 to produce a pilot episode for the platform. Hooq subscribers and judges will vote for their best choice which will be converted into a full series.

Hooq CEO Peter Bithos said, “Hooq has always been a big supporter of the Asian film industry.  The Hooq Filmmakers Guild was designed with this aim in mind and focuses on developing the next generation of Asian film talents by providing them with the opportunity to showcase their ideas and develop their skills through connecting with the Guild’s judges who are the crème de la crème of the Asian film business.” He further added, “We are so excited to announce the six pilots that we have selected to be produced.  There were so many great ideas to select from so we decided to produce six pilots instead of the five that we had intended.  We look forward to the completed pilots and hope that everyone will get Hooq’d on them.

Judge Puttipong Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn commented, “The number of submissions was far more than what any of us were expecting”.  The submissions spanned a range of genres and styles, from science fiction to supernatural and even historical dramas.  The dominant genres submitted were drama, horror/supernatural and comedy, with science fiction and fantasy a close fourth.

“I was deeply amazed by the quality of the submissions, so much so that it made judging really difficult!” said judge Mouly Surya, director of ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’.  “It was affirmation to me that Asia truly has immense talent when it comes to filmmaking.”

This sentiment was echoed by her fellow Indonesian judge, actor Nicholas Saputra. She said, “Not only were their submissions for the Hooq Filmmakers Guild fantastic, they are so energetic, creative and bursting with ideas and serves as a reminder to all seasoned filmmakers to never lose that spark inside of us.”

Judging was based on the relevance and potential appeal to Asian audiences, demonstrable creativity in storytelling and most of all, a well told Asian story with an original point of view. 

India’s winning entry, ‘Bhak,’ is a colourful dramedy that follows the adventures of two ambitious young filmmakers in the Bollywood film industry.  Written by Arjun Chatterjee and Shreyom Ghosh from Big3 Media, it explores themes of passion, betrayal and love.

‘Suay,’ a Thai crime thriller by Marcelo von Schwartz, follows the story of ladyboy go-go dancer Lola, who receives a cut-off ear belonging to her best friend and mentor, Carly.  She is then forced to draw upon her past identity as a tough male private detective and descend into the underbelly of Bangkok.

Supernatural drama ‘Haunt Me,’ by Oman Dhas and Goh Ming Siu from Third Floor Pictures, follows the story of Kwong, a widower, who after his father’s death, moves into his family ancestral home and discovers his family's secret sacred destiny; guiding lost souls to the other side.

The other Singaporean entry, ‘How To Be A Good Girl,’ comes from Abundant Productions and follows former socialite turned ex-convict, Frances Lee, who is looking to reclaim her life after time behind bars.

The Indonesian winning entries reflect two ends of the genre spectrum. ‘Aliansi’ is an offbeat comedy by Muttaqiena Imaamaa.  It follows the story of a down-and-out Jakarta-based creative executive, who gets a chance to start over when a mysterious millionaire approaches him to create advertising campaigns – to convince the public that aliens are real.

By contrast, Bobby Prabowo & Eric Tiwa’s ‘Heaven and Hell,’ takes us into the world of the Eastern Indonesia mafia.  When a gang war about to break out in Darmaga Batu, his adoptive hometown, Chris contemplates leaving the violent world of crime, until he realises, the only way he can protect his jailed father, is by becoming the head of the crime world.

Thai Hooq Filmmakers Guild judge Wasin Pokpong said, “I am very happy that Hooq launched the Hooq Filmmakers Guild this year because it has become a platform for aspiring filmmakers who were lacking resources to finally be able to bring their ideas to life. Sometimes, all it takes is a little boost to make dreams come true.”

Millions of viewers across the region are now keeping their eyes peeled as these six titles make the transition from a good idea to great stories.

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