SINGAPORE: The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has unveiled plans to inject S$55 million into the media industry to foster international co-productions and enhance local virtual production (VP) capabilities. The plans were announced by Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Tan Kiat How at the opening of the Asia TV Forum and Market (ATF), a part of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF).

A significant portion of the funding, S$30 million, will be dedicated to establishing the International Co-Production Fund. This fund aims to support Singaporean media companies collaborating with international partners to create high-quality drama series with a local flavour and international appeal. The goal is to bring Singaporean stories to a global audience through streaming platforms.

The fund is open to media companies in Singapore with a proven track record in long-form content production. Proposals for co-production projects that aim to create content appealing to local and global audiences are encouraged and can be submitted to IMDA by Jan 31, 2024.

The International Co-Production Fund complements overseas co-production initiatives and encourages collaboration between Singaporean and international talent in various creative roles, including producers, directors, and scriptwriters.

IMDA is also allocating an additional S$25 million to the Virtual Production Innovation Fund over the next three years. This fund, first introduced in December 2022 with a S$5 million tranche, aims to develop local virtual production talent to meet the industry’s increasing demand for virtual productions.

Efforts will be intensified by engaging overseas trainers to provide higher quality training, extending training to Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) lecturers, and introducing virtual production modules into existing media curricula. Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic will run virtual production curriculums starting in April 2024.

Local virtual production studio Aux Media Group (Aux) is set to collaborate with XON Studios, a South Korean pioneer in virtual production, to mentor local filmmakers in using VP for their storytelling.

The Virtual Production Innovation Fund has already shown success, with over 20 creative projects and over 300 media professionals gaining hands-on experience in virtual production. Past projects include Mediacorp’s use of VP in the Chinese drama series “Once Upon A New Year’s Eve” to recreate Singapore monuments and Refinery Media’s use of the technology in “Sleeping Beauty” to create a lush forest scene.

As the demand for virtual production continues to grow, IMDA aims to equip local media companies and talent with the necessary skills and resources to excel in this emerging technology. Local VP studios such as Oceanus Media Group and Aux are already investing in upgrading their studios. Nanyang Polytechnic is set to play a role in building local VP capabilities.