Jakarta. Southeast Asian video on-demand streaming service HOOQ recently announced six TV series titles to be produced by its HOOQ Filmmakers Guild 2017.
The HOOQ Filmmakers Guild is an annual program designed to provide creative platforms for filmmakers in Asia to produce online TV series.
The competition allows directors, producers or scriptwriters to submit scripts and pitches for TV shows, with the top five receiving $30,000 to produce a pilot episode that will debut on HOOQ.
The best out of these five pilot episodes, decided by Hooq subscribers and a panel comprising top directors and actors in Southeast Asia, will be converted into a full series produced and debuted on HOOQ.
However, the company's chief executive Peter Bithos said in a statement released on Monday (06/11) that the competition will take a different approach this year.
"We have received great scripts this year. However, instead of choosing five titles, we will choose six, because we want to see these scripts get realized."
This year, Indonesian films "Aliansi" (“Alliance”) and "Heaven and Hell" placed in the finals along with "Bhak" (India), "Suay" (Thailand), "Haunt Me" and "How To Be A Good Girl," both from Singapore.
Aliansi is a unique comedy by Indonesian filmmaker Muttaqiena Imaamaa that follows the story of a bankrupt executive in Jakarta who gets a second chance when a mysterious billionaire approaches him to create an ad campaign that convinces people that aliens are real.
In contrast, Heaven & Hell, by Bobby Prabowo & Eric Tiwa, takes us to the mafia world in eastern Indonesia. When an inter-group war breaks out in Darmagu Batu, the protagonist's hometown, he thinks of leaving a cruel black world until he realizes the only way to protect his imprisoned father is to become a leader in the criminal world.
The winner from India, Bhak, is a colorful drama featuring two ambitious young filmmakers in the Bollywood film industry. Written by Arjun Chatterjee and Shreyom Ghosh from Big3 Media, the movie explores the theme of passion, betrayal and love.
Singapore's How To Be A Good Girl, by Abundant Productions, tells the story of a socialite and former prisoner Frances Lee, who tries to regain her life after a long time behind bars.
These projects were chosen from around 500 submissions received by HOOQ over a two-month period across Southeast Asia.
Jury Puttipong Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn said the submitted scripts consist of a variety of genres and styles. Drama, horror, supernatural and comedy dominate the lists, while science fiction and fantasy themes are in the fourth position.
"The number of submissions was far more than what any of us were expecting."
Mouly Surya, director of "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts," also said that she was amazed by the quality of the submissions.
"I was deeply amazed by the quality of the submissions, so much so that it made judging really difficult," she said. "It was an affirmation to me that Asia truly has immense talent when it comes to filmmaking."
Judge and actor Nicholas Saputra echoed Mouly’s opinion.
"Not only were their submissions for the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild fantastic, they are so energetic, creative and bursting with ideas and serve as a reminder to all filmmakers to never lose that spark inside of us."
Philippine filmmaker, veteran figure and judge Erik Matti said his assessment is based on the relevance and attractiveness of the audiences in Asia and scripts that reveal Asian culture from unique and original perspectives.
"The submissions took screen-craft to another level. The level of detail and the amalgamation of brave ideas, Asian culture and stunning creativity brought out some of the most amazing submissions I have ever seen."
Millions of viewers across Southeast Asia are now waiting for the finalist scripts to be developed for the big screen. The first six episodes will air on HOOQ early next year, where the best episode will be made into a full TV series.
"HOOQ has always been the biggest supporter of the Asian film industry. Our 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 best judges in the Asian film industry," Peter added.