Viu is an over-the-top streaming platform available in 16 countries, with plenty of local content. (Photo courtesy of Viu Indonesia)

Over-the-Top Streaming Platform Viu Searches for Local Content


JANUARY 31, 2019

Jakarta. Viu Pitching Forum, a creation of streaming platform Viu, returns this year for Indonesian filmmakers to pitch their story ideas for a new web series. 

Viu is an over-the-top platform available in 16 countries, with a curated selection of local content. 

"Viu is unique compared to other OTT [over-the-top] platforms since it focuses on Asian and Middle Eastern content," Viu Indonesia senior vice president for marketing Myra Suraryo said at the Jakarta roadshow for the Viu Pitching Forum last Thursday (25/01). 

Their Viu Indonesia Originals, comprising both feature films and web series, have won recognition overseas.

Recently, they bagged six awards at the 2018 Asian Academy Creative Awards, including Best Drama Series for Monty Tiwa's "The Publicist" and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Michael Kho in "Kenapa Harus Bule?," a film by Andri Cung. 

"Our stories are local, produced by local talents, but have international appeal," Myra said. 

The pitching forum for Indonesia was launched last year to help young Indonesian filmmakers find distribution outside cinemas and television, and show their work to a global audience. 

So far, two 13-episode web series have already been produced out of the pitching forum.

The first was "Halustik," a horror-thriller released in September last year. Created by Sally Anom, the series follows the story of Kanti (Tara Basro), an ex-banker turn financial advisor who adds mystical twists to her advice for clients. 

The other series was "Knock Out Girl," a drama created by Reka Wijaya and released in December last year. It stars Pamela Bowie as the daughter of a boxing ring owner trying to help save the business from going bankrupt.

Viu is currently doing roadshows in 10 cities until Feb. 12 to promote the pitching forum. Aside from Jakarta, they will also visit Bandung (West Java), Yogyakarta, Surabaya (East Java), Medan (North Sumatra) and Manado (North Sulawesi), among others.

Applications are open to join this year’s pitching forum until Feb. 28. Filmmakers are required to submit a synopsis, character description and one-minute video that captures the "soul of the story." 

The pitching forum has slots for 12 finalists, who will be given the opportunity to join a six-day bootcamp in Jakarta. 

They will be mentored by a group of industry professionals – directors Sammaria Simanjuntak, Andri Cung and Pritagita Arianegara, and editor Aline Jusria. 

Myra said the bootcamp will "teach filmmakers to think about the business side [of creating content] because, if there’s no commercialization, then we won’t have a sustainable industry."

At the end of the bootcamp, the filmmakers will pitch their projects to Myra, Viu Indonesia head of content Aileen Leong, directors Nia Dinata and Lucky Kuswandi, producer Melissa Karim and judges from the Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ). 

Nia Dinata said any original ideas are welcome but they must have one thing in common: a universal appeal, since the winning series will be streamed to Viu users in 16 countries. 

"The story can be local, but the meaning has to be universal," Nia said. 

Viu will buy the rights to the winning project, and will bear costs for the production, distribution and promotion. It will also select and hire the crew for the production.

The originator(s) of the project will also be offered to join the production according to their expertise. It could be in screenwriting, directing or other aspects of the production. 

Further information on Viu Pitching Forum 2019 can be found on Viu’s Facebook page