SINGAPORE – The Singapore Media Festival (SMF) this year will see the launch of a programme that supports aspiring comic writers and a new Festival Village with open-air film screenings for the public.

In the new scheme to help writers of comic books, writers will be matched with Singapore and regional publishing houses Asiapac Books, Shogakukan Asia and Vividthree + Darkbox Studio.

The SMF’s Work In Progress plan aims to help local and regional comic writers, according to a statement from the hosts of the SMF, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

SMF 2019 will also introduce a new Festival Village at Armenian Street. An open-air theatre will screen films such as Japanese film-maker Naoko Ogigami’s Rent-a-Cat (2012) for members of the public. There will also be workshops, virtual-reality showcases, talks and masterclasses over two weekends.

The festival is one of Asia’s leading media events, bringing together professionals in the film, television and digital media industries. It takes place from Nov 21 to Dec 8. The event includes the Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) and Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF).

To mark the 30th edition of the film festival, SGIFF has commissioned three short films by Southeast Asian film-makers on the theme of”celebration”.

These are from Yeo Siew Hua (Singapore), Mouly Surya (Indonesia) and Anucha Boonyawatana (Thailand).

Yeo’s short film Incantation explores ancient spells, spirits and the idea of resurrection during the Hungry Ghost Festival. Surya’s Something Old, New, Borrowed And Blue uses wry humour to look at gender roles in the interactions between a mother and a bride at a traditional wedding procession. Anucha’s Not A Time to Celebrate is a lighthearted take on the rewards and harsh reality of film-making.

The films will premiere at the festival’s opening night on November 21.

SGIFF Executive Director Yuni Hadi said in a statement: “SGIFF is committed to providing a platform for the diverse voices of Southeast Asia to be heard through film. A key anchor of our 30th anniversary celebrations, this commission series is both a gesture by the Festival to enable film-makers to experiment and grow the regional scene, and an avenue to introducing the texture of life in Southeast Asia to the wider audience.”

The 30th SGIFF runs from November 21 to December 1. The full line-up and ticketing details will be announced on Oct 22.

For more details, go to www.sgmediafestival.com.