HOOQ Filmmakers Guild announces final pilots and additional 5 wildcards
HOOQ – the largest Video on Demand service in South-East Asia, has announced six titles for pilot development from its inaugural HOOQ Filmmakers Guild 2017. The confirmed 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 some 500 submissions received by HOOQ over a two-month period from all over South East Asia.
The six entries that have been earmarked for pilots span a range of genres.
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 sprectrum. 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 realizes, the only way he can protect his jailed father, is by becoming the head of the crime world.
HOOQ has also selected five more submissions for script development. The selections are Crazy in Love (Indonesia), Golden Star (Philippines), Merit Score (Thailand), ReLie (Thailand) and Trips (Singapore).
While these submissions are not ready to be developed into pilots, they hold enough merit and potential to become compelling stories that will appeal to audiences around South-East Asia. HOOQ is investing in the potential of these ideas by developing them into scripts.
“The HOOQ Filmmakers Guild has really highlighted the immense talent out in Asia and the selection process for the top six pilots announced earlier was not an easy task. The fact that we could pick out five more brilliant ideas on top of the six we already chose for pilot development means this region is a hot bed for creative talent. We are excited and committed to developing these talents and helping them turn their vision into your next favorite series!” Said Peter Bithos, Chief Executive Officer of HOOQ.
The five submissions bookmarked for script development are as follows:
Merit Score by Lit Samajarn from Thailand follows the story of 25-year-old entertainment diva and mean queen Nadia, who meets an untimely end in a movie accident. Determined to do whatever it takes to get into Heaven, she has to improve her meagre merit score, secure enough brownie points and karma in the next 30 days.
The other Thai submission is ReLie by Nirattisai Ratphithak. This thriller revolves around a wildly popular mobile game app that becomes all too real for a group of university students when the players begin dying one by one. To stop the deaths, they need to figure out who the murderer is, but doing so leads them to face the unexpected truth that is much bigger than what they would ever imagine.
From Singaporean Xavier Ong comes Trips, about a down-on-his-luck model who joins a host club so he can earn enough money to marry his girlfriend. However, he soon finds himself being drawn deeper and deeper into a world where love and money are nebulously entwined and the only way to survive, is to lose yourself.
The Philippines is represented by Jed Cyril Punongbayan of We Love Motion Inc. under Go Motion Productions. He created Golden Star, the story of a 48-year-old mother of three who tries to secure a better future for herself and her family by entering the tricky world of show business.
Finally, Indonesia’s Mahakarya Pictures and Aditya Testarossa present Crazy In Love, an offbeat romance about plain jane Kinanti, who gets a peculiar gift from a mysterious stranger – a lip colour that will make fall in love with her through a single kiss. When Aaron, a famous celebrity, accidently kisses her, Kinanti’s destiny changes completely.
The HOOQ Filmmakers Guild drew nearly 500 submissions for original content from across the region. 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.
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, “Not only were their submissions for the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild fantastic,” he said, “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.”
Judge Erik Matti, an award-winning veteran in the Filipino film industry, was impressed by the entries, “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.”
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