Viddsee is an online social watching platform for Southeast Asian short films just founded in January this year. A platform that aims to streamline the process of discovering, watching and sharing regional stories for a global online audience.
The Singapore startup is co-founded by filmmaker-engineers Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan. The duo is passionate about the marriage between art and technology and aims to grow the community of short film audience by enabling a wide and accessible market reach for short films.
There has been a rising trend of watching short films among the online community, fueled by indie filmmakers who are building their audience and distributing their films through online video platforms and social networks. The founders believe that short films are the new movies of the social web age. Closely integrated with Facebook, Viddsee leverages on Facebook as a distribution channel to create a seamless experience for users to discover short films. With a mix of curation and social discovery of content, Viddsee helps to surface relevant local content to users.
“We built Viddsee to create an accessible way for audience to watch the best local short films on their desktop or mobile devices,” said Jia Jian, co-founder of Viddsee. “While content is readily available over the Internet today, it’s still hard to find culturally contextual content from Singapore and around Southeast Asia. We hope to showcase a variety of uniques stories shot by Southeast Asian filmmakers, and to empower the audience to discover new content from their very own countries." - Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan[divide]
The Online Citizen gets to ask some questions with the two founders of this new Singapore startup.
Do local filmmakers contact you or vice versa?
Both ways actually. We are filmmakers ourselves and are connected to a number of filmmakers in the industry. The word of mouth then spreads and we recently opened a film submission programme to call for short films as well.
Why would people choose Viddsee and not Youtube to host videos?
We realized that Youtube at the end of the day is still a content hosting site. Uploading films on YouTube still required work to build an audience for the filmmakers. With YouTube, the audience is very mixed and we get many random people watching very different types of content. Hence, the discovery of quality content often is very hard. We wanted to build Viddsee from ground up to be a targeted platform for quality content and help and curate an audience for short films, short movies and with our platform, help filmmakers give them access to an audience when they showcase their films to.
In fact, we do not restrict filmmakers to only upload to our platform. We do have content where the filmmakers host their films on YouTube and use Viddsee as a platform to market and surface their films to a more relevant audience.
How many active users are there on your site?
We do not disclose our active users at this moment, but we have grown an audience of over 50K.
How do you support your website and the work that goes behind running this website?
Currently, we are funded by Spring's startup grant Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE). We do not have paid advertisement today.
What do you hope to achieve through your website? Any social improvement you wish to achieve through your website?
We hope to build an audience of short films by making such films accessible. Also, we like to grow the awareness of local talents and their works. Some of the films carry great messages with them about society and want to help the filmmakers spread their voice to a larger audience.
As you have showcased Pulau Ubin, showcasing the stories of islanders. We also have films like Existence, Window of Dreams and Beyond Borders that explore migrant workers in Singapore. Another short film, In Our Own Words, explores young kidney patients and breaks the traditional perception of who kidney patients are.
Do you see your website as fully matured or there are some other tweaking to be made on the site? Any future plans on the website?
No, there's definitely a lot more for us to constantly improve on. We launched what we called a minimum viable product to test the market's appetite for short films. A mobile optimized web app will be coming soon and much more.[divide]
Here are some of the testimonials from filmmakers and film festivals that Viddsee worked with previously:
Kelvin Sng, Director of The GANG, says,
“Viddsee is a new platform for short films, and having my film on it is also a way of showing my support to it”, said Director Kelvin Sng on the collaboration with Viddsee. “I was actually planning to release THE GANG on DVD together with another mid-length film that I executive-produced called STEADFAST (2010). But, I decided to share it through Viddsee to thank everyone with THE GANG made available for viewing free of charge to all.”
The organisers of Singapore Short Film Awards (SSFA), Aishah Abu Bakar and Leong Puiyee, jointly comments,
"The Singapore Short Film Awards is happy to be collaborating with Viddsee on a digital platform to showcase some of the nominated films from the past editions of SSFA. Audience are now able to re-watch some of the best Singapore short films from the SSFA through Viddsee. Watching films online is now the norm and we are able to reach out to international audiences as well through our collaboration with Viddsee."
Here are some of the favorites from Singapore on Viddsee:
1) Hentak Kaki (Singapore) – Explores how an injury forces a full time army officer to review his career options.
2) The Gang (Singapore) – A violent portrayal of life in Singapore, when secret societies were rampant.
3) A Cloudy Conundrum (Singapore) - A fantasy animation about a city of creatures living in the clouds
4) 3 Days Grace (Singapore) - A gripping story of how a son takes care of his abusive father
Audience can login to Viddsee at www.viddsee.com to watch over 100 short films from Southeast Asia, free of charge.