The 2019 slate of Viddsee Originals comprises of 11 short films, five documentary series and seven fictional series, which was kicked off in February with the debut of ‘Unscripted Man’, a four-episode co-production with Indonesia-based Telkomsel, and available on its streaming service MAXstream.
“Viddsee Originals extends our capabilities as a platform to produce content at scale, leveraging on the relationships built with filmmakers, audience engagement activities, and insights gathered from promoting thousands of premium short films across the region,” said Derek Tan, co-founder and chief commercial officer.
Twenty-one new Viddsee Originals titles, produced with the support of the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), will be released on Viddsee next. They include the 10-film anthology ‘Scene City’ (premiering in June), five Viddsee Voices social documentaries (July), and six original series in the genres of thrillers, romantic dramas and comedies (July).
Among the confirmed filmmakers are those who worked on Viddsee Originals before — Daniel Yam, JD Chua, Sabrina Poon, Christine Seow, Ng Yiqin, and Eileen Chong — and new collaborators Martin Hong, Lincoln Chia, Shaiful Reezal, Victor Gan, and Priscilla Goh.
This year will also see the premiere of ‘Oldies Buddies’, a short film directed by Rein Maychaelson and co-produced by Viddsee, through a production grant earned from winning the Gold award at Viddsee Juree Awards Indonesia 2018.
Larger topics, bolder stories
The themes in this line-up were developed using content and audience insights from Viddsee’s curated and original content on the platform.
The second year of short film anthology Scene City begins with ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, a short film by Chang Kei Hsiang, about a 75-year-old woman who repeatedly shoplifts with a hidden motive; and includes ‘A Song As Written for a Boy’, an animation by the award-winning Harry and Henry Zhuang about an aspiring musician who has to make a bold choice when her diary and notes are revealed to a boy she likes.
The second year of Viddsee Voices features titles like ‘Letters To God’ by Eileen Chong, which explores society’s relationship with spirituality, culture, and belief systems; and ‘Our Girls’ by Christine Seow, which takes us behind the scenes of a youth rehabilitation centre. The content slate ends with multi-episodic series that include ‘Soul Food’ by Priscilla Goh, which is centred around a private-hire chef-medium who makes meals for the living and dead; and coming-of-age love drama ‘Way Back When’ by Sabrina Poon.
“In creating a larger and more ambitious slate of content, we considered what resonated best with our audiences, while exploring bolder ideas that question conventional views. Furthermore, we wanted to tell stories that didn’t just serve as passive entertainment, but also inspire viewers to participate and engage,” said Kenny Tan, the head of Viddsee Studios, the production arm of Viddsee.
“Viddsee Originals serves a larger mission of empowering storytellers to create compelling films that entertains and engages, as well as providing filmmakers in Southeast Asia a platform to showcase their talents,” he added.
The 2018 slate of Viddsee Originals gained industry recognition: ‘Drive’ (directed by Don Aravind) was nominated in the Series Mania 2019 short form series competition that took place in Lille, France; ‘Run Chicken Run’ (Ellie Ngim) was in Singapore’s 2018 Programme Advisory Committees (PAC) Choice List; ‘Light by Bedside’ (JD Chua) won Best Web Film Shorts and ‘While You Sleep’ (Christine Seow) won Best Documentary in the Asia Web Awards 2018.