SEAFIC Project Development Lab Hands Prizes to ‘Oasis of Now’ and ‘Amoeba’

Malaysian film project “Oasis of Now” was named as the winner of the $15,000 SEAFIC award at the end of the fourth edition of the Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab on Monday.

The project, to be directed by Chia Chee Sum and produced by Lee Yve Vonn, is the story of a Vietnamese housekeeper living a secret life in Kuala Lumpur.

“Our choice finally fell on a project with a strong subject against a background of social reality, and with its heart, the bonds of affection that are the basis of human relations and family. More than a script, it’s a project inhabited by a true cinematographic vision due to the treatment of the space and its visual and sound mise en scene,” said a three-person jury that included festival selectors Charles Tesson and Violeta Bava, and executive Winnie Lau.

The Open SEA Fund Award, which provides $25,000 of equipment rentals and post-production services, was awarded to Singaporean project “Amoeba” by director Siyou Tan, and producers Fran Borgia and Samantha Lee. It is the story of a 16-year-old girl who befriends three rebellious classmates. Together they try to form a gang in a country with no crime. “Amoeba” previously received the “Most Promising Project Award” at the recent Singapore Southeast Asian Film Lab.

In previous years, SEAFIC’s script and project development activity, matching first, second and third-time filmmakers with script consultants and international experts, was conducted at three residential meetings at different locations in Asia. These culminated in a closing event in Bangkok that combined final pitches of the projects, meetings with industry executives and workshops relating to screenwriting, producing and filmmaking in Asia.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, much of the eight-month 2020-21 SEAFIC program had to be held online. Prizes were announced on Monday evening Bangkok time after four days of seminars held virtually.

SEAFIC has received backing from institutions including the Purin Foundation, the Alliance Francaise, the Goethe Institute, the Japan Foundation, the Film Development Council of The Philippines and the Festival des 3 Continents’ Produire au Sud program. Due to sponsorship conditions as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the next edition will be slimmed down into a new concept, to be announced later.