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Film-Makers Embrace Tokyo Market’s Gap Financing Initiative

Film-Makers Embrace Tokyo Market’s Gap Financing Initiative

The Tokyo Gap-Financing Market, operating for the first time this year as part of TIFFCOM, has given hope to some filmmakers who are struggling to fund their projects. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many normal financing channels.

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The TGFM enables producers to meet potential investors, sales agents and post-production outfits over a three-day period (Nov. 4-6). Some 20 projects were selected to participate, from 87 applications received. They include 14 feature- projects (ten live action, four animation) and six TV series projects (three fiction, three animation). They hail from 14 territories and already have an average of 66% of their budget in place, according to TIFCOM.

Royston Tan’s “24,” is the Singaporean director’s sixth film. It revolves around the afterlife journey of a sound recordist, who visits 24 places after his death. Tan is looking to raise 30% of the $200,000 budget.

“With the pandemic, we are unable to attend festivals and markets, which forces us to rethink and adapt how financing works,” Tan told Variety. With most film festivals and markets held online, forming connections with co-producers, investors and exhibitors has been more challenging. “But I’m glad that most festivals are finding ways to bridge this gap,” he said.

Charles Yeo, managing director of Vividthree Productions, the company behind TGFM-selected “Silent Horror: The Animation Series” by Jay Hong, is optimistic that demand for content remains intact. “Many platforms are exploring commissioning content with us,” Yeo told Variety. He said that investors are cautious, but that they are using platforms like TGFM to “explore other collaboration opportunities for the future.”

All the TGFM-selected projects have an Asian element, including those originated from outside the region. These include “Tin’s Firebots” from Russia’s Andrey Korenkov; feature animation “My Sunny Maad” (France, Czech Republic and Slovakia) by Michaela Pavlatova; and “Dogman” (Argentina, Peru) by Tamae Garateguy.

East Asia, however, accounts for the majority. They include Boi Kwong’s (“The Days”) new feature project “Passion of Shangri-La”; and Hong Kong TV series “Dragon of Destruction” by Wong Kwok-keung (“The Election,” “The Trading Floor”).

Written by Oli Coleman

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