8 December 2021
Compelling Storylines Pitched at 2021’s Chinese Pitch @ATF
By Lulu M
When Chan Pui Yin, Director of Production & Distribution at G.H.Y Culture & Media, announced for the first time on December 1, 2021 – during ATF’s in-person conference at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore – that some of the finalists of 2020’s ATF Chinese Pitch were in the running of having their projects on the table for possible production, it drove home the message that the ATF Chinese Pitch, sponsored by G.H.Y. Culture & Media, is not a mere activity notch ATF plays out every year.
(This exclusive session by Chan Pui Yin is available on ATF’s Online+. Find out more about G.H.Y Culture & Media’s programming plans for 2022)
With real opportunities in the game, there was even more focus on what the judges thought, and who might be holding on to that script that could be the next global hit.
On December 7, 2021, the finalists of the ATF Chinese Pitch, went live with returning judges via Zoom.
From Singapore to Hong Kong to Malaysia and the Philippines, finalists this year pitching Drama Series and Movies were:
DRAMA: Finalist Nominations
•《再给他一次犯罪机会》 by Yeoh Chooi Keen & Liew Mei Ying (Malaysia)
•《吞噬》 by Chow Kah Meng (Singapore)
•《这是什么鬼？》 by Jojo Teh (Singapore)
MOVIES: Finalist Nominations
•《慕娘列车》 by Nova Goh (Malaysia)
•《谁主真相》 by Shengfa Liang (Hong Kong)
•《半月姐妹》 by Wilfredo Manalang (Philippines)
During the 3-hour long closed-door pitch, in-depth conversations filled each session, as writing strength, casting issues, and storylines were deliberated on. This year’s submissions offered fascinating stories with provoking scene settings, from an AI prison, to the clash of faith, love, and necessity.
Guo Jing Yu
Executive Chairman & Group CEO
G.H.Y Culture & Media
In the drama segment, Chow Kah Meng’s 《吞噬》 received a thumbs up on the drama’s concept of cyber bullying and greed, “as these are topics that resonate, especially with the younger audience”. The judges, noted that while the suspense element and plot prediction could be ramped up, the “ambitious 3-parter concept” was a great idea.
For Jojo Teh's 《这是什么鬼？》, which is a comedy ghost story, the judges took a shine to this project, and were excited to contribute on how it could be even better.
Yeoh Chooi Keen and Liew Mei Ying’s 《再给他一次犯罪机会》 gave the judges reason to take more time to ponder on the specifics of the storyline and its plausibility. Since the scenario of this drama is set in the future, the judges noted that it needed to set a context on this version of the future to provide more clarity to the flow of storytelling.
In the end, the judges decided 《再给他一次犯罪机会》 had that additional leg up on the rest and voted this project as winner in the online drama category.
In the movie category, Nova Goh’s 《慕娘列车》, which tells the tale of an 80-year-old granny, who longed to see her long lost first love, as her life nears the end, received several suggestions from the judges, including strengthening specific elements of the story. The judges also pondered on the fact that an artistic romance movie may not do well on commercial platforms. However, the biggest issue the judges felt, laid in the casting aspect, where finding someone for the role of the 80-year-old granny would be critical to the movie.
Shengfa Liang’s 《谁主真相》 received commends on the narration style and design of the characters. However, the judges remarked that the direction of the writing could be improved. Finally, from the Philippines, Wilfredo Manalang’s 《半月姐妹》, which tells the tale of a Filipino-Chinese girl going back to China to meet her grandpa, had the judges contemplate on the genre positioning (romcom or not to romcom?). As well, the judges also contributed their opinions on how to improve the project in terms of script and length/tempo of the story.
Tough as it was after being emotionally involved in each story, the judges decided that they had no choice but to have 2 winners this year: Shengfa Liang’s 《谁主真相》 and Nova Goh’s 《慕娘列车》.
Closing the session, G.H.Y Culture & Media’s Executive Chairman & Group CEO, Guo Jing Yu, noted that the quality of submissions was a lot better than those received in 2020. He noted that he could feel the passion of the finalists and looked forward to collaborating with the local industries to nurture local talents.
Congratulations to all finalists and winners!