9 December 2020
ATF CHINESE PITCH 2020 WINNERS ANNOUNCED
By Priscilla Hendriks
Winners of the ATF Chinese Pitch 2020 were announced after a series of exciting pitches held over Zoom. Although this year was a little different – in that the pitches took place virtually – spirits were not dampened, with finalists vying to pitch their way to victory.
This year saw nine finalists competing under three categories – Online Drama Series, Theatrical/ Online Movies and those that qualified under the Chinese Scriptwriting Course. They delivered their pitches to a panel of household names such as Guo Jingyu, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of G.H.Y. Culture & Media, Chen Xiao, Senior Vice President at iQIYI, Xu Xiaodan, Professor at the Beijing Film Academy and Xiao Ji Xiang Tian, Scriptwriter at G.H.Y. Culture & Media.
Specially curated for all Chinese scriptwriters, it is the third year that ATF is hosting the ATF Chinese Pitch alongside global partner G.H.Y Culture & Media, which provides a platform for talents from Southeast Asia to expand into Mandarin-speaking territories and reach out to a more diversified audience. The winners, judged by various rubrics, each received a cash prize of S$3,500.
Winners of the online drama series award, Yeoh Chooi Keen and Liew Mei Ying, impressed the judges with
《七天》. This year marks the third year that they have been in the running for the award, and they have entered with more confidence.
Online Drama Series Award winner -- Yeoh Chooi Keen & Liew Mei Ying, impressed the judges with 《七天》
“When I first participated in the ATF Chinese Pitch, I was pretty new to scriptwriting. I’m grateful that the competition is very structured, and I feel that this platform provides an opportunity for scriptwriters like myself to express ourselves freely and showcase our creativity,” shared Chooi Keen.
With the same aspirations, Chooi Keen hopes to see more of such opportunities for scriptwriters to present their work on a global stage as well.
Sookee Sim, from Malaysia, brought home the Theatrical/ Online Movies award for 《绑架案》. The concept highlights the social issues arising from a father becoming a kidnapper in order to raise funds for his daughter’s medical fees.
Theatrical Online Movie Award winner for 《绑架案》 by Sookee Sim from Malaysia
“How sure are we really, about our judgements and opinions surrounding social issues? I wanted to use this mindset to write a script that revolved around social issues.”
Echoing the same thoughts as Chooi Keen, Sookee hopes that there will be more platforms for scriptwriters to showcase their works. “The Chinese movie industry is abundant with many young and outstanding scriptwriters that have yet to be discovered.”
Pang Mee Mee bagged the award for the Chinese Scriptwriting Course category with 《茹茹的全家福》, a story which revolves around kinship, and a girl who goes through hardship. Interestingly, this is the second time that Mee Mee has entered the finals. In 2019, she also submitted an online drama script, and although she did not emerge victorious, she did take away a piece of advice given by Xiao Ji Xiang Tian, Scriptwriter, G.H.Y. Culture & Media, who shared that scriptwriting required a different set of skills, as compared to writing a novel.
Chinese Scriptwriting Course Category Award winner with 《茹茹的全家福》 by Pang Mee Mee
In her quest to learn the difference between both, Mee Mee participated in the scriptwriting course that was organised by G.H.Y. Culture & Media, and it was there that she gained experience and the confidence to participate in the ATF Chinese Pitch.
“Moving forward, I hope that the industry will provide people like myself – coming in with little to no experience – more opportunities.”
One of the contenders for the Chinese Scriptwriting Course this year included Ngee Ann Polytechnic student, Chow Kah Meng for 《避难所》, who found her inspiration from movies such as “Nobody Knows” and “Memories of Matsuko”.
“I tend to end up procrastinating if there isn’t anyone to push me into completing the scriptwriting. Taking part in this competition ensured that I would get it done.”