Singapore Web Series Sweeps Awards in Hollywood
PRESS RELEASE: 5th April 2015, Los Angeles, Hollywood
Singapore based production company, BananaMana Films, garnered five prestigious awards at Los Angeles Web Festival 2015. Nominated for 8 awards, the Singapore web series, “Perfect Girl Series”, had already put the island country on the map by being one of the few Asian series to be nominated at the oldest and largest web series festival in the world. That it received 8 nominations was already a boon for the young production company. Of the 8 nominations they were honoured with 5 wins:
- Outstanding Writing
- Outstanding Directing
- Outstanding Editing
- Outstanding Drama Series
- Outstanding Lead Actress
Awards Night in Hollywood
The awards night was held at the Hilton Universal, Hollywood with attendance of hundreds of competing web series makers from all over the world. The humble ‘web series’, a rare phenomenon in the past but in recent years, due in part to festivals like LA Webfest, has grown to literally thousands online and has become the new launching pad for discovery of talent from actors to writers to directors. More recently, TV pilots, TV series and films have been launched from web series which have piqued the interest of producers particularly in Hollywood. In Canada there is government funding for the development and production of digital series which demonstrates that content is king no matter what platform it sits on. Yahoo, AOL, Youku and Vimeo have funded web series so far and there’s a growing list of platforms that are interested in following their lead – realising that viewers nowadays are platform agnostic.
The Power of Web Series
This wasn’t the first award for BananaMana Films whose very first web series “What Do Men Want?” was awarded in 2014 for “Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series” at LA WebFest. Initially commissioned as a web series for the online platform Toggle (in Singapore) the commissioning editor of Toggle saw its potential as a TV series and asked for it to be re-developed into a 13 x half hour TV series just 2 weeks before start of production. This paid off as it was subsequently acquired by Singapore’s national broadcaster, Mediacorp Ch5, and aired as a fully fledged TV drama in 2014. This inspired BananaMana Films to use the web as a launching pad for their next project “Perfect Girl Series”. Their focus in the web space paid off with “Perfect Girl Series” being honoured with the ‘Best International Series’ award at Atlanta Web Fest 2014 and nominated against some of Hollywood’s giants (AOL, Legendary Pictures) at Vancouver Web Festival 2015.
“What’s exciting about web series is that there are no rules – no one tells you how long it has to be, where the commercial breaks are, or whether it’ll work commercially… you come up with an idea, write something in the corner your room, show the script to a few people and then go and make it! We did just that and 6 months later we started getting nominations and awards from all over the world. That’s really empowering!”
Jason Chan (Co-founder BananaMana Films)
“It was surreal to be in a ballroom of hundreds of incredibly talented web series makers from all over the world. We met filmmakers from Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada, US, Australia and more. To then get honoured with these awards was incredibly humbling. By the time we were called up for our 5th award we really didn’t know what to say – we didn’t really expect to win so many! It’s a great example of how stories really can travel beyond our borders and that it isn’t always about budget – believe me – Perfect Girl was made on a micro micro budget!”
Christian Lee (Co-founder BananaMana Films)
Both Jason and Christian were also invited to speak on two panels at LA Webfest – sharing their expertise in the web series arena: from finding funding, to writing, directing and also acting in their own series. The panels were a great opportunity for web series makers from all over the world to meet and share stories but also for many aspiring filmmakers in the audience to learn about the process from ground up.
“LA Webfest was an amazing experience for us. Having that sort of recognition in that town (Hollywood) really has opened a lot of doors. We have production companies from the US calling to develop co-productions and media agencies contacting us for sponsorship opportunities. It’s clear now that making something good is a great first step but then you have to get it out there, get it seen and hopefully acknowledged in a big way.”
Jason Chan (Co-founder BananaMana Films)