Three Asian directors are having their documentary projects commissioned by three of the region’s public broadcasters through this year’s Asian Pitch.
The three projects are Shepherds of Paradise from India’s Raja Shabir Khan, The Bridle of Horse Fighter from South Korean director Park Hwan-Sung, and The Wild Buffalo Hunters from Malaysian director Mohammed Redhaudeen bin Hassan.
Japan’s NHK, Korea’s KBS and Singapore’s MediaCorp will fully fund the three projects and make them available internationally next summer.
Khan’s Shepherds of Paradise looks at the nomadic Bakerwals of Kashmir as they journey from Jammu to Kashmir Valley and back, while Hwan-Sung’s The Bridle of Horse Fighter examines the story of three Miao men from Guangxi Province who participate in the 600-year-old custom of horse fighting. Bin Hassan’s The Wild Buffalo Hunters, meanwhile, documents two men who engage in traditional hunting techniques to capture and hunt wild buffaloes.
The Asian Pitch, now in its fifth year, gives independent filmmakers that live and work in Asia the opportunity to pitch their documentary projects to the three public broadcasters. Approximately 100 proposals were submitted between January and April 2011 from countries including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Ten projects were short-listed, and the directors were flown to Singapore to pitch them to a panel of executive producers from NHK, MediaCorp, and KBS in late July.
“Documentary-making is not just a matter of expressing a subject; it’s also a journey of inner exploration for the director,” said NHK’s senior producer of international acquisitions and coproductions, Kenichi Imamura. “So we were looking for the passion and motivation of the directors toward the subject. Our three winners this year were all very passionate about their subject, so I’m quite confident that we will see another selection of wonderful programs about Asia.”
“When we took on this adventure with our partners, NHK and KBS, to seek original stories and talents from Asia, we knew that there were many waiting to be found and crafted creatively,” added MediaCorp’s senior vice president, Ong Hee Yah. “This year’s crop of directors confirms this once again, and we are more than delighted with what we discovered.”
KBS documentary department chief producer, Song Jae-Heon echoed the sentiment.”I believe the three selected projects for this year will be a big step forward for Asian documentaries among the world broadcasters,” he said.