HOOQ selects 10 new titles for pilot development

Singapore-based streaming service HOOQ has selected ten new Indian and Southeast Asian titles for pilot development through its Filmmakers Guild initiative.

The ten projects – from India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand (see details below) – were shortlisted following a pan-regional script competition and will receive up to $30,000 to develop a pilot episode. Among these, five projects will be selected to produce a full pilot, and the best project among the final five will be produced into a full series to be streamed on HOOQ.

The winning project will be decided by HOOQ subscribers and a panel of film talents, with judging based on the project’s relevance and potential appeal to Asian audiences and creativity in storytelling.

Judges include Thai director Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter), Indonesian filmmaker Mouly Surya (Marlina The Murderer In Four Acts), Filipinio actress Agot Isidro and editor Manet Dayrit, also from the Philippines.

HOOQ launched Filmmakers Guild last year and produced pilots including Bhak (pictured), about two aspiring Bollywood filmmakers, which was written by India’s Arjun Chatterjee and Shreyom Ghosh from Big3 Media.

HOOQ chief content officer Jennifer Batty said: “As a big supporter of the local film industry, HOOQ Filmmakers Guild was set up with the aim of developing the next generation of Asian film talents by providing them with the opportunity to showcase their craft through mentorship and guidance from the Guild’s renowned panel of judges.”

Launched in 2015 by Singtel, Sony and Warner Bros, HOOQ currently operates in the Philippines, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Singapore.

The ten selected projects are:

Shunya (Zero) (India)

India’s selected entry by Sidhant Chowdhry and Prashansa Sharma from Daku Productions is an India-set comedy about two frustrated cynics who start a fraud ashram that accidentally ends up providing life-changing experiences.

Klenix (Indonesia)

Indonesia’s selection from Elvin Kustaman of Yoodeo is a supernatural drama about an IT genius who accidentally invents an app which allows users to see ghosts. He decides to turn it into a business but underestimates the supernatural and societal opposition to his innovation.

The Headscarf (Indonesia)

This Indonesia coming-of-age dramedy by Taqarrabie, Khalid Kashogi, Agasyah Karim and Pasha Yudadibrata follows the decidedly irreligious Emma as she receives an ultimatum from her born-again Muslim father: don a headscarf or be disowned.

The Loser Minister (Indonesia)

The third Indonesian selection is a comedy series by Nadia Vetta. When Indonesia’s Minister of Communications blocks her favourite blogging platform, a social media celebrity unleashes a video rant that goes viral. What she doesn’t expect is to then be appointed as the new Minister of Communications.

Babi! (Malaysia)

Malaysia’s entry by Roger Liew, June Wong and Shaiful Yahya of Ava Visuals is a political drama-comedy about a scandal-ridden politician who decides to quit politics and seek redemption with his family and the public – by starting a food truck selling salted egg nasi lemak.

Per Kilo (Philippines)

Created by the team of Dustin Edward Celestino, Remton Siega Zuasola and Abigail Lazaro from Make Waves Pictures, this tropical noir is about an unlikely duo who rescue a child from an international paedophile ring only to find themselves in the crosshairs of the local kingpin.

Queen Of Crowns (Singapore)

This Singaporean entry by Ric Aw and Ong Yuqi from The Creative Room is a dramatic comedy about a Filipino domestic helper obsessed with becoming a beauty queen.

She’s A Terrorist And I Love Her (Singapore)

The second Singaporean entry is Luff Media’s comedy about a down-and-out man in need of cash who finds himself sham-married to a terrorist hell-bent on blowing herself up in a terror attack on Singapore.

Lucky Girl (Thailand)

Thailand’s first selection is a crime drama by Issaraporn Kuntisuk and Chuenjai Studio, a dark tale about a young woman who discovers that death brings her luck and she has the power to change fate and destiny, as long as she is prepared to kill for it.

Split Second (Thailand)  

The second Thai entry is an action comedy by Dorsakun Srichoo, which follows the adventures of an amnesiac Likay (Thai folk music) troupe clown who finds himself an unlikely hero when he saves a damsel in distress from an assassin during a performance.