It produces content as movies, TV and web series, telemovies, commercial short films and formats. Mm2 Entertainment is Singapore’s leading private sector media entertainment and content company, with regional offices in Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and the U.S.
“The demand for quality online Chinese content continues to grow exponentially. We aim to build a platform that is dedicated to providing short video clips with high production values that appeal strongly to our regional audiences,” said mm2 Asia group CEO, Chang Long Jong.” />
It will focus on Chinese-language short form video and launch from April 2020. Singapore media conglomerate mm2 Entertainment is to launch streaming service mPlay Asia.
“By leveraging mm2’s regional production capabilities, as well as the company’s extensive experience serving the region’s audience base, mPlay aims to produce and deliver content that celebrates the richness and diversity of people in (Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong), and introduce the mm2 brand of entertainment to a new generation of cord-cutters,” the company said in a statement.
It is intended to work across platforms including mobile, desktop, tablet and smart-tv. Most content will be optimized for mobile and delivered in the 3-5 minute format, though live streaming of events is also a possibility. M Play will be free to use and supported by advertising.
At launch, mPlay will focus on four key Chinese-speaking markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong – with an addressable audience size of over 40 million. The target audience is young urban professionals.
Mm2 did not disclose the amount of content available at launch, but said that new material would be uploaded weekly. “We work very much collaboratively with local production houses for all our content, and this will be no different,” a company spokesman told Variety. All content will be professionally-generated and produced by mm2 or its partners.

Best SE Asian Short Film
Takashi Miike
"Singapore is making some very amazing films," said Chen. "But Singapore cinema cannot be sustainable if audiences don't go and see them."
Special Mention (short film)
“Scales” (aka “Sayidat Al Bahr”), directed by Saudi Arabian first-time filmmaker, Shahad Ameen, was named as the best film in the Asian feature competition at the 30th edition of the Singapore International Film Festival.
Southeast Asian Film Lab – Most Promising Project
Best Director (short film)
The competition jury was headed by India’s Anurag Kashyap, Malaysian movie producer, Amir Muhammad, veteran Hong Kong director and screenwriter Pang Ho-cheung, and Indonesian filmmaker Nia Dinata. The Southeast Asian Film Lab awards were decided by a panel that included Aditya Assarat, Teresa Kwong Lee Chatametikool.
Zaw Bo Bo Hein for “Sick”
Best Director
The tale of a young girl who defies her village’s harsh and chauvinistic traditions to prove her worth, collected the festival’s Silver Screen Award on Saturday at a ceremony held in the National Museum of Singapore.
Best Performance
Shoki Lin “Adam” dir.
Special Mention
"Bing.Bong.Bang" by Kristin Parreno Barrameda
Yao Chen
“Passed by Censor” dir. Serhat Karaaslan
30th Singapore International Film Festival's Silver Screen Awards
“Amoeba” by Tan Siyou
Best Film
Southeast Asian Film Lab – Residency Award
Kristoffer King in “Verdict”
“I’m Not Your F***ing Stereotype” dir. Hesome Chemamah
Youth Jury and Critics’ Program – Young Critic Award
Youth Jury Prize (short film)
“Scales” (Sayidat Al Bahr) dir. Shahad Ameen
Honorary Award
 
"It took me six years to make this film, the way I wanted, as feminist as I wanted," Ameen said from the stage.
The festival is held at multiple venues cross Singapore and runs Nov. 1. 21 to Dec.
Lee Sze Wei.” />
Yao spiced up proceedings, with a throw-away comment: "recently I have been able to play several characters who found the strength to go after the love and sex that they wanted." The blue carpet event welcomed local figures Boo Junfeng, Royston Tan, and Tan Pin Pin, as well as film industry officials Joachim Ng, and Howie Lau. Chinese acting star Yao Chen ("Lost, Found," "Send Me to the Clouds") and Japanese director Miike Takashi were also present to pick up special awards.
Anthony Chen, whose film"Wet Season" opened the festival a week earlier, returned to Singapore having fitted in a round Asia trip that included the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, and the Filmex festival in Tokyo.
Best Singaporean Short Film
Oren Gerner for “Africa”
Cinema Icon Award
"Scales" recounts a story of a fishing village which believes that every family should sacrifice a daughter in order to appease sea monsters and guarantee a good catch. The 12 year-old girl is saved from ritual sacrifice by her father and, rather than live with the shame of being spared, sets out to slay some other monsters. The jury found it to be a “very original and strong film from a first-time filmmaker who speaks about patriarchy with the simplicity of a fable.”
Sreylin Meas “California Dreaming” dir.
“Sweet, Salty” dir. Duong Dieu Linh

What Asian shows are currently working?
It took us a few years before we started getting into original content in HBO Asia because we were nervous about language and how it all works. But then we did a couple of things in other languages and we discovered they have worked for us as well, if not better. We started producing principally in English originally with our first couple of series.
Is the recent unbundling/re-bundling, downloadable HBO GO app, and price cut strategy in Singapore to be followed elsewhere?
We are working with Singtel (another pay-TV operator), and Toggle (part of MediaCorp), which has great access to the Singapore market. But it also now means that we are able to offer our services to a wider public in Singapore. HBO GO is now also in the Apple and Google Play stores. The millions of people who have downloaded the Toggle app can now access HBO GO. We are still very pleased to be able to continue our relationship with StarHub and allow our existing customers at StarHub to benefit from all our HBO platforms, including HBO GO.
Is Mandarin-language production in Taiwan an ersatz Mainland China strategy?
This coming-of-age Chinese-language series worked well across all our markets. More recently, “Folklore” has generated hugely good reviews across different countries. The anthology horror series was in six different languages, with six different directors, about six different stories from across the region. We are taking this concept slightly further, as we will announce at FilMart. It was carried in the U.S., where it generated a lot of interest. The recent shows we’ve produced, like “The Teenage Psychic,” worked exceptionally well ratings-wise. And it has also been screened at various film festivals around the world.
How does a legacy pay-TV channels group respond to the digital transformation?
We are rolling out HBO GO across the region and we will be making more announcements soon. We have also gone to a realistic price, which we have always wished to do, and have reached a level we think is comparative against the market. We think that is positive. This essentially means that anybody in Singapore can access HBO GO any time that they want and pay for the service.
We have been working on getting all the necessary rights to be able to deliver that content across different platforms. Spink: The pay-TV business has been transforming digitally for many years. In our instance, that means the development of HBO GO and the ability to roll out content to a greater audience, and for it to be accessible pretty much anywhere by anybody. The issue now is the ease of access and the ability for customers to access your content anywhere. HBO, like other services and other companies, has been working hard on developing the ability to do this.
We are producing shows because Taiwan has a great history of television production and there are some great stories there. We are now talking about producing shows in Hong Kong. Same as in Indonesia. It just happens that these two or three shows have all come around at the same time, and it is just more coincidence rather than anything else.” />
And whether that is from America, Europe or other countries in Asia, it has been perfectly acceptable. Our shows produced in one country have worked very well in other countries, so we would expect that to continue. People like good content. What has happened in the last seven years has been our involvement in local production across Asia. Customers and viewers across Asia are used to watching programming with subtitles.
Producing shows in Taiwan that have worked in the Philippines and Malaysia, and producing shows in Indonesia that worked in Singapore and Thailand, has been very gratifying. We wish to produce more original content, as there are great opportunities and a lot of great stories in Asia. We have been enormously pleased with how the content has travelled.
We have always been known as an English-language channel, providing quality HBO original content and the best Hollywood has to offer. In HBO Asia’s 23-territory footprint, it is a bit of a misnomer to say we have to please and deliver something to each territory. Asian audiences are very happy to watch content produced in different countries. Localization has been a trend for many years and we recognize the significance and importance of locally produced programs.
Singapore has been an interesting case for us. We have been exclusive with StarHub for many years, but with their new strategy, they did not wish to continue on an exclusive basis.
He joins Variety on Monday in a keynote presentation at Hong Kong’s FilMart, and is expected to unveil an expanded slate of local productions. CEO of HBO Asia since 2003, Jonathan Spink has seen the growth of pay-TV in Asia, the moves towards content localization and original production, and has faced up to the challenge of internet-based streaming services.
“The Teenage Psychic” is a series that did not get carried in China, which has some restrictions on supernatural shows. The series was produced because we thought it was a great show — and it really is. We are producing in Taiwan because the language of Taiwan is largely Mandarin. It is an absolute benefit to us if our shows work in China. But we are not available to domestic households, so it is part of the China hotel strategy. China is one of our markets.
How does original content work at HBO Asia?
When localization has been the trend for the past five to 10 years, is a 23-territory Asia footprint a realistic business model?

Or because I could hear Michelle Yeoh’s subtle Malaysian accent juxtaposed with Constance Wu’s distinctly American one punctuated by Henry Golding’s polished British intonations. It was an emotional experience, not just because of how funny Ken Jeong and Awkwafina are every time either is on-screen. Instead, it was the singular portrayal of a very real issue many Asian-Americans encounter. I was overwhelmed at the sight of an Asian-American-centric story on the big screen for the first time in a generation. But nevertheless, about a third of the way through “Crazy Rich Asians,” I found myself tearing up — and I'm not part of Singapore's 1%.
Golding will co-star in the Paul Feig-directed “A Simple Favor,” alongside Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, out later this year. The film’s stars are already well on their way: Wu stars in the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” now headed into its fifth season.
In fact, it doesn’t even come close. There have been complaints that the film doesn’t represent the true diversity of Southeast Asia or Asia or the Asian-American experience. And they are absolutely right; it doesn’t.
And because of that, the hope is that it opens the door for more Asian stories — from across class and regional divides — to finally get the attention they deserve from Hollywood. "Crazy Rich Asians" has shown that Asian-American-centered stories can bring in domestic crowds.
It lets you budget your frustration, your disappointment, your anger. One instance stands out in particular, an executive who wrote to my former rep that he didn't feel the need to meet with me because "he already had someone Asian, thanks." Numbness, then, acts as a buffer. As an on-air host, I have felt that perhaps in an even more visceral way and have engaged that numbness to shield myself from when my ethnicity, coded as "my look," has been used an excuse to not consider me for a position.
But the broadness of “Crazy” doesn’t take away from the very specific experiences of being Asian-American and coming to terms with what that means when you are, quite literally, not in Kansas anymore — or in Rachel’s case, New York.
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You can probably guess the answer just by watching the trailer.
Because seeing your existence not just represented, but also acknowledged and understood is deeply moving when you’re only used to seeing shoddy, cheap facsimiles. Invisibility doesn't have a stinging effect as much as a numbing one; you get used to just not being there.
There is a moment between Rachel and Nick’s mother, Eleanor, where Eleanor says that no matter what, in the world of Singapore high society, Rachel will always be a foreigner. This singular aspect of the Asian-American experience — the one of straddling two cultures, always afraid that you will slip and fall into the crevasse in-between — is portrayed with stinging effect in the film.
When the excuse for not casting an Asian-American actor is because there’s not one bankable enough when Asian-Americans are hardly cast period, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle that only keeps it from happening. According to a study released by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, underrepresented groups have hardly seen any increased representation on the big screen in the past ten years; of the top 100 grossing films of 2017, 65 had no Asian or Asian-American female character. And a lack of representation has only contributed to the systematic racism that’s kept minority storytellers and performers from flourishing.
To paraphrase one actor I recently heard comment on this issue, when Hollywood says there isn’t an Asian actor big enough, it’s like a farmer saying that he doesn’t have any crops — Hollywood, you didn’t even plant the seeds.
Rachel soon discovers that her humble professor bae is a member of one of the wealthiest families in Southeast Asia. Based on the book by Kevin Kwan, “Crazy Rich Asians” centers on Chinese-American Rachel Chu (Wu), her boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), and the shenanigans that follow when Nick takes his beloved to his home country of Singapore for his best friend’s lavish summer wedding.
The richness and complexities of the Asian diaspora cannot be tackled and addressed in a rom-com that takes place in a country that’s two-thirds the size of New York City.
I can’t wait to see how they blossom. The seeds may have finally been planted.
And the giant maraschino cherry on top of this banana split is that I’m engaged to a Jewish-American guy from Arizona, who recently underwent his own Rachel Chu-esque hazing when he met extended family in Southeast Asia this summer.
There’s something powerful about seeing that discomfort on screen, of reminding people that being considered foreign is a status that changes with latitudes and time zones. It’s poignant and heartbreaking, feelings that my fellow Asian-Americans might recognize as we are consistently asked to prove our authenticity as Asian or American, depending on where we are in the world and with whom.
As director Jon M. Chu has said, “It’s not a movie. It’s a movement.” And yet it’s that sweet rom-com banality, against a booming big band mandopop soundtrack, that makes it so revolutionary.
It’s silly and fun and OMG, will Rachel keep her guy despite his overbearing mom!? Hilarity, of course, ensues, as do the typical rom-com tropes: the pursed-lip matriarch (Yeoh), the sassy best friend (Awkwafina), the over-the-top cousin (Nico Santos), classism (everybody) and a hodge-podge of flamboyant characters who seem to only swirl around in the upper crustiest of the upper crust, no matter the culture. There are shirtless guys and petty, pretty ladies in frothy couture and blinding bling. In this case, it’s Peranakan, or the descendants of Chinese immigrants who moved to and settled in Southeast Asia centuries ago and grew their fortunes.
Despite the critical acclaim, the box office success, and the fabulous jade carpet roll out, some critics have decried “Crazy Rich Asians” for not being all things to all Asians.
It’s an experience many Asian-Americans, like myself, know well. Like Rachel in the film, I’ve been accused of being a “banana” — yellow on the outside, white on the inside — a pejorative assigned to Asian-Americans who have lost touch with their roots.
Or escaping war. Simply put, we just haven’t seen this many Asians with those many accents (Malaysian, American, Singaporean, British, Australian) being that many things ever before — sexy, funny and outrageous — and not doing martial arts. Or being generally tragic.
We’re not all the same.” Because the persisting assumption that we are mitigates our unique perspectives of the world and lived experiences moving through dominant cultures where we are seldom represented. — front and center as if to say, “Look. “Crazy Rich Asians” puts these varied experiences — of being Asian in Asia, of being Asian in America or Australia or in the U.K.
I don’t speak Hokkien, the dialect that my father’s family speaks in Malaysia, his home country, and incidentally where much of "Crazy" was shot. On the surface, perhaps this jab isn’t entirely unwarranted: I can’t read much Mandarin, despite attending Saturday morning Chinese school throughout my childhood. In the spirit of a uniquely American mandate of pursuing individual happiness — before pragmatism or what might appease a community or a family — I decided to follow my dreams of going into journalism.
It's catharsis. So, to see the existential crises I have personally undergone as Asian-American, to feel the internal struggle of both belonging and not, told through authentic voices at a pitch that anybody can hear but rings particularly true and clear to me — it's the opposite of numbing.

It’s unclear if there’s some meaning apart from the obvious one that would explain frequent shots of the video game many internet patrons are playing, featuring an invented ancient Arab city under attack. A more coherent editing strategy could have made the plot more engaging, though even then, the mysterious cyber-chatter would still require more explanation. Yet what that’s doing in a movie about Singapore is never explained.” /> Visuals are most interesting at the start, when a red sky offsets the industrial equipment lining the growing shoreline.
Any discussion of the quasi-slave-like situation for most of the country’s external laborers is important, and Yeo adds some good lines about how the city-state is literally built from foreign soil, yet “Land” will feel overly familiar to those looking for more than well-intentioned musings on the horrendous treatment of guest workers. Locarno’s jury clearly thought otherwise by giving it their top prize, but it’s hard to imagine the movie going beyond the usual indie festival destinations. A jaded cop in Singapore investigates the disappearance of a Chinese construction worker in Yeo Siew Hua’s predictable noir “A Land Imagined.” Set in the city’s underbelly and shot almost entirely at night, the film privileges style over coherence, indulging in pointless time shifts and giving short shrift to too many characters.
Much of Singapore’s industrial coastline is made from reclaimed land, covered with rigs and looking like some dystopian monstrosity — a far cry from the glitz and glamour depicted in “Crazy Rich Asians.” This uninviting region is the working environment of Wang Bi Cheng (Liu Xiaoyi), who’s been missing for one week. Detective Lok (Peter Yu) is sent to investigate, though his lassitude implies a lack of interest (on his part) and a desire (on the part of the writer-director) to emulate scores of world-weary cops in countless films noirs. The investigation becomes more involved when Wang’s Bengali co-worker Ajit (Ishtiaque Zico) also can’t be found.
Mindy is even more cartoonish, a cynical vixen whose motivations are as murky as the blackened waters lapping around the construction site. Wang is the most fully realized character, his edgy yet exhausted aura acting as the film’s sympathetic heart, but Lok is merely a bleary-eyed investigator too obviously meant to mirror the viewers growing realization that the country’s land is filled in by abused foreign laborers. Lurid lighting, destabilizing locations, and a jazzy score form the framework on which Yeo hangs his hole-riddled script, suggesting that he’d have been more comfortable making a documentary essay on Singapore’s land reclamation rather than a fiction feature using noir tropes as a means of making a statement.
From here, Yeo jumps back to an industrial accident when Wang injured his arm and was put on driving duty — at a fraction of his already low pay. Nervous about his precarious situation and unable to sleep, Wang spends an increasing amount of his nights at an internet café, cyber-chatting with a mysterious gamer (the film’s most under-developed thread) and largely resisting the bored flirtations of the establishment’s tough supervisor Mindy (Luna Kwok). His one friend is Ajit, an optimistic laborer who owes the company money and goes missing just after Wang tries to steal his friend’s passport from the company locker, where all the workers’ passports are kept under lock and key.