Ever wondered what it would be like to trek through uncharted territories? To travel in far away countries, unsure of what to expect, while having an entire film crew following you diligently? Well, that’s just a regular day in the life of 39-year old Bryan Seah, Head of Original Content for Southeast Asia for Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.
Bryan graduated from NUS with a double major in Psychology and Political Science. For a psych and pol. science major to go into filmmaking after graduation is quite unorthodox. For Bryan, however, being a finalist in Discovery Channel’s First Time Filmmakers initiative in 2001 launched his lifelong romance with documentaries. It was then a natural decision to pursue filmmaking as he “loved that fact is always stranger than fiction”.
“There’s never a dull day. A lot of my work here is cooperating with production companies in Singapore and the region, to deliver the strongest documentaries that our channels need,” Bryan said.
He is given access to unique life stories and has met many inspiring individuals through his vocation, which in turn helps to broaden his understanding and knowledge of the world.
He has travelled, directed and produced in exotic locations such as Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and China. Whether it be escaping a narrow death in Beijing’s largest abattoirs, or getting ‘tipsy’ with a “93 year old shaman from Taiwan’s Paiwan Tribe”, Bryan has experienced it all.
Engaging a New Crowd
Being in the bustling city of Singapore, we are strategically positioned in a region thriving with “culture, wildlife and amazing real-life stories”.
As Bryan succinctly sums it up – “Our storytellers are true global citizens – we bring with us a cultural sensibility that uniquely spans East and West.”
Aside from having a rich subject matter to explore, video-recording equipment and social media have opened up more avenues for filmmakers in Singapore to share new stories and get their name known to the relevant people in the media industry.
“In the post-truth world that we live in today, I think documentaries have an even bigger role than ever to set the record straight and kick-start meaningful intelligent debate”, Bryan said.
The greatest challenge now is an over-saturation of information online, as well as a shortening attention span of audiences. However, this does not faze Bryan as he believes that documentaries should evolve to “engage (audience’s) hearts as well as their brains”.
Therefore, the industry is continuously looking for talented and promising individuals to work with them to make different stories come alive on screen.
“I really hope to find genuinely amazing stories from Singapore told using fresh, inventive, unexpected ways.”
Having worked with many talented filmmakers from Singapore, Bryan is confident that he will be able to “to find and work with the most promising new documentary filmmakers in Singapore” through the newly launched Jumpcut Asia initiative.
JumpCut Asia is a programme that invites filmmakers and production companies to submit their proposal for films that can help to capture untold stories from the region. For those selected, they will be invited to participate in a three-day creative workshop.
This inaugural creative workshop can help young local talents kick-start their career in filmmaking by being given the opportunity of a lifetime; they will be able to rub shoulders and be mentored by the best in the industry, including documentary film producer and Oscar winner, Nicholas Reed.
Furthermore, the winners of this initiative will receive full funding and guidance to produce their own short film.
Filmmaking and documentary production is an exciting and challenging industry, but it is also very rewarding to be able to see your work being produced and shown across screens around the world.
“Surprise and even shock us,” Bryan said, “but please don’t bore us!”
The registration deadline for Jumpcut Asia has now been extended to 11th December. Sign up now for the opportunity of a lifetime!
For more information, go to:
This initiative is brought to you by the Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific in partnership with Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore.