Meet The Chairpersons

As Asia Image gears up for its annual presentation of the Apollo Awards - the region's premier technical and craft awards program for - we talk to the three Co-Chairpersons who preside over the program's jury panel.

Q: What do you make of the Apollo Awards? Is it another drop in the ocean of award shows or does it actually hold any significant value? Linda Locke (LL): The Apollo Awards has a significant role to play in encouraging and creating recognition for the craft behind the film, production and post production industries. Most award shows tend to focus on the agencies and their ideas and far less on the people who help bring the ideas to life. Freddie Yeo (FY): Apart from the Creative Circle Awards, the Apollo Awards is important to the local and regional industry as there is an emphasis and recognition on the craft and execution of the works done by production houses, post-production companies, design and audio houses. There are not many local and regional awards shows that recognize this very important aspect. Lim Sau Hoong (LSH): The Apollo Awards doesn’t just reward the concept behind a production. It also pays tribute to the craft and technical aspects of production. As such, it plays a significant role in pushing the envelope in broadcast production. Q: Jury biasness has always been a thorny issue when discussing award programs. Is it any different with the Apollo Awards? LL: The virtual voting system should avoid some of the pitfalls of most juries, as it is impossible to ‘block vote’. The diversity of the judges, both in terms of company and country, is another factor in ensuring unbiased voting. FY: It’s the job of the awards organizers and the appointed chairpersons to make sure that the awards are conducted in the right spirit. All the categories of awards are being judged by a respected group of professionals who are experts in their respective fields so I am confident that the jury would represent a fair and unbiased awards show. LSH: As far as possible, we’ve tried to minimize any jury biasness. Q: Do you have a pet category? Which one? Please elaborate. LL: My favourite category is 3D animation as this represents a challenging skill set and is the basis of gaming which already exceeds the turnover of the Hollywood film industry – given the passion Asia has for gaming, it is a growing and terrific opportunity for us. FY: Being from a post production background, the craft categories for editing, 2d, 3d animation and VFX would be my pet categories. It’s an opportunity for local and regional companies and their talents to showcase their ability from a craft perspective and get recognized for it from a reputable jury. LSH: No. To me, an excellent production is the sum of all its parts. Q: What are some of the changes that you introduced as Co-Chairperson? LL: A different range of jurists “ more from advertising and film production than before. FY: The criteria for judging have been reworked to make sure that only the best of the best are recognized. We cannot give out awards just to make up the numbers as it will affect the credibility of the show. Also, the quality of judges who have volunteered their precious time are made up of some of the who’s who of the industry. LSH: A: It’s too early to introduce any changes. This awards show is only in its third year and we’re in the process of gathering more feedback before making any major changes. Q: You have served on many juries presiding over creative contests and awards in the past. How do you think competitions like the Apollo Awards can contribute to the industry as a whole? LL: Most award shows play lip service to the craft categories with agencies collecting the awards instead of the professionals who crafted the winning entries. This puts the emphasis and focus on the people behind the scenes who make a good idea great or help realize the potential of an idea. It will help bring attention to those who are best in their craft – creating healthy competition that takes negotiation beyond costs. FY: It’s an opportunity to showcase and recognize the craft practitioners within the local and regional industry. It will contribute to the industry by creating more awareness of talents within our own industry as well as measuring the industry players against each other on a regional level. LSH: I’ve learnt that, more often than not, bad execution can ruin a good idea. And that’s why the Apollo Awards is just as essential as any of the other contests and awards. Q: What kind of entries are you hoping to receive? LL: I am hoping we’ll see an upsurge in ideas/work in non-traditional media, in particular, gaming and mobile. FY: Entries that clearly demonstrate thought process, detailed execution and production value. LSH: My wish list? Entries that take their category further. Stunning ideas. Production or post production techniques I have never come across before. Q: As Co-Chairperson of the Awards, what do you view as the biggest challenges facing the jury, in making sure that the awards go to the most deserving parties? LL: Being disciplined in choosing those pieces that set a new benchmark for the industry. FY: Creativity is subjective and that alone is a huge challenge. However, I am sure that with an experienced team of judging panel and co-chairpersons, the collective experience will prevail. LSH: A major challenge is the choice of judges. Not only do we have to find experts who are at the top of their field, but we also need to get a wide enough selection to ensure that every category is well represented. Q: What are the current and prevailing trends in the TVC and broadcast markets that you hope to evidence from this year’s competition? LL: The rise of mobile, digital broadcast, gaming and the development of software allowing higher levels of sophistication in 2D and 3D animation. FY: That craft and execution standard within the local and regional markets can compete at an international level. LSH: I hope to see ideas and techniques at this year’s competition that I didn’t see last year! Linda Locke Regional Executive Creative Director Leo Burnett Asia Pacific Linda graduated from Middlesex Polytechnic with an honours degree in art and design in 1976. She has worked as a designer in Hardy Amies (London) from 1976 to 1977 on advertising, graphic design, surface design and textile design. From 1977 to 1979, she was Art director at Batey Advertising and worked on the Air Lanka and SIA Cargo accounts. She then joined Leo Burnett in 1979 as Senior Art director where she worked on Levi’s, Nestle, Cadbury, Shakey’s Pizza and Procter and Gamble. Linda joined Saatchi & Saatchi as Creative Director in 1983 and in 1984 was promoted to Chief Executive Officer, whilst remaining the Executive Creative Director of the agency. She built the agency from a 6 million dollar agency to a 100 million dollar agency. During her tenure, the agency was consistently in the top ranking agencies creatively, with the agency bringing back Singapore’s first Cannes Gold Lion. It achieved success in all major international shows including a much coveted D&AD Black Pencil. Linda was appointed to the Asian Board formed in October of 1994. In 1984, she was also appointed as one of two Regional Directors responsible for South East Asia. Linda previously held the position of Chairman of Asia for 4 years before deciding to step down. Linda rejoined Leo Burnett in January 1997 as Chairman / Executive Creative Director of the Singapore agency and in January 1998, was appointed to Regional Creative Director of Leo Burnett Asia Pacific. Linda has been named amongst an elite global few in Advertising Age International’s feature story ‘Women Breaking Barriers’ and in October 2003, she was honoured with the prestigious Chairman’s Award at the Singapore Creative Circle Awards. At the same award show in 2005, she was one of five individual recipients honoured with a Champion of the Creative Circle Award for her years of contribution to the industry. In 2006, Linda was appointed Chairman of the 4A’s advisory board, responsible for creative standards in Singapore. Linda is a highly awarded creative with over 300 awards to her name including a string of accolades from local, regional and international shows “ she is a Gold Cannes Lion winner. Last year Linda has been invited to be a part of the prestigious Cannes Lions judging panel and is the only judge in 2007 to judge both AdFest and Media Spikes. Lim Sau Hoong CEO & Executive Creative Director 10am Communications, Singapore Lim Sau Hoong began her career at Ogilvy & Mather Singapore. She spent a total of 11 years working her way from junior Copywriter to Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai. Following this, Sau Hoong took her stewardship to the BBDO network, where she served as both Executive Creative Director of the Singapore office and Creative Consultant for the network’s China arm. In Oct 2000, Sau Hoong made her biggest move yet, starting a small shop with just ten colleagues. 10AM Communications, which Sau Hoong co-founded and remains Chief Executive Officer/Executive Creative Director of, has since burgeoned to a highly regarded full service agency of 25 professionals. Sau Hoong brought her Midas touch with her, creating many unforgettable commercials, many of which proved to be some of the region’s most timeless and memorable work. These include: a picturesque piece for Nippon paint that was shot in Mongolia, a progressive campaign for Pidemco Land, Guinness’ ‘Word of Wisdom’ campaign that ran from 1989 to 1994 (featuring Hong Kong celebrity, George Lam), work for China’s national TV station, CCTV, Sony Ericsson “Squirrel” commercial, and the Bank of China campaign that not only garnered over 70 international awards but also created an enduring brand image for the bank. 10AM Communications has earned recognitions from the D&AD, One Show, Clio, Asia TV Awards, Asia Media Awards, and Cannes Lion. Sau Hoong herself had represented Singapore in judging Cannes, Clio, Times Asia Pacific Advertising Awards, CCA and many other international awards. Last year, she was invited to judge in the prestigious President Design Award in Singapore. And early this year, she was also voted as one of the top 3 most influential person in media, marketing and advertising in Singapore. 10AM’s very personal approach to brand building is what marks the agency from many other local and MNCs. Also, Sau Hoong and 10AM hold the same dream – to build a truly unique Singapore brand. Freddie Yeo General Manager, Infinite Frameworks Freddie is the General Manager of Infinite Frameworks, one of Asia’s leading post-production facility based in Singapore. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree specialising in Communication Studies at Murdoch University, Western Australia in 1992 and started his career at Caldecott Productions International, then a subsidiary of Mediacorp. In 1997, together with a group of industry veterans, he set up Infinite Frameworks and has been responsible for expanding the company’s service offerings to include Post-Production services for TV Commercials, Feature Films and Short Films, Broadcast Design and Branding, Animation, Intellectual Property Acquisition, Content Development and most recently, overseeing the facility’s upgrade to becoming Singapore’s first complete High Definition post-production facility. Freddie has also been involved in some of Singapore’s most critically acclaimed feature films having held Executive Producer role for “Be With Me” directed by Eric Khoo and Associate Producer for “15” directed by Royston Tan. He sits on the Board of the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) and is on the Advisory Committee of the Interactive Digital Media School of Nanyang Polytechnic.



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