HONG KONG – The Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2005 has drawn additional film buyers and dealers to the city, giving a boost to the Hong Kong movie market.
The Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (Filmart), which is incorporated as part of the Entertainment Expo, has attracted more than 350 exhibitors and 2,000 buyers from 40 countries this year. Among them, 1,414 were buyers from outside Hong Kong, a 46% increase compared with last year.
Eighty-three Filmart exhibitors and 253 visitors were interviewed for an on-site survey. Two-thirds agreed that Hong Kong was a major content production center in Asia. More than half said the city was a major content production center for the mainland. More than half the interviewees said Filmart was the most important entertainment industry event in Asia.
UK Film Council international director Clare Wise, who is at Filmart for the third time, said the event was working better. “There are a lot more buyers, especially those from the mainland,” she said.
France, represented by Unifrance, staged its first national pavilion for this mega event. With 37 French film companies and film commissions, “this is by far the largest delegation of film and television professionals that have descended upon Asia from France,” said Loic Wong, the French Consulate General in Hong Kong. Patrick Lamassoure, director of Film France Commission, said the priority task of the overseas promotion of the French film industry is to lure investment from Asian countries, especially from mainland China and Hong Kong, and launch extensive cooperation with film makers in mainland China and Hong Kong. He said investment and cooperation could be launched in any aspect of film production, including financing, directing, digital production, marketing or the use of French landscapes for shooting.
Running alongside Filmart is the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), where exhibitors with production-ready film projects vie for financing. Since its inauguration in 2000, HAF’s primary goal has been to introduce Asian filmmakers to international financiers, fund managers, producers, buyers and sales agents by promoting quality feature film projects in the anticipation of forming possible co-ventures.
This year, 28 projects have been selected for presentation out of more than 200 submissions by filmmakers and producers across Asia. Director Ann Hui On-wah, who won the HAF Award with a cash prize of 100,000 HK dollars, said the award could help finance her film “At the World’s End”. Another winner, mainland director Ning Hao said the forum served as a platform for filmmakers to communicate with investors. “I have met about 30 companies and we have exchanged a lot of ideas. It’s not easy to come up with deals quickly, but it was a great place for networking,” Ning said.
Peter Woo, Chairman of the Trade Development Council of Hong Kong, the organizer of the Entertainment Expo, which continues until April 6, sees the Hong Kong SAR at the right place and right time for this gala event, as the city has exceptional reach towards a growing China, a growing Southeast Asia and an affluent Northeast Asia, especially under the recent Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with the mainland.
Woo said Hong Kong’s entertainment industry is more than a business. “Besides the glitz and glamour, it is really about our city, our culture, our people and our way of life. To many, entertainment is a dream making business. Hong Kong is a dream making city. But Hong Kong is also a city where many dreams do come true,” Woo said.
Source: Asia Pulse/XIC