HK’s FILMART Draws Around 9000 International Buyers
Held over four days in March, the 23rd edition of Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) attracted nearly 9000 buyers, according to organiser HKTDC.
Acort International, a US exhibitor and long-time FILMART participant, reached a distribution agreement for a war film titled “World W4R” with buyers from Korea, Vietnam and India on the second day of the exhibition. Horizon Motion Pictures from Canada featured “Wedding and Lovers Tourist around the World” and discussed with filmmakers from the Philippines, India, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. This documentary will have two episodes on each place to introduce local wedding ceremonies and cultural traditions.
Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd from Hong Kong said its martial arts films were popular among Southeast Asian buyers at FILMART, with a number of investment discussions ensuing, including for “The Shaolin Temple 2″. Sil-Metropole also revealed that a virtual reality production company from the UK intends to remake Sil-Metropole’s action movies and micro-movies with VR technology.
Mainland China-based China Central Television (CCTV) does a lot of international business, with 60% to 70% of the buyers of its drama-series productions coming from overseas. CCTV said many new-media platforms, including Facebook, in addition to TV stations, negotiated with them at FILMART this year. Mainland animator Fantawild Animation Inc. from Guangdong Province reached a broadcasting agreement with an Indian TV station for the company’s animation “Boonie Bears” on the third day of FILMART.
FILMART’s thematic seminars featured an impressive line-up of nearly 60 leading industry representatives from the film, digital entertainment, animation and other sectors. The 14 seminars organised by the HKTDC solely or in conjunction with other institutions attracted more than 3000 attendees.
Speakers included Esther van Messel, CEO of First Hand Films; Lex Zhu, Producer of A Bite of China; David Weiland, EVP Asia at BBC Studios; Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia; Sean Park, Marketing Director of YouTube International Markets; Jim Packer, President of Worldwide TV and Digital Distribution, Lionsgate; Yu Gong, Founder and CEO of iQIYI, Inc and President of Worldwide TV and Digital Distribution; Joe Aguilar, Emmy Award-winning producer; Belle Avery, Producer of “The Meg”; Pang Ho-cheung, Director of “Love in a Puff”; Derek Tsang, Director of “Soul Mate”; and Sunny Chan, Director of “Men on the Dragon”.
FILMART this year focused on the development of film and TV in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. Leading industry representatives in the Greater Bay Area explored the cooperation opportunities and future development for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau film, TV and music in events including the “TV World 2019 – Opening Ceremony cum International Forum; Greater Bay Area: Golden Opportunity to Spearhead Film-TV business”, “Cantonese Movies Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area Forum” and “Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival Business Forum: Greater Bay Area – New Business Opportunities for Cantopop”.
Allan Zeman, Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, believes the film and TV industries in the Greater Bay Area need to understand each other and how everyone can work together to grasp those opportunities. Sin Kwok-lam, Honorary Chairman & Founder of National Arts Entertainment and Culture Group Ltd, hopes the mainland could further relax the restrictions and quotas on Hong Kong films, allowing them to be released directly in the Greater Bay Area, which has a population of about 70 million.
The rapid emergence of over the top (OTT) platforms in recent years was a hot topic of discussion at FILMART. Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia, said despite the challenges, the future is looking very healthy for OTT services. “You will see people not just selecting and paying for one platform, but for two or three, and people are watching more content than ever before.”
Sean Park, Marketing Director of YouTube International Markets, shared that YouTube has become part of everyday life, and 500 hours of YouTube content are now uploaded every minute. “Some 70 per cent of views are on phones, for an average of an hour a day – about the time many spend commuting.”
At this year’s FILMART, more than 60 scheduled events – including professional seminars, new film launches and networking activities – facilitated exchanges and business matching. Major film and TV production companies announced new projects on-site, including Emperor Motion Pictures, Media Asia Distribution Limited, Mega-Vision Project Workshop, Mei Ah Entertainment, One Cool Film Production Limited, TVBI Company Limited and PCCW Media Limited. There were also more than 300 screenings, including over 100 world or Asia premieres and numerous award-winning productions. FILMART featured the Online Catch-Up Screening facility for the first time this year. The facility enables buyers and visitors to view exhibitors’ works at any time.
Another key event taking place as part of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong – The 17th Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) successfully concluded. Widely recognised as one of the most important film-financing platforms in the region, HAF showcased 42 shortlisted projects, including 19 Work-in-Progress projects. This year also marks the third edition of the WIP programme in which, for the first time, a separate section for documentary projects is organised. The programme offers a great opportunity for fiction and documentary filmmakers to secure post-production funds, sales agents and film festival support.
Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Curator and HAF Director Jacob Wong called the 17th Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum a resounding success. “Both the number and total value of this year’s awards have set new records, affording more resources and opportunities for filmmakers to realise their dreams. As a mission, HAF will continue to support the robust development of emerging talents in Hong Kong and Asia by seeking out promising filmmakers with interesting film projects,” Mr Wong said.