Cantonese Film Industry Gets a Boost!
With a view to facilitating the access of the film industry to the Cantonese film markets in Guangdong Province and neighbouring areas, the Hong Kong Film Development Council (FDC) has helped secure the enhancementof the measure under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement to lift the quota and allow synchronised release of Hong Kong films in Cantonese version in Guangdong Province as imported films with a maximum 25 per cent share of box office takings.
The FDC introduced the Sponsorship for Hong Kong Films (Cantonese Version) Distributed in Guangdong Province scheme in July. The scheme aims at funding the distribution and publicity costs of Hong Kong films distributed in Guangdong Province on an accountable and reimbursable basis and the maximum sponsorship for each film is $250,000.
Speaking at a press briefing today (July 16), the Chairman of the FDC, Mr Jack So, said, “No matter if it is a Hong Kong movie or a Hong Kong-Mainland film co-production, film distribution is of paramount importance and the huge film market of the Mainland is not to be overlooked.”
The FDC will also raise the upper limits of government contribution under the Film Development Fund Scheme for Financing Film Production (the FDF’s financing scheme) so as to encourage more investment in films directed by up-and-coming directors. For a film co-produced by an up-and-coming director partnering with an experienced producer, and with an estimated production budget not exceeding $10 million, the upper limit of government finance will rise from 35 per cent of the production budget to 40 per cent, i.e. a maximum of $4 million per film.
Moreover, the FDC has been working together with some tertiary institutions and professional film associations to devise short-term workshops to train film practitioners in the sector of film distribution. The workshops will not only enhance participants’ professional knowledge of film distribution and broaden their connections in the trade, but also allow those playing other roles in the film industry to better understand the film distribution business.
Apart from Mr So, the Vice-chairman of the FDC and Convenor of the FDC Market Development Committee, Mr Peter Lam; the Convenor of the FDC Fund Vetting Committee, Mr Wilfred Wong; and member of the FDC Mr Raymond Wong also attended the press briefing to introduce the above measures.
Mr So stated that nine applications were received under the FDF’s financing scheme as at the end of June this year and the surge was obvious as compared with only five and three applications respectively in the first six months of 2011 and 2010. It demonstrates that the Film Development Fund is becoming an important channel for film financing.
Since its establishment in 2007, the FDC has allocated more than $193 million in funding through the Film Development Fund to facilitate the film industry’s development.
Of this, over $60 million was for sponsoring the production of 23 movies under the FDF’s financing scheme while another $133 million was for 79 film-related projects.
Mr So revealed that as at the end of June this year, there were 31 film productions in Hong Kong, comprising 19 Hong Kong films and 12 Hong Kong-Mainland film co-productions. He expects that there would be around 60 movies produced in Hong Kong this year.