FILMART draws nearly 9,000 international buyers

The 23rd edition of Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), drew to a successful close today. The four-day event attracted nearly 9,000 buyers. International exhibitors win orders from enthusiastic buyers on-site 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 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 per cent 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 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. 14 thematic seminars feature impressive line-up of industry heavyweights 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 3,000 attendees. Speakers included First Hand Films CEO Esther van Messel; A Bite of China producer Lex Zhu; BBC Studios EVP Asia David Weiland; HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink; YouTube International Markets marketing director Sean Park; Lionsgate president of worldwide TV and digital distribution Jim Packer; iQIYI founder and CEO and president of Worldwide TV and digital distribution Yu Gong; Emmy Award-winning producer Joe Aguilar; The Meg producer Belle Avery; Love in a Puff director Pang Ho-cheung; Soul Mate director Derek Tsang; and Men on the Dragon director Sunny Chan. Focus on Greater Bay Area film, TV and music development and opportunities FILMART this year focused on the development of film and TV in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. 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. Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman Allan Zeman 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. National Arts Entertainment and Culture Group honorary chairman and founder Sin Kwok-lam 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 future of OTT platforms The rapid emergence of over the top (OTT) platforms in recent years was a hot topic of discussion at FILMART. Spink 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.” Park 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.” Networking events, project announcements and more than 300 screenings  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, Mega-Vision Project Workshop, Mei Ah Entertainment, One Cool Film Production, TVBI Company and PCCW Media. 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. 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,” he said. 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.