The 21st Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART), organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), ended today. The four-day event is a premier trading platform for the Asia’s entertainment industry. This year’s fair attracted more than 8,000 visitors, up nine per cent from last year.
Among the visitors who attended this year’s FILMART, participation from Asia rose significantly, with the Chinese mainland, Philippines and Cambodia recording double-digit growth.
This year’s FILMART featured the latest productions of more than 800 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions. Chinese mainland and many overseas exhibitors also set up booths to promote their local entertainment productions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, India and Vietnam.
An ideal trading platform featuring global buyers and latest productions
FILMART has long been an important platform for local entertainment companies to release new productions and announce development strategies. This year’s FILMART featured more than 70 special events, including thematic seminars, press conferences and networking events. There were also some 40 world and international premieres. In addition to such film companies as Emperor Entertainment Group, Sun Entertainment Culture Ltd., Universe and Shaw Brothers announcing their latest projects, TVBI and Fantastic Television Ltd also unveiled the line-up of programmes.
FILMART is an important promotional platform and one that has facilitated numerous successful collaborations. Asian film and TV productions were the focus among international buyers this year. The Thai delegation promoted “Content Thailand” at this year’s FILMART and concluded more than 10 deals with companies from the US and Korea during the four-day exhibition. The delegation was pleased with the results and is considering expanding their participation next year. Chinese mainland exhibitor Zhejiang Dream Stardom Film and TV Culture Co. Ltd. has been taking part in FILMART for many years. At this year’s show, the company successfully sold the first and second seasons of a Chinese TV series to a buyer from Southeast Asia. With so many business opportunities, a Dream Stardom representative said they would be returning to the fair next year.
The Cambodia Film Commission also led a delegation of local entertainment companies to exhibit at FILMART. One of the companies, Kongchak Pictures, reached a deal with a Korean buyer for a film and also started negotiations with buyers from the US, Canada, Malaysia and Thailand.
Leading producers share insights
FILMART featured an extraordinary line-up of more than 70 speakers, including leading industry representatives from the film, digital entertainment, animation and other sectors to share their views and insights. A total of 12 seminars were organised or co-organised by HKTDC, attracting over 3,000 attendees.
Documentaries were one of the focus areas of this year’s FILMART. The audience raised many questions during the seminar titled “Opportunity for Documentaries in Asia”. Ruby Yang, winner of the Academy Award for Documentary (Short Subject), shared her experience at the seminar. She said buyers tend to prefer productions about universal subjects.
Also speaking at the seminar was Takahiro Hamano, Senior Producer (Content Development Center, Programming Department) of Japan’s NHK. He said pan-Asian collaboration projects are becoming common; and if the directors could capture promotion opportunities and present well-established stories, finding capital should not be too difficult.
Jeong Joong Kim, Director of Acquisition and Chief Producer from Korea’s KBS, emphasised the importance of local perspectives. He said Korean audiences favour international stories with a Korean view point.
Andrew Hevia, co-producer of the latest Academy Award winner for Best Picture Moonlight, also stressed the importance of identity. He said the success of Moonlight is its ability to tell a specific story for a specific audience, narrating the story in an unexpected but down-to-earth way and focusing on ideas.
The Digital Entertainment Summit shed light on movie content and visual effects. Speakers pointed out that special effects companies in Asia are already quite advanced in the techniques that they use, and therefore should place more attention on enhancing content. At the Digital Entertainment Summit, Genki Kawamura, producer of Confessions and the hit anime Your Name, said that he joined the film industry because he was inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T. He said the film’s successful use of visual, audio and story-telling elements also inspired his own productions.
Daniel Son, Head of VFX Division of Digitalidea, the post production company behind Korean productions Train To Busan and Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, said Chinese filmmakers are highly creative, and have a passion for fantastical works. They also possess advanced technical skills. Felix Xu, CEO, Illumina Technology said that low budgets motivated them to experiment with more technologies to cope with different challenges, enhance efficiency and reduce production time.
The Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) is a founding event of Entertainment Expo, Hong Kong, and is among one of the expo’s 10 events. Entering its 13th edition, the expo is running from 13 March to 25 April and is featuring 10 spectacular events, including three founding events and seven core events. The three founding events are: the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and the Hong Kong Film Awards Presentation Ceremony (HKFA); while the seven core events are: the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), the Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival (HKAMF), the IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award, ifva (Incubator for Film & Visual Media in Asia Festival), the Asian VFX and Digital Cinema Summit, the Digital Entertainment Summit and TV World International Forum.