Despite being one of the key film markets in Asia, the recently concluded FILMART at Hong Kong didn’t witness many enthusiasts from India
The 20th edition of the Hong KongInternational Film and TV Market (FILMART) concluded last week on a vibrant note, except for lacklustre participation from India. Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) across four days, the event was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
FILMART is a crucial market for Indian filmmakers to network and find foreign buyers for their content, especially at a time when Indian cinema is exploring out-of-the-box content that is pushing global boundaries. Despite that, the Indian Pavilion saw diminished participation and comprised the Film Federation of India (FFI) led by Supran Sen, Indian Council of Impex for Films & TV Programmers (IMPEX) and All Lights Film Society led by Shyam Kurup.
However, regardless of a disappointing show from India, overall participation increased more than ten-fold, from 75 exhibitors in the first edition to 800 exhibitors from more than 30 countries and regions this year. Three countries and regions set up regional pavilions for the first time, namely the Middle East, Cambodia and Macau.
This year’s FILMART welcomed more than 7000 visitors with an increase of 3 per cent over the previous year. There was a significant growth in buyers from Asia. Participation from Korea and Vietnam recorded double-digit growth.
One of the founding events of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong, FILMART is now recognised as the world’s foremost film and TV marketplace, facilitating important deals in film financing, distribution, production and post-production, and where cross-media and cross-sector collaborations are promoted. In addition to exhibition, other attractions of FILMART included networking activities, seminars and screenings. The programme of this year’s FILMART was enriched through collaboration with different organisations and included a variety of industry forums featuring leaders in the fields of film, TV, digital entertainment, post-production, animation and music to share their insights. Among the guest speakers this year were the filmmakers of Mad Max: Fury Road, Taken, The Bullet Vanishes and animation works Monster Hunt, One Piece, McDull and Attack On Titan.
Promoting digital entertainment was a major feature of FILMART this year. Sponsored by CreateHK, the Hong Kong Animation & Digital Entertainment pavilion assembled more than 30 local digital entertainment companies to showcase their latest services, including 2D/3D animation, digital special effects, mobile apps, smartphone games and multimedia designs. Together with the exhibitors at the Animation & Digital Entertainment World pavilion, 200 digital entertainment producers took part in this year’s FILMART, including companies from France, Italy, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.
FILMART included 400 screenings, including 50 film premieres, as well as more than 70 industry events such as award presentations, press conferences and networking receptions. FILMART’s Animation & Digital Entertainment World pavilion featured 200 digital entertainment producers. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Animation & Digital Entertainment pavilion gathered more than 30 local digital entertainment companies to showcase their latest services.
Distribution, production and acquisition of film, TV programmes, animation, digital entertainment/games; terrestrial TV/cable TV/pay TV and satellite broadcasting companies; video and disc production, distribution and rental; internet broadcasting and distribution; pre-production and shooting locations, film commissions; film and broadcasting equipment and technology companies; production and post-production services; special effects, props and costumes; cinema operation and management; entertainment licensing; artist management; film and entertainment festivals / fair organisers; industry associations; film and entertainment magazines and medias; finance, film insurance, entertainment-related professional services; service providers to the entertainment industry
12th Entertainment Expo
Official guests at the opening ceremony included John Tsang, Financial Secretary, Hong Kong SAR Government; Margaret Fong, Executive Director, HKTDC; Terry Lai, Chairman, HKTDC Entertainment Industry Advisory Committee; Li Jingsheng, Head of TV Drama Department, China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television; and Leon Lai, Hong Kong Entertainment Ambassador as well as representatives from the supporting organisations of the expo’s 10 events.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Tsang said, “The government will continue to support the Entertainment Expo to ensure that Hong Kong remains a key player on the regional and global entertainment stage.” Whereas Lai said, “The Entertainment Expo attracts industry professionals from around the world to take part in the events, which provide a strong platform for publicity and networking, and helps to shape the healthy development of the industry.”
Entering its 12th edition, the Entertainment Expo featured a wide variety of exciting activities, among which FILMART, Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and the Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA) were the founding events. The seven core events include Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), Hong Kong-Asian Pop Music Festival (HKAMF), IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award, ifva (Incubator for Film and Visual Msedia in Asia Festival), Asian VFX and Digital Cinema Summit, Digital Entertainment Summit and TV World International Forum.
Major film industry players in Hong Kong keenly supported FILMART as their prime trading platform, which reflected in the repeat participation of major industry players including Pegasus Motion Pictures, Emperor Motion Pictures, Media Asia Distribution, Mega-Vision Project Workshop, Sun Entertainment, Mei Ah Entertainment, One Cool Film Production, China 3D Digital Entertainment, Distribution Workshop, TVBI, PCCW Media and MediaQuiz Production and Distribution.
Sil-Metropole Organisation participated for the first time to showcase their new entertainment products for the coming year. One of Hong Kong’s special effects companies that specialises in snow and disaster scenes, it had set up a film set on site for the benefit of visitors and exhibitors alike.
The enormous size and potential of the Chinese mainland’s film market was reflected at FILMART, with mainland exhibitors comprising the largest country of origin participation at the fair. A number of mainland provinces and cities had their separate regional pavilions, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong and Hangzhou.
Chongqing showcased its regional pavilion at FILMART for the first time, showcasing nearly 35 productions from around 10 producers and introduced Fuling, Yubei and Wulong as film locations. Blockbusters such as Transformers, Curse Of The Golden Flower and House Of Flying Daggers were shot on location in Chongqing.
For film enthusiasts, the annual Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) is a must-attend event. This year’s 40th edition of HKIFF commenced on March 21 and will conclude on April 4.
Annually screening over 280 titles from more than 50 countries in over 10 major cultural venues across the territory, the festival is Hong Kong’s largest cultural event that reaches an audience of over 600,000, including 7,000 business executives who attend the FILMART, a concurrent event of the HKIFF.
FILMART 2016 Thematic Conferences
FILMART featured a one-stop-shop concept to host various elements of the industry under one roof. Thematic Conferences and Countless Special Events During the exhibition, a variety of thematic conferences also took place, focusing on media convergence, TV streaming, challenges and opportunities in Asia’s film industry and digital entertainment. Among the prominent conferences was ‘Building A Blockbuster Franchise: IP, Brands, Story And Audience’, which had Doug Mitchell (Producer Mad Max: Fury Road), David Miles Uslan (Producer Thunder Angents), Dongbing Shan (Producer Expendables) and Nansun Shi (Producer Young Detective Dee) participating as speakers.
Another highlight of FILMART was TV World 2016 – International Forum, where industry experts discussed the importance of the initiative to the cinema and TV industries, and predicted that cross-border film partnerships would become a major trend.
TV World celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, with 370 exhibitors from around the world. The theme of this year’s TV World was ‘Belt & Road Business Opportunities for the Global TV Industry’. Leading figures explored how China’s Belt & Road Initiative could create business opportunities for the TV industry and