HK upgrades film support rules
By Staff Reporters
Mon, 16 July 2012, 13:18 PM (HKT)
Hong Kong films will have better access to the mainland China market following a revision of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between China and its Special Administrative Area.
The treaty revision is one of a series of upgrades to existing support measures for the local film industry announced today by the Hong Kong government. Other changes included the Hong Kong Film Development Council 香港電影發展局's tweaking of its rules for film production funding.
The change to the inter-governmental CEPA is expected to allow more Cantonese language films access to Guangdong Province, which borders Hong Kong and is one of the richest and most developed parts of China. Cantonese films will be allowed simultaneous release in Guangdong and rights owners will be able to retain up to 25% of box office revenues.
The FDC has also put in place a sponsorship scheme for Cantonese films, allowing them to borrow up to HK$250,000 ($32,300) against distribution and publicity costs incurred in a Guangdong release.
Peter Lam, FDC member and head of Media Asia, said that the FDC hopes more films will be able to release in day-and-date fashion both in Hong Kong and Guangdong. If this can be achieved, despite the extra time constraints brought by China's censorship process, Hong Kong films would have a 'domestic' market of 100 million people. That in turn might inspire local producers to favour Cantonese-language and Hong Kong-themed films, over co-productions which require Hong Kongers to put themselves in the shoes of mainlanders, Lam suggested.
The FDC raised the upper ceiling on its production support. For a HK$10 million ($1.29 million) budget film, involving an up-and-coming director partnered with an experienced producer, the maximum investment rises from HK3.5 million ($452,000) to HK$4 million ($516,000).
FDC chairman Jack SO 蘇澤光 (pictured) said that the production fund is becoming increasingly important to the Hong Kong industry. In the first six months of this year it had received nine applications, compared with five in the first half of 2011 and three in the same period of 2010.
He said that there have been 31 film productions in Hong Kong so far this year, comprising 19 wholly Hong Kong films and 12 Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions. He expects that in the full year there will be some 60 movies produced in the territory.
Since its establishment in 2007, the FDC has allocated more some HK$60 million ($7.74 million) into the production of 23 movies and HK$133 million ($17.2 million) for 79 other film-related projects.