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Asian cinema ready to unite

Hong Kong gathering brings region's industry players together for cultural exchange and new projects

By YANG HAN in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-06 09:34

The 28th Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (Filmart) in March has attracted more than 750 exhibitors from more than 25 countries and regions.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Growing markets

"As the film markets in Asia are growing, companies, producers and filmmakers want to access those markets," said Thomas Barker, an honorary associate professor at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra.

There is an opportunity to find new talent, discover a great breakout title, look for ways to expand the business, or explore new opportunities in a new market, Barker said.

"Broadly, coproductions are seen as a way to access investment and spread risk."

Sirisak Koshpasharin, vice-chairman of the Motion Pictures and Contents Association of Thailand, said Hong Kong's film market is considered one of the best places for those in the industry to meet each other and forge partnerships.

"Southeast Asians have grown up with Hong Kong content," said Sirisak, who was among the speakers at the Asia Content Business Summit during Filmart.

"We grew up with a lot of kung fu movies, and Hong Kong is considered one of the leaders in the film industry."

To promote coproduction in the film and TV industry, many Asian countries have adopted various measures to attract filmmakers overseas.

The Korean Film Council in South Korea provides a cash rebate of up to 25 percent of expenses incurred domestically for internationally coproduced and foreign projects shot in South Korea.

Thailand provides a rebate of 15 to 20 percent to foreign production with local spending of more than 50 million baht, with a maximum rebate of 150 million baht per project.

Forty-nine projects benefited from the incentive measures from 2017 to March last year, with 33 projects having received their rebate, four projects being considered and 12 projects now shooting, the Motion Pictures and Contents Association of Thailand said.

In Saudi Arabia, which has a thriving film industry, the government offers cash rebates of up to 40 percent on local production spending while providing support to get licenses and approval for a variety of unique shooting locations.

In the Philippines the FilmPhilippines Office was designed to revitalize the Philippine Film Export Services Office, which was established in 2007, to facilitate the institutionalization of a one-stop-shop system for foreign film and TV production, said Manet Dayrit, chief executive of Central Digital Lab Inc, a local postproduction company.

The FilmPhilippines Office offers location incentives to attract a range of international film and audiovisual projects for full-on production and postproduction in the country, as well as to foreign producers looking to do international coproduction with Filipino producers, Dayrit said.

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