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Filmart feels good

Attendence numbers climb 15%

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s Filmart is bolstering its rep as a sales platform with visitor numbers up 15% to 2,638 on closing day.

The number from outside Hong Kong jumped 41% to some 1,375.

Holding Filmart under the Entertainment Expo umbrella, which includes the Hong Kong Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards among five other events, has raised the awareness of Filmart, said Raymond Yip, director of service promotion at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. It also helps that Filmart, which wrapped Thursday, now falls before the Cannes Film Festival in May.

In a survey of 336 people — 83 exhibs and 253 visitors, respondents said Filmart was the most important film event in Asia. Some 35% of visitors said they had acquired copyrights for DVD/VCD, followed by 16% for terrestrial TV, 13% for pay TV and 13% for theatrical broadcasts.

Respondents said that Hong Kong was the top source for content acquisition in the next 12 months, and that they would like to see more action against piracy in mainland China and a simpler censorship system there.

Some 71% of companies questioned have plans to expand in China in the next three years, while 70% believe the country is the most promising market for Hong Kong entertainment in the next three years.

In related news, five directors received awards from the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) on Thursday.

Director-producer Ann Hui won HK$100,000 ($12,800) from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council based on her synopsis for “At the World’s End,” about a couple’s struggles in Hong Kong that lead to murder.The Focus Award, sponsored by Andy Lau’s Focus Films, went to Lee Kung Lok, Wong Ching Po and Patrick Kong from Hong Kong for “The Circle” and China’s Ning Hao for “Red Bicycle”; the helmers of the two pics will share $15,000. The Focus Award is for filmmakers who have made three or fewer feature dramas.

The Rotterdam Film Festival’s Hubert Bals Fund Award of $12,800 went to Thailand’s Ekachai Vekrongtham for “The Coffin.”

The Cinedigit Award for co-financing went to “Little Woman,” by director-producer Jiang Wen from China, and “Nanking! Nanking!,” by Lu Chuan and Tian Zhuangzhuang, director and producer, respectively, also from China. Each project will receive $12,821.

The HAF was organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Motion Picture Industry Assn. of Hong Kong. Twenty-eight projects were chosen for consideration out of more than 200.

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