Three main events include Filmart, Film Fest, Presentation Ceremony

In its second year, the Entertainment Expo is shooting to be bigger and better.

Industries in Asia “should seize the opportunity,” especially in light of increased interest for Asian films in the international arena, said Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who is serving for the second year as the event’s ambassador.

The three main events of Entertainment Expo are the Hong Kong Intl. Film and TV Market (Filmart) which runs March 20-23, the Film Festival (April 4-19); and the Hong Kong Film Awards Presentation Ceremony (April 8).

The March 20 opening ceremony will include an anniversary celebration for the 25th Hong Kong Film Awards.

Filmart is expected to have more than 400 exhibs from 20 countries and regions, a 15% jump from last year’s attendance numbers. Two highlights of the event include a digital entertainment pavilion and audiovisual equipment and post-production services pavilion.

The Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum will run concurrently with Filmart from March 20-22. Organized by the Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Motion Picture Industry Assn., event will try to match 25 coming film projects from across the region with investors, producers or distributors.

Also running at the same time as Filmart will be the Hong Kong Music Fair, which will have 40 exhibs. This will be a new platform for the industry to look at issues surrounding music copyright transactions and for business partnerships.

“CD releases used to be the only channel for publishing original music works and royalty fee was a relatively straightforward matter,” said Raymond Yip, the Trade Development Council’s assistant exec director. “However, with the advent of new media, industry professionals require greater support in terms of professional services to handle matters not directly related to the creative aspect.”

The film fest will show more than 200 films, including “the latest Berlin films,” said Peter Tsi, fest exec director. There will be a 20-film tribute to Hong Kong action directors, he said.

Entertainment Expo comprises eight events and will span about a month. Other events include the Digital Entertainment Excellence Awards on March 22, Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum on March 21, the IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Awards on March 24 and the Independent Short Film & Video Awards from March 17-27.

“With the growing trend towards media convergence, Hong Kong is well poised to further sharpen its edge in content production and marketing,” Yip said. “Hong Kong can offer contents to both traditional and new media such as computer game, online game, mobile phone, film, TV and music.”

Raymond Chow, a pillar of the Hong Kong film industry and chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Entertainment Industry Advisory Committee, agreed that Hong Kong is still an important territory for creative industries.

Entertainment Expo and some of its events will benefit this year from coin awarded through the Film Development Fund.

Geared toward long-term development of Hong Kong’s film industry, the fund will give about HK$6.18 million ($800,000) to Hong Kong Film Awards, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum and Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2006, which is organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

The fund, which was revived in October when the Legislative Council set aside $2.6 million, accepts applications three times a year. The next batch is due April 30.

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