Hong Kong’s inherent incentive for nearly any industry is being the gateway to China. Film production is no exception.
In recent years, the government implemented three stages of a Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). It allows Hong Kong filmmakers to distribute films in China on a quota-free basis, as opposed to falling under the foreign-film category and subjected to China’s maximum-allowed quota of 20 foreign films a year.
Of course, the pics are required to have a strong Hong Kong element.
If a Hong Kong pic is a co-production with China, it gives the project automatic distribution in the vast country, which is the route Hong Kong companies have been going for years without CEPA.
That’s also the route some foreign companies have taken, as did Sony with “Kung Fu Hustle,” which went directly to China without the use of CEPA.
The Film Guarantee Fund is another boost for filmmakers, but again it only applies to locally registered companies. The fund gives approved pics 35% of a production budget or about $340,000, whichever is less.
- For information about CEPA and the Film Guarantee Fund:
- Hong Kong Film Services Office: Web: fso-tela.gov.hk; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shaw Studios: Web: shawstudios.hk; Email: email@example.com
Shaw Studios was originally slated to open this past summer, but that date has been pushed to mid-2007. Nevertheless, some facilities at the $180 million film production and digital post-production facility are already up and running or almost so, such as the soundstage, which is 90% completed. Post-production studios will be tested at the end of this year and should be ready for business by the beginning of 2007. The studio is located at Tseung Kwan O.
While the group isn’t focused on initiating film projects of its own, a spokesman has said it was open to possible co-productions with local, regional and international companies. Contributions could include services or finances through a fund or banking vehicle.