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Hong Kong org set to fund films

FDC has received four applications

HONG KONG — The recently formed Film Development Council is close to greenlighting Hong Kong’s first cash support for movie production.

The FDC has received four applications and expects to receive two or three more in the coming days. These will be examined at the first meeting of the Council’s project vetting committee this week.

Each project could receive coin from the HK$300 million ($38.5 million) pool created earlier this year.

“Our role is not to choose between the projects or select on artistic or cultural merit,” an FDC insider told Daily Variety. “Rather it is to examine whether they qualify as Hong Kong films, whether the right commercial elements are in place and whether the budget is in line with the potential performance — after all we want to see our money back. If they score on all these points the money will be granted.”

To qualify, an applicant must be a Hong Kong-registered company, helmer or producer that has produced and released at least two films in the last ten years. Additionally, three of the five key creative elements (director, producer, scripter, male lead, female lead) must be permanent Hong Kong residents.

Applications can only be made by projects with a completed screenplay and other elements in place, such as post-production contracts or half of the budget sourced from the private sector.

Creation of the FDC, announced in April (Daily Variety, April 16), was contested in Legco, the territory’s parliament, as going against Hong Kong’s laissez-faire approach to business. But politicos were persuaded that the local film industry is competing against others that receive public sector coin and that companies were having difficulty attracting new talent.

FDC cash is reserved for films with budgets less than $1.55 million and can receive a maximum of 30% of their production budget from the fund.

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