China pics win Filmart’s Open Doors

'Vacation,' 'Help' take home prizes

HONG KONG — Continuing the increasingly Chinese flavor of this year’s Hong Kong Filmart, two mainland films won the inaugural Open Doors Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) award.

“Winter Vacation,” directed by Li Hongqi and produced by Ling Cai and Zhang Lu, and “Help,” helmed by Hang Lu and produced by Zhang Yunhui, won the new Open Doors event, part of a pact between the Locarno Film Festival and HAF.

The helmers and producers have received a fast-track invitation to join the fest’s Open Doors Factory co-production workshop without having to take part in the usual selection procedure.

It was perhaps inevitable that Filmart would have a greater focus on the Chinese market, where the global downturn has had less of an impact and the biz is still growing strongly.

Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, Rita Lau, urged filmmakers from all over the world to capitalize on Hong Kong’s experience and the benefits of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in opening up the mainland film market.

She told a forum that Hong Kong’s close relationship with the mainland had broadened the horizon for local filmmakers and led to numerous collaborations on joint productions.

Most of the Filmart festival has been characterized by caution this year, and the deals have been largely regional.

There was a certain reticence about pre-sales given the economic situation, although buzz around some titles has translated into real deals.

CJ Entertainment’s disaster epic “Haeundae” pre-sold to VSG for Singapore and Malaysia, Visicom Suraya for Indonesia and IOF Entertainment for India. The film sold to Turkey, Hungary and the Czech Republic at the European Film Market in February.

CJ also sold “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” to IOF.

Fortissimo sold Robert Kenner’s documentary “Food, Inc.” to Golden Village for Singapore, Cafe Groove for Japan, A-Film for Benelux, United King Films for Israel and Deltamac for Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The four-day Filmart closes on Thursday.

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