China at center of Filmart biz

HAF award goes to 'MacLennan Affair'

HONG KONG — Exhibitors closed up shop Thursday at Filmart, the Hong Kong-set international film and TV mart, after an event characterized by a strong China focus plus signs of a growing interest in the broader Asian market.

This year a record 640 exhibitors from 31 countries attended Filmart at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, up 10% from last year.

“Basically China is the only major market out there that is growing, so there has been a lot of interest in that. The market is changing, and this year there was a lot more Malaysian films, and Indonesia productions too,” said Nansun Shi of Asian pic sales outfit Distribution Workshop.

Shi is also managing director of Irresistible Films, which promotes new filmmakers, and produces her helmer husband Tsui Hark’s films via their Film Workshop. She is also on the board of China’s Bona Films.

“The atmosphere at this year’s Filmart was quite good, especially when compared with a few years ago. Many co-productions have done well. I expect there will be many more co-productions with China and countries outside of China, too,” she said.

Filmart takes place at the same time as the three-day Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum, which voted Derek Tsang’s “The MacLennan Affair” as top local project. Pic deals with the controversy surrounding the death of a British police officer in Hong Kong in 1980. The top foreign project was “Balloon,” by Tibetan helmer Pema Tseden.

The region’s focus now turns to the Hong Kong Film Festival, which started Wednesday and ends April 5.

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