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FilMart sees record 4,000 buyers

FilMart wrapped Thursday after a record 4,000 buyers had strolled the 400 companies who took booths at Hong Kong’s Convention & Exhibition Center.

Business was brisk on Monday and Tuesday, with a smattering of deals and offers. But the energy had trickled away completely by Thursday, when virtually the only attendees were journalists waiting, ironically, for a press conference about the market’s upbeat numbers.

The fourth day was added after a survey of exhibs and visitors last year indicated more time would be beneficial, said Raymond Yip, assistant executive director for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the event’s organizer.

Fests at Sundance, Rotterdam and especially the expanded Berlin Market limited the potential for unveiling new productions and fresh dealmaking.

Nevertheless, FilMart and the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, both part of Hong Kong’s Entertainment Expo, are cementing themselves as key events in Asia and are particularly important as an Asian springboard for Cannes in May.

Some 74% of exhibitors and 64% of visitors called FilMart and HAF the most important film events in Asia, according to a survey conducted by Oracle Added Value for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Among deals inked at FilMart:

  • News Corp.’s Star TV bought pay TV rights to Mandarin Entertainment’s Donnie Yen starrer “Dragon Tiger Gate,” a $10 million actioner based on a popular Hong Kong manga. Pic will be released in Hong Kong July 28.

  • Universe Intl. Holdings sold all rights for “In Between,” helmed by Herman Yau (“Herbal Tea”), starring Anthony Wong (“20:30:40”), as well as an untitled police-action flick helmed by Benny Chan that’s being developed with TV8, the biggest free-to-air TV station in Malaysia.

  • Galaxy Studio in Vietnam bought all rights for Universe’s “Divergence” and “Heroic Duo,” both helmed by Benny Chan. Fresh Star bought video and TV rights for “Divergence” and Dante Lam’s “Hit Team” for Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

  • Producer/distrib My Way Film sold all rights for action pics “Kung Fu Fighter” and “Shaolin vs. Evil Death” to India’s BBC Intl. Newcomer, Distribuidora de Films from Brazil bought video rights to the same movies. Theatrical rights for “Kung Fu Fighter” also went to Pioneer Films from the Philippines. France’s Pathe Distribution bought video and DVD rights for My Way Film’s Donnie Yen movie “The New Big Boss.”

  • Theatrical and homevideo rights were sold to Taiwan’s Shengchi Intl. Media for new horror thriller “Don’t Open Your Eyes,” helmed by Hong Kong veteran Wong Jing.

  • Indonesia’s P.T. Teguh Bakti Mandiri and Thailand’s M.K. Network 2544 bought theatrical, video, pay TV and free TV rights for comedy “Kung Fu Mahjong 2,” also helmed by Wong.