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Filmart fetes Fortissimo co-founder

New award dedicated to memory of Barendrecht

A touching element at this year’s Filmart and Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) in Hong Kong will be the presentation of a new award dedicated to the memory of Fortissimo Films co-founder Wouter Barendrecht.

As co-founder of the HAF, Barendrecht is credited with bringing filmmakers like Wong Kar Wai to a global aud. The HK$50,000 ($6,440) Wouter Barendrecht Award memorializes the producer who died last April, shortly after Filmart, at age 43.

The award is open to helmers of three films or less who are participating in the HAF. There are 25 projects in the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, slightly down on last year.

A sign of Asia’s growing importance as a center of documentary filmmaking is the establishment of Asian Side of the Doc (ASD), in cooperation with France’s Sunny Side of the Doc. This event, which runs March 22-25, is based on the success Sunny Side Co-production Rendez-Vous. The Asian event is aiming to develop co-productions between the Asia Pacific region and Europe in docs, factual programming and cross-media platforms. It will also focus on buying, selling and screening docs, as well as workshops, pitching sessions and networking events.

So far 175 delegates have signed up, with all of the major Asian and European broadcasters represented.

“We have already convinced over 60 European and American companies to attend, and we are hoping for a very balanced tone — that is our target,” says Pierre-Yves Lochon, CEO of Sinapses Asia and co-organizer of ASD. Gallic cultural web ARTE, German pubcaster ARD, Spanish pubcaster RTVE, and British pubcasters BBC and Channel 4 have signed up.

Around 70 broadcasting execs and TV producers will attend from all over Asia, including all the major Asian broadcasters: Japan’s NHK, Singapore’s state-owned MediaCorp, China’s state-run giant CCTV, the Shanghai Media Group and Korea’s KBS.

More than 500 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions will take part in Filmart. Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the event will feature more than 250 film screenings and 60 seminars and networking sessions.

Extra glamour is on offer at the 4th Asian Film Awards (AFA) as fashion icon Donatella Versace will present the best costume designer gong at the event, a new addition to the AFA to recognize the work of Asian costume designers in cinema.

“Fashion is a state of mind that goes deeper than what you can see with the eye, and the same goes for exquisite films that touch our hearts and minds,” says Versace, who is veep and creative director of Versace Group. “This award will highlight the convergence of design and cinema and promote talented designers in Asia across the world stage.”

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