One big question on the minds of IM Global’s Stuart Ford, Participant Media’s Jim Berk and others: Can the emerging markets handle larger-budget films?

They discussing just how much biz growing territories like China could support at Friday’s Winston Baker’s fourth annual Intl. Film Finance Forum in association with Variety.

“I don’t think there’s a move from west to east,” Berk said. “I think there’s a perception of a move.”

Berk and Ford said embryonic VOD and unreliable homevid markets made it harder for indie producers to predict reliable revenue streams. “It’s akin to the wild west,” Berk said. “The market hasn’t congealed and formed enough.”

Instead, panelists emphasized a move south, where Latin American countries are quickly developing film industries and infrastructures that attract more productions, and command higher pricetags.

The day’s featured conversation was with Imax CEO Rich Gelfond, who talked about the company’s successful global expansion to 738 theaters in 53 countries.

In a fast-paced Q&A with Variety international editor Tim Gray, Gelfond spoke of a “holistic” approach to global moves: To tailor offerings to the local aud, rather than send the same product to each country.