Everything you need to know to survive Asia’s largest film market.
FILMART FACTS: Now in its 15th year, Filmart is one of the founding events of the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo, whose scale and scope expands to 10 events this year, including the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, the Asian Film Awards and the Hong Kong Asian Pop Music Festival. ... Cambodia is the latest addition to the Filmart national pavilion lineup. Also participating for the first time is the American Pavilion, organized by the Independent Film & Television Alliance and featuring 20 companies. ... Despite being slapped with a category-III rating (equivalent to NC-17), Media Asia’s Love in a Puff, the opening film of HKIFF 2010, found a niche with smokers and their sympathizers to take in HK$6.4 million. ... The biggest booth at Filmart 2011, occupying more than 200 square meters, belongs to China Film Promotion International, the overseas sales arm of the state-run China Film Group. CFPI was instrumental in organizing the inaugural Beijing International Film Festival in April.
GET TO KNOW
Hong Kong Trade Development Council assistant executive director Yip, a familiar face at Filmart, who has nurtured the market since its inception in 1997 and is always a reassuring presence for returning veterans.
As chairman and CEO of Hong Kong production powerhouse Emperor Motion Pictures, Albert Lee is the man behind China’s highest-grossing picture to date, actor-director Jiang Wen’s Let the Bullets Fly, which has grossed more than $100 million this year.
Get yourself as close as possible to 20-year-old international film-sales company Fortissimo Films and try to land an invitation to chairman Werner’s annual seafood dinner. The exclusive guest list is a who’s who of Pan-Asian power players.
Garcia, one of the HKIFF’s founding execs, returned to the event last year after a 15-year stay in California when he was appointed executive director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society.
Wong, head of production and development at Fox International Productions, is the financier whom HAF project participants and filmmakers should know to pitch projects to.
Everyone should know Media Asia’s sales agent extraordinaire Tsui, the affable film rep with a wicked sense of humor (and exclusive party invitations) who’s the center of an international network of industry players and partygoers.
The chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, Wong’s smile is a reminder that the HKIFF and AFA are occasions for celebration. A film buff, Wong is also the vital link between the government and the film industry.
3D Sex and Zen
3D doesn’t get more rousing than 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, a stereoscopic reinterpretation of an erotic Chinese novel, repped by One Dollar Distribution. The film occupies its own booth at Filmart 2011, with an invitation-only market screening of the full 3D version off-site on March 22.
The Sleepwalker in 3D
Director Oxide Pang continues his odyssey into 3D filmmaking with Universe’s $2.6 million The Sleepwalker in 3D. The trailer for the psychological thriller starring Angelica Lee, Pang’s leading lady onscreen and off, will debut at Filmart.
The Monkey King
The classic Chinese legend gets the 3D Imax treatment in The Monkey King, Filmko’s glittery new take on the oft-told literary epic Journey to the West. The $60 million release showcases the combined star power of Chow Yun-fat, Faye Wong and Donnie Yen as the beloved primate deity.
The Flying Guillotines
The headless hunt is on for We Distribution’s The Flying Guillotines, a $15 million period action picture with Taiwanese pop idol Ethan Juan (Monga) and China’s rising leading man Huang Xiaoming (The Message) headlining the cast. Filming will start in April for a Christmas release.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Longtime collaborators Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai reunite for this romantic comedy from Media Asia. The opening film of the 2011 Hong Kong International Film Festival, it brings together the popular local duo of Louis Koo and Daniel Wu.
Naked Soldier marks the third installment in producer Wong Jing’s Naked femme fatale series that appears once a decade. Sales rep Mega-Vision Project Distribution will screen five minutes of the film, directed by Marco Mak and starring Sammo Hung (Martial Law, Ip Man 2).
The Pawn, a restaurant and bar in a beautifully restored secondhand shop that’s a 10-minute walk from Filmart, is where more than a few parties get thrown and, on off nights, many folks gather after screenings to discuss possible deals. ... Think laterally at the Beyond Box Office Symposium, co-organized by the Hong Kong Film Development Council on additional revenue potentials in Asia, such as ancillary products, VOD, gaming and other interactive media for the Chinese-speaking film industry. ... How to capitalize on the IPTV boom in China, set to be the largest in the world in 2011? Help is on the way via two Filmart seminars: “Outlook of the China TV Industry: The International Cooperation Experience” and “New Media, New Technology: New Prospects for the TV Industry.”
During meetings, don’t get distracted by the Filmart announcements on the market floor that sporadically broadcast press events, seminars and other gatherings. ... Take advantage of readily available pu’erh tea to speedily sober up after one drink too many at parties — the older the tea, the better it works. ... If fluctuating temperatures or a flu outbreak get the better of you, try this local remedy: cola heated with a piece of ginger. It’s so reliable, you can order it at many cha charn teng (tea restaurants), including those around the Convention and Exhibition Centre. ... Memorize your MTR (Hong Kong’s subway) route to parties across the harbor in Kowloon (Wanchai to Kowloon station for the popular W hotel, for instance). Traffic to and from the Cross-Harbour Tunnel often eats upward of an hour of precious party time, especially at peak travel times. ... The digital Octopus Card can be used for subway fare on the Hong Kong MTR, local buses and taxis, and as a cash card at convenience stores and retail outlets. Cut the risk of carrying cash and, if you’re from the Netherlands, Dubai or New Zealand, you can use it at home.