HK's Big Media sets 100-film plan

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HONG KONG -- Recalling the glory days of Hong Kong cinema, startup local production house Big Media said Wednesday that it wants to make 100 films during the next five years.

"Not only do we aim to facilitate film development and create more job opportunities, we also set our goal to reach another milestone by moving the film industry forward internationally, with mainland China as our backup," Big Media Group Ltd. chairman Li Kuo Hsing said at the Hong Kong Filmart.

The 100 films will be a mix of four to five big-budget tentpoles a year, 10 niche-market art house films and six to seven midlevel regional films.

Big Media plans to contribute HK$140 million ($17.9 million) each year, for a total of HK$695 million ($89 million), and will look to work with other partners, particularly on the biggest projects.

The company already has starting capital of HK$45 million ($5.8 million) and has confirmed an investment agreement for some of the other funds with U.S. venture capital firm IDG's China Media Fund, BIG president Fung Wing said in a statement.

Films will be made in Mandarin and Cantonese.

Despite the decline of the Hong Kong film industry during the past decade, from producing more than 300 films a year in the early 1990s to only 51 last year, Big Media said the market is ripe for a renaissance.

"Sadness and pessimism does not help," Fung said. "To achieve a breakthrough, we need to see the current situation from a different angle ... and set up clear goals."

The Big Media Group was taken over in 2006 and has just come through a thorough restructuring. It is 43.7% owned by Hong Kong based Mei Ah Entertainment, 11% owned by See Corp. Ltd. and 45% owned by private investors.

Mei Ah is the distribution agent and international sales agent for Big Media's productions.
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