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This story first appeared in the March 21-28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
One of the world’s top three film markets in terms of exhibitor numbers, the Hong Kong Filmart connects to China and provides invaluable access for Hollywood producers seeking an edge in the world’s second-largest film sector. “Two of the top three box-office hits on the mainland last year were Hong Kong-mainland partnerships,” says Clare Chap of Filmart’s organizer, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. “That’s a good reason for Hollywood to turn to Hong Kong for help in developing the mainland market.” Another reason: insight into what works with Asian audiences. Five Filmart titles have buyers buzzing, with sales agents in parentheses:
$4500 HEADMASTER (Universe Films)
Starring local-screen stalwarts Sammi Cheng (Blind Detective) and Louis Koo (The White Storm), this uplifting drama tells the true story of an enthusiastic headmaster who runs a school for lower-class kids in Hong Kong.
Buyer comment: “A heartwarming, inspiring story. The fact that the film is about education means it can cross over to other territories.”
ABERDEEN (Bravos Pictures)
The latest from prolific writer-director Pang Ho-cheung (Love in the Buff) is a fantasy-filled drama about the lives of three generations in the colorful Aberdeen section of Hong Kong.
Buyer comment: “It seems full of local flavor. Pang’s previous films give us expectations for his latest, which promises to be something different from his earlier work.”
THE GOLDEN ERA (Edko Films)
This $15 million biopic from director Ann Hui (A Simple Life) stars Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) as famed female writer Xiao Hong, who chronicled life under Kuomintang rule in the 1930s.
Buyer comment: “The casting of Tang Wei is an attraction. Women-driven films are Ann Hui’s specialty. It will appeal to the film festival circuit.”
HELIOS (Media Asia)
From Sunny Luk and Longman Leung, the writing-directing team behind the acclaimed blockbuster Cold War, this action-packed crime thriller revolves around the hunt for a mobile nuclear bomb developed by the world’s most-wanted criminal.
Buyer comment: “There is a high expectation worldwide for the team of Cold War. The cast is great. As it’s an action title, the film will draw the attention of Asia and North America.”
Z STORM (Pegasus)
Starring Koo and Gordon Lam (Cold War), the $8 million film promises to be the kind of high-octane crime drama for which Hong Kong long has been famous.
Buyer comment: “It’s a very strong title. The film will appeal to the worldwide market, not just Asia.”
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