Hong Kong Film Development Council Appoints Industry Veteran Gary Mak New Secretary-General
Formerly head of Broadway Cinematheques in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shenzhen, Mak will oversee approximately $130 million of public funds earmarked for the local film business.
Hong Kong film industry veteran Gary Mak has been appointed as the new Secretary-General of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, succeeding Wellington Fung, who is retiring after a 12-year tenure.
Reporting to the head of CreateHK, Mak will oversee the administration and management of all public funds established for the development of the film industry, including the HK$1 billion ($130 million) that the government earmarked for the Hong Kong Film Development Fund. Set up in 2007, the fund finances local productions; subsidizes various events including the Entertainment Expo, the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Asian Film Awards; and supports the First Feature Film Initiative, which has launched a number of rising and award-winning talents since its inauguration in 2013.
Prior to the appointment, Mak was managing director of Edko Film’s Broadway Cinematheque, which he joined in 1999 and nurtured its growth from an art house cinema to become a well-loved cultural institution in Hong Kong, building its name through organizing membership schemes and a wide range of film programs such as the Asian Film Festival, which has showcased the work of renowned and emerging filmmakers from Hong Kong and across the region for 15 years. Understanding the market beyond Hong Kong, he has also headed the Broadway Cinematheque MOMA in Beijing since it opened in December 2009, and its sister multiplex in Shenzhen that commenced operation in 2018, to introduce international art house films and screen the work of upcoming Chinese directors in China.
Likewise in China, Mak has previously worked closely with the Hong Kong government on the Hong Kong Thematic Film Festival, a touring film event that travelled through up to 15 Chinese cities to showcase classic Hong Kong films, co-organized by Broadway Cinematheque and the Beijing Office of the Hong Kong government. He was one of the founding members of China’s National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas, set up in 2016 to promote the exhibition of international and domestic art films. Mak's experience working in China is likely to come into use with the increasingly interwoven ties between the two film industries.
Seasoned in finding and guiding new talents besides featuring their work in the film festivals and programs he organized, Mak sits on the board of legendary Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival, and has been an advisor to the Hong Kong Arts Development Council; a member of the advisory board of the Asia Society Hong Kong; a judging panelist for the First Feature Film Initiative; a jury member of the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards; and an academic reviewer for the School of Film and Television of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. With the need for new blood ever-urgent to revitalize the local film business, Mak’s knowledge and familiarity of the emerging scene will be of value in formulating strategies to support aspiring members of the industry.
In addition to having established relationships with filmmakers and industry players in Hong Kong and China, Mak has also extensive connections in the international film industry, which he is expected to leverage to promote Hong Kong cinema abroad. He has been on the jury at the film festivals in Berlin, Venice and Bucheon; a panelist and speaker in Cannes, Brussels, Beijing, Jeonju and Singapore; and a longtime Asian coordinator for the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy.
Mak will assume the post of Secretary-General on Monday.