Hong Kong Entertainment Expo to Feature Film, TV, Music

Industry events run alongside awards ceremonies and public screenings in an almost month-long event.

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Entertainment Expo gets enormous this year, as its line-up boasts 10 international events in film, television, music, and digital entertainment, all to be held from March 21 to April 17, 2011.

The growth reflects the development of the entertainment industry in the region, director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Service Promotion William Chui told The Hollywood Reporter. “Cross-sector expansion across the film, television, music and digital entertainment industries has seen a marked growth in recent years,” said Chui. “A number of new elements at the Expo, such as the greater focus on animation and digital entertainment, are utilized by the film, television and advertising industry.”

The Expo also emphasizes a pan-Asia and Greater China vision. “We are positioning Hong Kong as the distribution hub of Asian entertainment products, many of which might not be originated in Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong has a long history of being the place of origin of entertainment products, it is also a platform for investments and talents from different territories to generate new products in the creative industry. Likewise, foreign influences are infused with local elements, be they co-productions or products finished here in post-production, in combined forces to target the lucrative Chinese market,” Chui said. “Hong Kong’s involvement in the production and distribution process has shifted from being a place of production to a place for value-added co-ordination, for which Hong Kong has a leading position,” he added.


In its seventh edition, the Expo marks key anniversaries of its three founding events: the 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival, the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards, and the 15th Hong Kong International Film and Television Market.


Now one of the top three film markets in the world, Filmart continues its yearly growth this year, accommodating 600 exhibitors and 5200 visitors, including a first-time U.S. pavilion featuring 15-20 companies, organized by the Independent Film & TV Alliance, as well as a pavilion from Cambodia. Cross-border business opportunity will be one of the main goals for the market this year, held March 21-23, as Hong Kong Trade Development Council assistant executive director Raymond Yip pointed out that the majority of the top-grossing blockbusters in 2010 were co-productions. The market will launch “Co-production Lab Hong Kong," a four-day series of seminars and panel discussions featuring 6 European and 10 Chinese-speaking producers to promote co-productions between Europe and China.


HKIFF, held March 20 to April 5, has chosen animation as one of its focus for its 35th edition, showcasing animations from Japan, Czechoslovakia, and France, including the Asian premiere of Academy Awards Best Animated Feature nominee The Illusionist. The festival will also unveil its new mascot “Puppet Kid” designed by animator Raman Hui, known for his work on Dreamworks Animations’s Shrek series.


Animation is the theme of another of the Expo’s events, the exhibition “Pixar: 25 Years of Animation” hosted by the Hong Kong heritage Museum, which, alongside the exhibits featured in its run in the U.S. and U.K., will display installations created specifically for its Hong Kong run, as well as art from the studio’s upcoming film Cars 2.


Also under the Entertainment Expo banner, the Asian Film Awards on March 21 will give out awards in 14 competitive categories and four honorary awards, while the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, held March 21-23 will showcase 28 projects from filmmakers across the region, and launches a HK$100,000 ($14.6 million) award for the Chinese-language script development fund.  Around 50 scripts are now being reviewed, most of them from China and Hong Kong. The Expo also promotes the local indie scene, with the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards (ifva) to be held on March 16-20.


To boost the music sector, the Expo has expanded its Music Fair into the Hong Kong Asian Pop Music Festival, which includes a seminar entitled “Music in One Asia” where speakers from seven countries in the region will share their views on the development of the music industry in Asia. The IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Awards will be held on March 25.


Digital Entertainment, particularly the development of 3D in the region, is represented at the Expo by the Fopansionurth Digital Visual Effects Summit held during Filmart. Speakers will include Oxide Pang, who is filming his latest 3D feature, The Sleep Walker, and representatives from One Dollar Production, the company behind 3D erotica Sex and Zen 3D.