Hong Kong Filmart expands in 14th year


Size will matter at this year's Hong Kong Filmart. The market, now in its 14th edition, is one-third larger in area thanks to the expansion of the exhibition hall. Exhibitors have been demanding bigger booths, and the market schedule has been expanded as well to include more film launches, news conferences, parties and meetings.

Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council under the the umbrella event the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo, the market has enjoyed steady growth for the past 14 years, including an increase in the numbers of exhibitors as well as visitors during the 2009 edition -- quite a feat considering the dire global economic climate. Previous participants rated Hong Kong Filmart as one of the top three films markets in the world according to an onsite survey taken at last year's event.

"The market is on the rise; it's a promising trend," says Keith Cheng, TDC service promotion manager. "Exhibitors, both local and from overseas, are launching more projects, so they are scheduling more press conferences, parties and events at Filmart."

According to organizers, Filmart this year will see an 8% spike in the number of Chinese exhibitors, and the number of registered visitors has doubled since last year. Additionally, exhibitors from the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia and France will occupy bigger booths, a result of the rise in film production in those countries.

Elsewhere, the four-day market will also be the launching pad for Asian Side of the Doc, the inaugural Asian edition of Sunny Side of the Doc, the documentary financing forum that originated in France. Documentary filmmakers and producers from across Asia will meet with their European and American counterparts to discuss funding for ongoing and new documentaries, mainly for television.

"We'd like to encourage more local filmmakers to make documentaries and create more opportunities for documentary filmmakers," Cheng says. "It'd make for a more all-rounded film industry in Hong Kong."

Asian Side of the Doc will provide a venue for documentary filmmakers in Asia, just as the Hong Kong Film Financing Forum, now in its eighth year, has provided opportunities for Asian directors to find funding resources. HAF will be held concurrently with Filmart, the Hong Kong International Film Festival from March 21- April 6, and Asian Film Awards on March 22.