Hong Kong TV, film market kicks off on promising note

HONG KONG: The Hong Kong International Film & TV Market Filmart 2004 began on an optimistic note this afternoon.

Chinese superstar Tony Leung did the honours along with a select group of local entertainment bigwigs and government representatives.

Leung who won the best actor award at the Cannes fest in 2000, drew oohs and aahs from all present with his candour, a response somewhat like that Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan elicit in India.

Among the others who were in attendance figured: Hong Kong Trade Development Council executive director Fred Lam, council member Philip Wong, chairman of the council's entertainment advisory committee Raymond Chow, Movie Producers and Distributors Association of Hong Kong chairman Raymond Wong, Hong Kong Televisioners Association president Tsiu Siu Ming, HK, KL & NT Motion Pictures Industry Association chairman Crucindo Hung.

The festival was inaugurated with the laying of hands by the bigwigs on a panel on the stage at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre in the Wanchai area close to the waterfront. The entertainment head honchos were all buoyant about the prospects of Hong Kong's film & television future.

A confident Lam said, "Hong Kong is emerging as an important hub for the entertainment industry in Asia. In fact it is the most important and preeminent one. The market has got in excess of 300 exhibitors - from 25 countries."

He added that multi-media convergence was the theme of the conference. "Developing strong content that can be distributed across the latest technologies," he added. "Technology is changing the way we produce, distribute and consume cinema. Additionally, the bullish China market also brings exciting development and tremendous growth opportunity to many around the world."

Wong meanwhile pointed out that China's film industry is gaining global critical acclaim. "At the Cannes film fest, three Chinese films drew the accolades. Our very own Maggie Cheung won the best actress award," he said. "The Asian influence in coproductions is seen everywhere. I believe Hong Kong has unique selling points.

"We have all the advantages of a truly international city - and we have a central location in the heart of Asia. Many international companies are using Hong Kong expertise, coupled with lower production and land costs across Asia to produce content for global markets."

Clearly, Bollywood has a lot of catching up to do.

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