American digital companies make Asian gains at Hong Kong's FILMART

MUMBAI: US film and digital companies did brisk business at the recent Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART), signing several deals to take American content to the Chinese mainland and Asia.

The Chinese film industry grew 27.5 per cent to finish 2013 on $3.5 billion, while cinema admissions surged to a new high of 610 million, up from 470 million. A total of 3,627 new screens were added in 2013, approximately 10 new screens per day.

This year's FILMART drew a record number of more than 7,100 buyers to the event, the largest of its kind in Asia. The four-day show ended 26 March, and gathered more than 780 exhibitors from over 30 countries and regions. It was organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Representing the US were nearly 50 exhibitors, including 26 organised by the US Independent Film & TV Alliance. On the sourcing side, the US Commercial Service brought 11 missions comprising over 200 buyers from across Asia to FILMART to do business with US exhibitors.

“Each year I discover new clients and new opportunities at Hong Kong FILMART. This year, the buyers in the Philippines and Malaysia had a stronger presence than in years past. FILMART is not only useful for sales agent/distributor meetings. We were able to meet up with production partners from Singapore as well,” said US-based Fortitude Films vice president, international division Katie Irwin.

Announcements from US companies started appearing on the eve of the annual fair. 21st Century Fox will invest in a Hong-Kong-themed mini-series called Guilty as Sin set to begin production shortly.

Additionally, India's JDR Films purchased Hollywood's Arclight Film's Jungle Nest, while Vietnam's Galaxy Studios also acquired the title. US company Shoreline Entertainment clinched its first deal in Asia when it sold The Incident, an acclaimed science fiction thriller, to Japan's Zazie Films on day-two of FILMART. US-based Film Financial Services signed a cooperation agreement with Citic Guoan, the movie unit of China conglomerate Citic Group, to produce a $40 million 3D fantasy called An'shu.

FILMART is one of several international trade events that will be held in Hong Kong ahead of the 10 June Think Asia, Think Hong Kong (TATHK) promotional event in Chicago. A TATHK event will also be held in Toronto on 8 June.

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