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 Johnson Choi on Hong Kong investments with Hawaii filmmakers - Asia in Review host Jay Fidell in a discussion with Johnson Choi, President of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce on his recent (July 2010) trip to Shanghai and Hong Kong and on Hong Kong investments with Hawaii filmmakers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YeEWdZfahw or download video click: http://www.hkchcc.org/johnsonchoithinktec0710.mp4

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Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR Guaranteed One Country Two System for 50 Years

The U.S. Commercial Service in China offers valuable assistance to U.S. businesses exporting goods and services to China. Our trade specialists can help you identify trade opportunities and local trading partners from our Embassy in Beijing, our four consulates1 in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenyang and 14 newly emerging markets2. From these locations we can access all of China!
 Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Market Intelligence > China

May 2 2013

Hollywood looks east By Liu Wei 

Chinese actor Wang Xueqi joins the cast of Iron Man 3, which is screening throughout the country. Yan Bingyan wins best actress with her role in Feng Shui. Hong Kong director Tsui Hark (right). Keanu Reeves joins the festival to promote his movie Man of Tai Chi. Director Zhang Yimou presents the best picture award at the Beijing International Film Festival. Hong Kong actor Andy Lau. Actor Wu Xiubo (left), director John Woo and his wife at the award ceremony of the festival. 

China is now the second-largest film market in the world, but restrictions on foreign films have provoked US production companies to take special approaches to enter the Chinese film industry. Liu Wei reports.

In 2012, China became the second-largest film market in the world, behind only the United States. The booming market has sparked the interest of Hollywood, which is trying various ways, many innovative, to enter the Chinese market through collaborations and co-productions with Chinese companies. But critics say full and genuine co-productions between Hollywood and the Chinese film industry still have a long way to go.

A report from the Motion Picture Association of America found box office revenues in China reached 16 billion yuan ($2.59 million) in 2012. China contributes the most overseas box office revenue for many Hollywood productions, such as Avatar and Transformers 3.

The booming profits are prompting Hollywood to take a greater interest in China, but access to the market is not easy.

China imports only 34 foreign films a year for theatrical release, and Hollywood studios get no more than 25 percent of the revenue. There are also protective policies for domestic films, such as releasing two Hollywood blockbusters on the same day to dampen their impact.

Co-produced films, however, are exempt from the quota and treated as domestic productions, for which investors can discuss how the profits are distributed.

There are, however, rigid criteria for co-productions. Only when Chinese investment, cast, crew and aspects of the main storyline meet the requirements of the State Film Bureau can a co-produced film go ahead.

"The most important criterion of co-production is whether the story is about China and Chinese people, and whether it delivers Chinese values and culture," says Liang Longfei, vice-president of M1905.com, the official website of the China Movie Channel.

The rigid criteria and strong market has promoted Hollywood studios to take inventive approaches in their attempts to make their mark in China.
Paramount Pictures is working with the China Movie Channel, with the help of Los Angeles-based Jia-flix Enterprises, on the production of Transformers 4, which will be released in June 2014.

The three parties will cast four Chinese actors for the film via a reality TV show in China.

Aspiring actors need to submit footage online to take part, and 100 will be selected for the TV show that will follow them as they compete to win a role in the movie. The judging panel includes senior Hollywood insiders such as producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura and Megan Colligan, Paramount's marketing and distribution chief.

But even with the involvement of the China Movie Channel, the film will not be given co-production status.

"We certainly want it to be," says Liang, "but authorities define a co-production as films that tell Chinese stories with leading Chinese actors, and more importantly, films that convey Chinese culture and enhance the country's soft power. For a film like Transformers 4, it is almost impossible. We all know it is about robots."

Paramount is not the only major Hollywood studio that is wooing the Chinese market.

Marvel Studios' Iron Man 3, which was not granted co-production status, will make a special version of the film for the Chinese market, featuring an appearance by popular actress Fan Bingbing, and bonus footage made exclusively for Chinese audiences.

The Chinese and global versions of the film will both feature veteran Chinese actor Wang Xueqi, who plays a new character called Dr Wu.

Wu is a friend to the protagonist Tony Stark in the film, which premiered in China on May 1.

"We are confident that our stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences," says a statement from Marvel Studios' parent company The Walt Disney Company.

"And adding a local flavor will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace."

Aside from finding a China-friendly storyline, production companies must also find a capable local partner who understands local authorities and audiences and can help Hollywood studios better access the market.

Although there is no rating system, China's authorities examine films' plots before allowing them to be released in theaters. Concerns are mainly focused on gratuitous sex and violence, but there can be other reasons a film is withheld.

Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was withdrawn from theaters on its opening day on April 11, for what authorities euphemistically described as "technical reasons".

The China Movie Channel, backed by the State Film Bureau, is believed to be a helpful partner for Hollywood studios.

"We will definitely give useful suggestions to ensure a film has a good launch in China," says Liang of M1905.com. "This is the foundation of our cooperation."

"Their background certainly does not hurt," says Marc Ganis of Jiaflix, the company that has been acting as a go-between for Paramount and the China Movie Channel on Transformers 4. The China Movie Channel can also help Paramount to secure shooting locations.

At a forum at the third Beijing Film Festival on April 20, Ganis suggested Transformers 4 may shoot some scenes in historic Chinese buildings, which is very difficult to win approval for.

Marvel chose DMG Entertainment to help them make Iron Man 3. DMG Entertainment is a 20-year-old company based in Beijing and run by Dan Mintz, an American producer who speaks fluent Chinese.

Insiders reveal DMG played a significant role in getting Wang Xueqi to join the cast and convincing the studio to make a special version of the film for the Chinese market.

Only two weeks after Iron Man 3's promotional event in Beijing on April 6, DreamWorks announced at the Beijing Film Festival it will work with the State-owned China Film Group to produce the adventure epic, Tibet Code.

China Film Group is the most powerful film production and distribution company in China, and it has the exclusive rights to import foreign films for theatrical release.

Jiang Wei, general manager of Edko (Beijing) Films Limited, which co-produced The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor with Universal Pictures in 2008, says genuine cooperation between Hollywood and the Chinese film industry is still a long way off.

"The current approaches work more like marketing strategies to win Chinese attention and hospitality," he says.

"There is no real in-depth cooperation, in which staff from both countries work together, like what the English and Australian filmmakers have been doing in Hollywood."

The Chinese film industry needs to grow for greater cooperation to be achieved, he says.

"When China's film industry grows as an equal partner and the box office becomes big enough, the Hollywood community will have to think of real stories involving Chinese culture and people who are real characters. Only then will real co-productions be possible," he says.

March 31 2013

Government film venues behind in digital revolution, says festival boss By Vivienne Chow vivienne.chow@scmp.com

HK festival boss says only three of the government-run screens can show the newer format, forcing it to use smaller commercial cinemas - Roger Garcia, Hong Kong International Film Festival executive director. 

The Hong Kong International Film Festival says its ability to grow audience numbers and help foster the city's film culture is handicapped by the lack of government-run auditoriums that can screen digital movies - the bulk of its offerings. It's forced to use smaller commercial venues, where fewer tickets are available.

"The audience potential is limited by hardware issues," the festival's executive director Roger Garcia said.

It is understood that out of the 306 films - including short films - showing at this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival, fewer than 20 titles arrived in the traditional 35mm format.

Only three government venues - the Cultural Centre Grand Theatre, the Space Museum and the Hong Kong Film Archive - have high-definition digital film projectors that can screen such works for the city's film festival.

Garcia said that as films shift from the 35mm format to digital, inadequate projectors at government venues have forced the festival to hire commercial cinemas as screening venues.

As a result, despite the festival scheduling 388 screenings this year, the number of people getting the chance to see some films will be reduced from last year, due to the smaller capacity at commercial cinemas, such as the Grand Cinema at Kowloon Station and UA theatres at Cityplaza, Langham Place and iSquare.

Garcia said commercial cinemas at multiplexes can only seat about 120 to 150 people - fewer then many government venues. City Hall Theatre can hold 463 people, while the Science Museum lecture hall has 295 seats. However, these two venues are not digitally equipped.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), which runs these venues, often used at film festivals, admitted that currently only the Cultural Centre Grand Theatre, the Space Museum and Hong Kong Film Archive were equipped with high-definition digital film projectors.

The department revealed that the government has spent more than HK$1 million on one digital cinema projector and two servers at the Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

Facilities at the Hong Kong Film Archive also cost a similar amount, while the projector at Space Museum set the department back around HK$300,000.

However, the City Hall theatre and the Science Museum lecture hall, which are also used for HKIFF screenings, are not equipped with high-definition digital film projectors.

"The Science Museum is equipped with a digital projector that supports the playing of films in DVD, Blu-ray and Beta SP formats," said a department spokesman.

The department said that it would consider installing more high-definition digital film projectors in its venues, depending on cost effectiveness and budget considerations.

Besides financial concerns, the venue's set-up would also be a factor. The LCSD explained that, for example, to install new a digital projection system at the City Hall Theatre would require a "substantial modification to the projection room".

The digital format can allow a director to make a movie for a fraction of what it would cost using 35mm film, which means some ideas that would never attract financing can get made and enter the festival circuit.

The festival ends tomorrow.

January 23 2013

Cloud Atlas points to new role for the Hong Kong film industry By Vivienne Chow

The complicated financing process for the epic Cloud Atlas points to how the city can stake out a new role in the international film industry - The Cloud Atlas crew at the Chinese premiere. 

Hong Kong filmgoers heading to see Cloud Atlas will be taken with its spectacular journey across the globe, from the past to the future.

What they may not realise is that the story of the film's production mirrors its plot, following the same trail across the Pacific from Hollywood to Hong Kong - and offering clues as to how the city can forge a new role in the international film industry.

The latest work from Germany's century-old Filmstudio Babelsberg - where Fritz Lang filmed his classic Metropolis - is an ambitious US$100 million independent production that is set to redefine international filmmaking, from cast and crew to financing - which is where Hong Kong comes in.

With Hollywood studios reluctant to put up the full cost of production, more than one-third of the money to make the film was raised in the city.

According to veteran Hong Kong filmmaker Philip Lee, an executive producer of Cloud Atlas responsible for its fund-raising in Asia, Hong Kong has a unique edge in film financing, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Hong Kong is the Asian financial centre and has a long history in filmmaking. With more collaboration with foreign projects or companies, knowing how to find the right match is very important, and Hong Kong has the expertise," says Lee, who served as an associate producer of the international hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and a line producer for Batman film The Dark Knight during its filming in Hong Kong.

Cloud Atlas is an epic production of British author David Mitchell's award-winning novel. The complex story is set in Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, as well as America. It features six plotlines that run forwards and backwards from the mid-19th century to a post-apocalyptic dystopia in the distant future.

The film brings together some of the biggest names in world cinema: the creative team is led by the Wachowski siblings, directors of the Matrix trilogy, and Tom Tykwer, who directed the 1998 German hit Run Lola Run.

The ensemble cast includes Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, and Asian screen darlings Zhou Xun of China and Bae Doo-na from South Korea.

The latest figures from the Motion Picture Association of America indicate why Asia is such a key priority for the film industry.

They show that, worldwide, box office revenue grew about 7 per cent in 2011 to US$32.6 billion, up from 2010's US$31.6 billion. Revenue in the Asia-Pacific region grew 6 per cent, from US$8.5 billion to US$9 billion, largely because of growth in the Chinese market.

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said mainland box office takings rose 30 per cent last year to US$2.74 billion, making it the second-largest market in the world.

Domestic productions accounted for less than half of the total as more foreign films were allowed on to Chinese screens. Fourteen more movies a year can be imported as long as they are in the 3D or IMAX formats, exempting them from the previous quota of 20 foreign films a year.

Box office takings in Hong Kong rose 12 per cent last year to HK$1.56 billion. Hong Kong films raked in HK$347.42 million - 22.3 per cent of the total, compared with 20.2 per cent in 2010.

But despite government efforts since 2007 to promote local filmmaking through the Film Development Fund, the top-grossing films in Hong Kong were all global blockbusters, led by The Avengers, which grossed HK$96.7 million.

The only Hong Kong film to crack the top 10 was crime thriller Cold War. It brought in HK$42.8 million, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film in the city last year.

But while local filmmakers struggle to recapture former glories, the film financing industry in the city is looking promising.

The Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, which brings together filmmakers and financiers, is celebrating its 11th anniversary in March. The Hong Kong Film Development Council has also begun to direct its resources towards grooming a new generation of film producers.

Hong Kong film companies and investors can and should go beyond regional productions. They should also go for international projects
Cash is certainly available in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary Asian backers of Cloud Atlas include Hong Kong's Media Asia Group, Beijing-based Dreams of the Dragon Pictures (the second-biggest investor in the film), and Singapore container-ship magnate Tony Teo's Ascension Pictures.

"Hong Kong film companies and investors can and should go beyond regional productions. They should also go for international projects," Lee says. "The market in China is there, but it is only at its beginning. Singapore, on the other hand, is keen but they do not have enough know-how of the film industry."

Lee became involved in the project through his friend Grant Hill, an Australian and one of the producers of Cloud Atlas. Lee says they began talking during the early stage of the film's development but that Hill did not officially come on board until around 2009, when the film's funding came up US$35 million short.

Hill says the development of Cloud Atlas began in 2005 during the filming of V for Vendetta, for which Hill was producer. The film's leading lady, Natalie Portman, passed a copy of Mitchell's book, which she described as "fascinating", to the film's co-scriptwriters Lana Wachowski (known as Larry at the time) and her brother Andy. Together with Tykwer, they drafted a script based on the book.

"We approached the studio [Warner Brothers] about buying the book ... but ultimately the studio felt the project was prohibitively expensive," Hill says.

"They will finance established franchises like Harry Potter or Batman. But Cloud Atlas was too much of a risk for them," says Lee, who managed to attach Hollywood heavyweights like Hanks and Hugh Grant to the project when they slashed their fees. Warner Brothers contributed a "significant amount" and maintains the North American distribution rights.

With these distribution rights secured, Hill says it was easier to approach potential financiers from the rest of the world. The team embarked on a globe-trotting journey unprecedented for a film-financing campaign.

The film has adopted a complex funding model: pure equity investment, equity and distribution investment, distribution rights and government subsidies, including US$18 million from Germany. Spain's Mallorca Film Commission and Creative Scotland each contributed US$250,000. But that still left a US$35 million gap.

The team then translated the script into different languages to pitch it to potential investors around the world.

Lee says notable Western studios and production companies like Village Roadshow, Legendary Pictures and Relativity Media have been eyeing the China market because of its potential, co-producing projects with mainland companies.

"There's this gold rush in Beijing, but at the end of the day, the only co-produced film that could drum up the noise in the US was The Forbidden Kingdom," says Lee.

The Forbidden Kingdom, of which Lee was an associate producer, is a 2008 martial arts fantasy inspired by the classic Journey to the West and starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li. This Chinese-US co-production was mainly funded by Relativity Media, with distribution rights sold to mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwanese distributors.

But Cloud Atlas operates according to a different model. The project has several equity investors who get to share the global distribution revenue.

The star-studded cast and A-list production team, together with a story revolving around the theme of reincarnation - which accords with Asian values - helped attract Asian investors, including Hong Kong's leading film company Media Asia.

It's the first time Media Asia has expanded the scope of its business to take part in a truly international production.

"We hoped to try something new," says Media Asia's head of distribution Ricky Tse Chi-keung.

Tse says Media Asia contributed a "small" but "significant" amount towards the project.

No one can tell how the film, which opens in Hong Kong today, will fare in Asia. Its box office gross in the US, where it was released in October, is a relatively modest US$27 million to date, according to the Internet Movie Database. But it has grossed almost US$10 million in Germany and more than US$16 million in Russia.

One thing that is certain, Tse says, is that the global film industry is shifting towards the East. With more big mainland studios such as Bona Film and Huayi Brothers expressing interest in investing Western projects, there will be more happy marriages between Western and Eastern film industries and finances, he says.

And there's an important role that Hong Kong can play.

"The mainland certainly has capital, but can they find the right people? Not necessarily. Hong Kong can be more active in bridging this gap," Tse says.

August 25 2012

American sees beyond the glamour in filmmaking By Zhao Xu

Filmmaker Jay Hubert and actress Karen Mok have a profession - and perhaps great legs - in common. 

American sees beyond the glamor in Chinese filmmaking, he tells Zhao Xu.

Ask Jay Hubert, a 34-year-old American who had previously studied cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy, about his most memorable experience working with a Chinese film crew, and the answer is well beyond any stretch of imagination.

"To be Karen Mok's nudity substitute," he says in his studio-home in northwestern Beijing, referring to the wide-smiling, long-legged Hong Kong beauty with whom he was on set during the making of the 2007 movie Lost Indulgence.

"There's this one scene of her in the bathroom sitting on a stool and bathing. The camera would be zooming in on her sensual, foam-covered long legs. So they wanted someone who's not only tall but also very white," he says. "The director looked around, looked at me, and called out 'Hubert!'"

"That was my greatest moment because I sacrificed for the sake of art," he says, in his typical joking, self-deprecating way.

But how about the, um, leg hair?

"The scene was shot through an opaque glass door, so it didn't matter," he says.

However, that doesn't mean being "a hairy foreigner" hasn't cost him, well, more than a few hairs.

"My job title for that movie is 'film loader', which means, quite literally, opening the canister, taking out the film and taping it up onto the movie camera," he says. "Nothing hard, except that you've got to put your hands inside a bag and do it in the dark, because the film is light-sensitive."

One day, about a week after the first batch of films had been sent to Beijing for developing, Hubert was told that a couple of hairs had been detected on the initial few shots of the film.

"They said to me 'Be careful'."

"I guessed what they meant was, 'Go and shave your arms', which I did, promptly," he says, apparently bemused by the little incident.

The arm hair has since had a chance to grow back, thanks to Hubert's career evolution from a film loader to an independent artist making short movies funded by his earnings from shooting commercials for local and international brands.

But back then, his zero tolerance for interfering hairs won him a big hug from the director. "He says he loved me," Hubert recalled, laughing out loud.

From there, Hubert went on to shoot a mini-documentary on the making of the 2010 Chinese film Love for Life, directed by Gu Changwei and thought to be Chinese cinema's first take on the blood-transfusion-caused AIDs outbreak in an impoverished Chinese rural area in late 1990s and early 2000s. Casting the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress Zhang Ziyi and the veteran Hong Kong heartthrob Aaron Kwok in leading roles, the movie was filmed in a small village on the western fringe of Beijing.

Not knowing anyone on the crew beforehand, Hubert was impressed by the stars "as themselves". "They were fantastic people to work with - Aaron Kwok was entertaining the crew all the time, dancing and teasing with everybody," he says, referring to the sweatshirt-wearing singer-actor who's seen on Hubert's documentary twisting his well-trained body for some electrifying movements. "I think they were just so tired of their celebrity and wanted to be normal people."

And in this, Hubert recognized his own longing to be "inconspicuous".

"In certain parts of Beijing, being a foreigner still begets curious looks and the occasional finger-pointing," he says. "None of that existed while I worked with the crew."

The village where the film was shot - so close to Beijing - has become a popular set. "So the villagers are accustomed to, even bored with, seeing star faces. And none of them would give a damn about a big white guy who's essentially nobody."

Over the past few years, Hubert has made a handful of short films, recruiting actors from among his artist friends and classmates - or randomly from the streets.
One is titled Banana, about a white American who traveled to Beijing, woke up one morning and found himself trapped under the skin of another man - a local rickshaw puller with a wife and a daughter.

At the end of the 11-minute film, after much travail, the man ventured back to the doorstep of his hotel room and bumped into Egg, the guy with whom he had mysteriously exchanged looks with.

"I know 'banana' is a byword for Chinese who have grown up in the West - yellow outside, white inside. The reverse of that must be 'egg'. And both represent for me conflicted identities and the nonstop search for true self."

"People judge based on their stereotypes, and would often not give others the benefit of doubt," says Hubert, still soured by his own experience of having learned Cantonese fluently but finding no one to speak to while in Hong Kong in the early 2000s. "They all insisted on talking to me in English, which is deeply frustrating."

Hubert says he adores a more profound - some may say abstruse - narrative style embraced by the Chinese art cinema, but doesn't think in a linear way.

"Comedy is my answer," he says, pointing to his reputation as a "class clown" throughout his school years. "It's my way of getting things out of my system without being judgmental."

In Love for Life, Hubert says, there is also a bathing scene - "the climatic end in which Zhang Ziyi's character lies submerged in cold water, then re-emerges to help cool her fevering husband down with her own chilled body."

Any luck being a stand-in for the husband on that one?

"I tried, but they wouldn't let me," he says.

March 18 2011

Hong Kong's Digital Magic 

 Investing early in the technology helped Digital Magic expand quickly into 3D production 

From the 1960s comics of Alfonso Wong to today’s on-screen adventures of Alice Mak’s McDull, Hong Kong’s illustrated creations have long been admired internationally. And, as the digital entertainment world has evolved over the last few decades, the local industry has kept pace with cutting-edge global developments in technology and style.

The limits of what can now be created have never reached so far, and the opportunities stretch from animation, to post-production work and such diverse industries as gaming and merchandising.

The rewards can be impressive. Last year saw one animated film (Toy Story 3) and another that relied heavily on computer-generated imagery (Alice In Wonderland) top the charts, each ringing in more than US$1 billion at the box office. Those sorts of returns have helped inspire the work of Hong Kong’s T-Films, according to Distribution and Production Manager Charlie Wong.

“Animation is a very special industry,” says Mr Wong. “You can say it is a film industry, an entertainment industry, a toy industry, a merchandising industry, and even a copyright branding industry. All these things are involved. And if you can make good-quality, original animation that is accepted by the worldwide market, then you can make huge revenues.”
Home-Grown Animation

While Asian cinemas have seen full houses for the latest offerings from such major players as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, the locals have been making their mark on the box office as well.

Mr Wong points to the success of the China-produced Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, which was widely released on the Chinese mainland in 2009 and rewarded with box-office returns that topped Rmb130 million. “And that’s without calculating the merchandising revenues,” says Mr Wong. “That's why we are in this business.”

Little Gobie

 Hong Kong’s Little Gobie is set for release this summer in the United States 

Hong Kong has had its own success stories, among them the McDull franchise, which has seen its films chart well, both in Hong Kong and on the mainland. “Hong Kong companies have two advantages,” says Mr Wong. “We have quality and experience, and the world sees us as the gateway to China.”

Mr Wong also cites the success of T-Film’s Little Gobie as an example of how these advantages can best be put to use. The film, which tells the tale of a reindeer and his search for his lost pet dragon, was picked up for international distribution by the American film studio Weinstein Company. It has also been selected to screen at seven festivals across the United States, picking up the award for best animated production at the California Film Awards last year.

“We are planning to release Little Gobie this summer in the US and, of course, European countries will be following the US market,” says Mr Wong. “This can prove to the world that Hong Kong has the quality and experience to produce good animation.”

As Hong Kong productions are allowed on the mainland market through the Hong Kong-mainland Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), Mr Wong says that the local industry is primed for international interest – and investment. And, he says, success breeds success.

“There are now numerous worldwide distribution companies – including film distributors and toy distributors – interested in our second project, Flying Hero, which we will tentatively release in mid-2012. There are also Chinese and European animation houses keen to bring jobs to our studio. So it goes to show what can be done.” 


T-Films Production Manager Charlie Wong with the best animated production award for Little Gobie at the California Film Awards last year

Mr Wong cites the difficulty of luring investors to digital entertainment as one of the challenges faced by the industry. It’s not that the money isn’t there, he says, but due to its very nature, long-term investment is needed.

“You have to help them understand the industry,” he says. “Also, Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers and DreamWorks continue to make big and good-quality animation. This, of course, hits independent animation work. The only thing we can win with is the story and the culture of the country the work comes from,” he says. “In China, for example, there is a long historical and cultural background, so we should make use of this to make animation with good stories and work that includes aspects of the Chinese culture.”


Cross-Culture Success

 Percy Fung, Production Director of Hong Kong-based studio Digital Magic

While animation plays a dominant role in the digital entertainment industry, other opportunities abound. Post-production work and 3D effects and production are growth areas identified by Percy Fung, Production Director of the Film Magic, Digital Magic, i-Magic and Heavy Optical companies, which cover every aspect of digital entertainment.

“Hong Kong companies’ creativity is well-placed within the digital entertainment industry,” Mr Fung says. “Entrepreneurs here react fast to the market, to new technology and to the needs of the market, especially in China and other Asian countries. There is a great demand for content, and we have a proven record of success in crossing cultures.”

Mr Fung is also Chairman of Hong Kong’s Association of Motion Pictures Post-Production Professionals (AMP4), which is hosting the fourth Digital Visual Effects Summit, 22 March, as part of the annual Hong Kong Entertainment Expo. The summit will focus on changes in the international digital entertainment industry and opportunities available for Hong Kong enterprises. 

Mr Fung cites Digital Magic as an example of how a Hong Kong company can pick up on trends in the digital entertainment world and expand its own operations.

“We sought out innovative technological developments through well-advanced research,” he says. “This paid off, as when the market was ready to work with innovations, we had already become familiar with the technology.”

That’s why, he says, the company has been able to expand its work in 3D, which is seen by many as the future of the film industry.

“It has been a big area of growth for us,” says Mr Fung. “With our own 3D camera system design, we have been able to accomplish 3D filming services for local and Asian producers. That goes to show what is possible if you are prepared to embrace this new technology.”

September 29 2010: HK film eyes Oscar nomination

A local film that raised public concern about preserving the historic old Wing Lee Street, in Sheung Wan, was picked yesterday to represent Hong Kong among films from which five nominees will be chosen to battle for the Oscar for best foreign-language film at next year's Academy Awards. Echoes of the Rainbow, starring Simon Yam Tat-wah and Sandra Ng Kwan-yu, won a Crystal Bear Children's Jury prize at February's Berlin Film Festival, in Germany, and also four prizes - including best screenplay and best actor - at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards. The 1960s-set film - sponsored by the Hong Kong Film Development Council - tells the story of a shoemaker and his family, whose eldest son becomes ill with leukaemia. It was voted for unanimously by all 11 board members of the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong to run for the 83rd Oscars. Plans to redevelop the rundown street used in the film were shelved following the film's success. The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hold a screening of foreign films in the US next month before selecting the five final nominees for the ceremony on February 27. Producer Mabel Cheung Yuen-ting said: "I am very honoured the film will represent Hong Kong. But there's still a long way to go." Federation chairman Crucindo Hung Cho-sing said he was confident the film would be among the final five nominees. "It had good box office, was well-received by audiences and did well at festivals. It reflects the real life of lower classes in the 1960s and truly represents Hong Kong," he said.

San Francisco California USA - Wednesday - September 22 2010: Johnson Choi, President of Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce met with Roger Garcia, Executive Director of The Hong Kong International Film Festival and Robert Meyer to discuss wine and business collaborations.

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