Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART) is Asia’s largest film exhibition, and an annual event for the international film and television industry. FILMART has entered its 20th year, having been established by the Hong Kong Trade Development Center (HKTDC). FILMART 2016 will be held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center from March 14 to 17.
After 20 years of development, FILMART has become a cross-media and cross-industry platform for film, television, and trade. By promoting business cooperation between Asia and global markets in multiple fields such as film financing, distribution, production, post-production, TV, digital entertainment, video equipment, and shooting venues, it is highly regarded within the international film industry. With a huge potential market available for film production in Asia, an increasing number of overseas and Asian film and television organizations have begun to regard FILMART as a must-see annual event. It is an important trading platform for the industry, and has established Hong Kong’s status as a regional centre for the trade and distribution of film projects. With the support of filmmakers from all walks of life, FILMART has grown in size to accommodate the international market, and has become Asia’s largest international trading market for film and television products, second only to the time-honoured Cannes Film Market. Over the years, FILMART has adhered to the following concept: to promote film, TV, and entertainment products, to boost cross-media and cross-industry commercial partnerships, and to support the development of the entertainment industry in Hong Kong and Asia.
A Grand Event
This year’s FILMART has attracted around 800 companies from 35 countries and regions to participate. In addition to major Hong Kong film companies, many overseas nations and regions will set up pavilions at FILMART to promote their local entertainment products, including the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Pavilions will be set up for regions including the Middle East, Cambodia and the Macao Special Administrative Region for the first time.
This year, the number of exhibitors from Mainland China is the highest ever. Several provinces will have regional pavilions, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, and Hangzhou. Chongqing will appear for the first time.
Digital entertainment promotion is a highlight of FILMART. More than 30 Hong Kong Digital Entertainment companies will be present at the Hong Kong Animation & Digital Entertainment Pavilion sponsored by Creative Hong Kong, to showcase their latest services, such as 2D and 3D animation, digital effects, cell phone apps, mobile games, multimedia design, and market promotion. More than 200 of this year’s FILMART exhibitors (including the Animation & Digital Entertainment World) are engaged in the production of digital entertainment, including related companies from France, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand.
There will also be numerous exchange activities, workshops, film conferences, and test screenings, designed to promote information exchange within the film industry and create more opportunities for cooperation. Forums held during FILMART this year will be diverse in both subjects and fields. Multiple film industry-themed forums will be organized with various institutions. A number of prominent representatives from the fields of film, television, digital entertainment, post-production, animation, and music will be invited to serve as guest speakers, including the producers of the movies Taken, The Bullet Vanishes, and Mad Max, and the animations Monster Hunt, One Piece, McDull, and Attack of the Titans.
Thanks to Hong Kong film industry’s growing heft over the years, FILMART is now bridging cultural gaps between East and West. It offers a platform for local film companies to showcase their services in movies, TV content, and digital entertainment, and make their way to the huge Chinese mainland market. It also allows domestic producers, television producers, and animation companies to meet overseas buyers, promote film and television production, share business experience, and boost the rapid development of related industries in Mainland China.
As FILMART’s influence has expanded in recent years, its reputation on the Mainland has grown. In 2015, a record of over 190 exhibitors from Mainland China participated. According to statistics, FILMART 2015 attracted visitors from 54 countries and regions with more than 7,000 participating buyers. Overseas presence increased by 8% on a year-on-year basis. The number of buyers from Indonesia, Japan, and Taiwan saw double-digit growth. Participants remarked that FILMART’s large scale and high standards had allowed them to benefit from communication with film professionals from Hong Kong and abroad.
“We’ve come here seven years in a row, because it is helpful to promote our work abroad,” said Ou Huiying, Commissioner of the Public Relations Department at Creative Power Entertaining (CPE), who participated in FILMART last year. Many film companies from Mainland China regard the exhibition as a gateway to the overseas market. FILMART attracts more overseas film producers than other Asian film events. Travelling to Hong Kong for business negotiation is a lot more cost-effective than flying to Cannes, France.
In 2015, the Guangdong Motion Picture Industry Association set up a regional pavilion at FILMART for the first time, and sent a delegation. “In the past, companies simply put their backs into working, while failing to understand what the international market really needed. Or, even if they wanted to go global, they had no idea how to do it,” said Lin Xiping, President of the Guangdong Motion Picture Industry Association. By participating in FILMART, film companies from Mainland China have more opportunities to keep in touch with overseas buyers. “Understanding the demands of the overseas market and participating in international trade is the simplest and most direct way,” said Lin.
Other Guangdong film companies have benefitted from participating in FILMART 2015, including TV drama production enterprises. In the past, people believed that TV dramas with realistic themes were the most profitable, until they came to FILMART. The reality is that overseas viewers are more interested in historical and cultural themes. Lin Xiping believes that film companies from Mainland China can connect to the international market through participating in FILMART, which can offer guidance for future development, and promote China’s cultural output.
As FILMART expands year by year, it attracts an increasing number of exhibitors and visitors. Its themed activities and thoughtful supporting services enhance the professional standards of the exhibition itself. FILMART has built a business platform for the film industry while considering trends in Asia and global markets. Every move FILMART makes becomes a benchmark for the future development of the film industry through communication and discussion.
Dubbed the ‘Cannes of the East’, FILMART is a major platform for Asian film and television organisations to release new work and announce development strategies. During FILMART 2015, over 70 professional seminars, film conferences, and exchange activities were held. Film companies including TVBI’s Shaw Brothers Limited, Media Asia Film, Mei An Entertainment Group, and Emperor Motion Pictures announced new film projects for the coming year at FILMART. Forums at FILMART 2016 will be diverse. In the movie sector, a forum entitled ‘From the Local to the Global: In Conversation with Producers From Around the World’ will be held to discuss professional filmmaking. In the television sector, ‘Belt & Road: Business Opportunities for the Global TV Industry’ will be held. The digital entertainment sector will host ‘Expert Dialogues: How to Present Ideas in the Digital Era’, during which the latest technical information will be provided. Speakers will brief the audience on the latest developments in the digital entertainment industry. In the animation sector, a forum called ‘How can a small/medium size animation studio be successful in the global market?’ will offer advice to Chinese and Asian animation companies. A forum organised by China Daily will focus on the globalisation of China’s film industry and pinpoint the potential of Chinese film and television.
Built upon last year’s success, FILMART 2016 will continue to develop and flourish as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. It is inarguably the best business and communication platform for industrial investors who pay close attention to the Chinese and Asian markets, and who have a vested interest in the future of the Asian film industry as it goes global.
Other forums include:
- [Movies] From the Local to the Global: In Conversation with Producers From Around the World
- [Movies] Seminar for IP Film Development and Operation
- [Movies] Globalization in China’s Film Industry: Opportunities for the World
- [TV] Belt & Road: Business Opportunities for the Global TV Industry
- [Digital Entertainment] Expert Dialogues: How to Present Ideas in the Digital Era
- [Animation] How can a small/medium size animation studio be successful in the global market?
- [Music] K-POP Legend－Korean Pop Music Creates New Opportunities for Asia