After two days of well-attended seminars and meetings, the first Asia PacificFilm Policy Forum closed yesterday at the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) with a joint declaration tocontinue holdingthe event,and to jointly promote the film and media industries within the region.

Around 37 representatives from 14 countries agreed to make the forum a regular meeting place for Asia's government level policy-makers. 'We will make every effort to create a common ground to promote more collaborative work in film-related industries by sharing human resources, education exchange and developing content,' said the delegates inthe declaration.

Delegates also seemed to agree that production incentives are necessary to lure US and European productions to shoot in Asia.

Traditionally, Asia has not provided much in the way of soft money or incentives for international filmmaking. But the general tone of meetings at the forum was that the region should consider policies such as tax rebates and staff support as part of a mission to 'sell Asia'.

Delegates also said they would strengthen the function of film commissions across the region. Japan, for example, has promised to launch the Japan Film Commission which will congregate the current 100 regional film commissionsacross the country (see separate story).

China and Vietnam, which currently do not have film commissions at either a national or regional level, are also consideringestablishing them,said La Peikang, deputy director of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), and Nguyen The Thanh from Ho Chi Minh City's Service of Culture and Information.

Held as a parallel event with the Busan International Film Commission and Industry Showcase (BIFCOM), the Asia-Pacific Film Policy Forum examined trends and methodsfor shifting Hollywood production to Asia.

Michael Lake, former executive vice president at Village Roadshow and now president of WWE Studios, expressed faith in Asia's future position in the global film industry.

He pointed out that the number of remakes of Asian projects is slowing - around 22 Asian films were remade into Hollywood films in 2005, but there were only 13 so far this year. However, Asian industries are beginning to develop projects based on Hollywood films.

Co-production within the region is becoming more prevalent, with projects such as Gordon Chan's Painted Skin and John Woo's Red Cliff, and will soon become the norm as it is in Europe, Lake said.

'The next step will be to find productions which work in both the Asia market and the US market,' he added.

Location manager and former Warner Bros location executive Bill Bowling gave useful tips to Asian industries on attracting international productions. He pointed out that financial incentives, state support and cost-efficient platforms are the biggest draws for US studios.

'Think digital for production, for distribution and for post-production and make films for multiple media,' he said. With the technology used today, he added, 'films made in studios with green screens like 300 and Speed Racer could have been made anywhere in the world'. The former was filmed in Canada and latter in Germany.

'Asia needs to get on the incentives map,' he said, adding thatquality visual effects talent is Hollywood's greatest need.

Bowling also pointed out censorship, protection of intellectual property and corruption are problem areas that Asia needs to deal with. Censorship in the script approval stage and too many bureaucratic procedures will work against some Asian countries in attracting international projects, he said.

This year's BIFCOM hosted booths from 61 companies including newcomers such asthe Taipei Film Commission, Honolulu Film Office and the Royal Film Commission of Jordan. BIFCOM organisers reported that there were 460 meetings set up during the three-day showcase.