The Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FilMart) ended in high spirits on Friday night (Sept 26) with a screening of Media Asia's eagerly-awaited Infernal Affairs 2 and the welcome news that the market will take place in March from 2005.
FilMart organiser, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), announced that the market will be held in June 23-25 in 2004 and March 22-24 the following year. The date change means that Hong Kong's major film events will take place at around the same time from 2005.
Although dates have yet to be confirmed, the Hong Kong Film Awards and Hong Kong International Film Festival will take place from early April in 2005.
The TDC is also talking to the organisers of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) about some form of co-operation. The co-production and projects market was cancelled this year due to SARS, but may take place at the end of March 2004 if it secures government funding. The TDC is even considering holding a mini-market to coincide with HAF if it takes place next year.
This year, FilMart was visibly bigger and busier than in previous years. The three-day event had doubled its floor space at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and exhibitor numbers were up by 40% according to the TDC. Participants noted that the market had a wider range of international buyers and sellers and appeared to have shifted focus towards film away from TV. However, while the market was crowded on the opening day, corridor traffic had thinned to a trickle by Friday.
The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) was a major talking point at the market. The trade agreement between Hong Kong and China is expected to increase foreign investment in both territories' film industries. However, there are also fears that Hong Kong filmmakers will play safe with subject matter to appease mainland censors.