Golden Network Asia, one of only two specialist film sales companies from Hong Kong, has arrived at AFM with a busy slate and promise of further expansion following financial restructuring
Company principal Carrie Wong is currently finalising a raft of new finance that will allow the company to expand its activities into financing and co-production. Wong, who currently has backing from a local cable TV concern, is keeping quiet about the identity of the new investor. But she expects to be in a position to announce details in the next couple of months.
In particular, the new cash is expected to enable Golden Network to play an ever greater role in mainland China, which it sees as one of the fastest growing - but still barely tapped - sources of quality films for international markets. The new cash should also enable Wong to co-invest in a new, big-budget picture by Golden Network-regular Fruit Chan.
Top of the new-comers on the AFM slate is Ong-Bak, a big action drama from Thailand and director Prachya Pinkaew. Produced by leading firm Sahamongkol Film International and Baa-Ram-Ewe, Ong-Bak is one of the first films to highlight the Muay Thai, a little seen form of martial arts native to Thailand. It stars Tony Ja, a martial arts specialist who does all his own stunts and eschews all wire work. The film has gone down a treat with local audience, notching up $1.5m at the local box office and ranking ahead of Catch Me If You Can on its opening week. Golden Network's campaign for the film begins with a private screening.
Wong is also giving two AFM screenings to My Life As McDull, an animated feature which won the Hong Kong International Film Festival last year. The picture, which is based on a hugely popular comic book series, is already drawing strong Asian interest. Golden Network expects to close deals for China, Thailand and Singapore in the next days.