Hong Kong's new chief executive Donald Tsang has outlinedplans to set up a film development board to support the territory's ailing filmindustry.

Speaking in his first policyaddress on Wednesday, Tsang said the board would improve government consultationwith the Hong Kong film industry, review its present conditions andfuture opportunities and formulate a development plan.

The board will take over thework of the existing Film Services Advisory Committee (FSAC), chaired bySecretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology John Tsang, which the filmindustry has argued has a limited remit.

The Hong Kong film industry has been calling for a film development board for morethan a decade.

The Hong Kong government - and its predecessor the British colonial government - havehad a hands-off approach towards the film industry although some support isavailable through a range of government and quasi-government agencies such asthe Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA), the Hong Kong ArtsDevelopment Council (ADC) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).

At the end of last year, theindustry set up an emergency task force in response to falling productionnumbers and new forms of piracy including illegal downloading. The task forcesubmitted a proposal for a single body that would consolidate the film-relatedfunctions of the FSAC and other agencies.

Meanwhile, the FilmGuarantee Fund (FGF) - a fund administered by TELA which underwrites banksloans to film productions - has approved its latest loan guarantee of $340,000(HK$2.63m) to Mandarin Films' $10m Dragon Tiger Gate.

The FGF is underwriting aloan of $677,000 (HK$5.25m) from Citic Ka Wah Bank Limited. It's the ninthapproval since the fund was launched in April 2003. The maximum loan guaranteefor each film is 35% of the production budget or $340,000, whichever is less.