Hong Kong's first consultancy to specialise in completion bonds made its bow at the Hong Kong Filmart, signalling a growing trend in the territory towards international co-productions and joint financing.
Film financing and Completion Bond Consultants (FFCBC), the entertainment arm of Hong Kong's Grande Insurance, will serve as a "one stop shop" to meet the specialised insurance needs of Hong Kong's film industry.
However, completion bonds - which require completed scripts and detailed shooting schedules and budgets - impose standards not traditionally adhered to by Hong Kong's producers, who tend to work at a frenetic pace.
To date, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the only Hong Kong co-production to have been financed through a completion bond. Other Asian films to have been funded this way include Clara Law's Goddess Of 1967 and Chen Kaige's The Emperor And The Assassin.
But FFCBC director Gilbert Shing expects demand for his company's services to rise in the next two or three years.
"Hong Kong audiences are demanding films with bigger budgets and better special effects and Crouching Tiger's success has made more international financiers interested in Asian films," said Shing. "If Hong Kong film-makers want some of that money, they have to have a completion bond. A bonded film shows to financiers that it's been well-planned."
The FFCBC and Grande Insurance source and arrange coverage through alliances with major insurance providers in London, the USA and Canada. Shing said that the FFCBC will provide services for budgets from $1.3m (HK$10m) to $25.6m (HK$200m).
FFCBC's clients include Wong Jing's BOB & Partners, Johnnie To's Milkyway Image, Tsui Hark's Film Workshop and Charles Heung's Chinastar Productions.
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