Fox International Productions (FIP) president Sanford Panitch and the jury of the HAF/Fox Chinese Film Development Award discussed how filmmaking across the Greater China region has become more local at a round table yesterday.

Although mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan share language and culture, audiences in the three markets have different tastes.

“Each of us should focus on making our own movies – it’s impossible for filmmakers to merge the three markets,” said Wanda Media head of development Abe Kwong.

“It’s a conundrum because often the very thing that makes a film successful locally is the thing that prevents it from being international,” said Panitch.

Taiwanese filmmaker Giddens Ko (You Are The Apple Of My Eye) agreed that the priority should be to focus on making a good movie: “We first need to understand what we like ourselves rather than guessing what other markets will like.”

Ko, who recently turned producer on A Choo and Café Waiting Love, is gearing up to direct Kung Fu adapted from his own novel for FIP.

The film is one of three Chinese-language productions that Fox has scheduled to start shooting this year. One of the others is a Chinese remake of a Fox romantic comedy to be co-produced with Bona Film Group.

Panitch and the three jurors also discussed how the fast-growing China market is changing.

“It’s difficult to see through the China market and understand which movies will be a success,” said Hong Kong producer Mathew Tang, whose credits include romantic comedy Finding Mr Right and cop thriller Cold War. Both films were hits.

“We expected Cold War to do well but we were lucky with Finding Mr Right.”

The four HAF/Fox finalists pitched their projects to the jury yesterday and the winner will be announced tonight (March 26).