The EFM at the Gropius Bau

Source: Lia Darjes

The EFM at the Gropius Bau

A clash with Chinese New Year and the imminent launch of Hong Kong Filmart has resulted in a reduced presence from some parts of Asia at this year’s European Film Market (EFM).

It is hard to spot any Hong Kong exhibitor on the market floor of the Gropius Bau as sales and production companies from the territory are holding their latest lineups for Filmart, which begins on March 11, less than three weeks after EFM wraps.

Representatives of sales and acquisition company Golden Scene are at the EFM primarily as buyers, looking for new titles for theatrical distribution in Hong Kong, including for their own cinema.

Former Media Asia executive Fred Tsui, who established Hong Kong-based Moebius Entertainment in October 2022, has made the long journey to Berlin as a visitor to the market to meet key distributors, rather than hosting a booth for general meetings. Hong Kong-based Edko Films will skip EFM this year as it clashes with its own Chinese New Year release, Table For Six 2, which opened on February 9.

“It definitely feels quieter on the Asian seller front this year,” one buyer told Screen in Berlin. “I haven’t seen anyone from Hong Kong and when I did speak to a big company from Taiwan, they said ‘Let’s have a proper meeting at Filmart’. The timing means that many are holding their big announcements for Filmart in March.”

However, the Hong Kong Film Development Council has launched a major fund during the market to foster collaborations between the territory and Europe, with grants of up to $1.1m (HK$9m) available to eligible projects. A government-sponsored delegation comprising three producers and two rising directors from the territory are also in attendance and a Hong Kong Night event will take place on Sunday.

Strong presence from China and Taiwan

Elsewhere, it is also a bumper year for China at the Berlinale, with six feature films premiering in various sections at the festival. Among them, She Sat There Like All Ordinary Ones and The Great Phuket, both from Generation 14plus, are represented by Rediance and Parallax Films respectively. Both Chinese sales agents are gaining a strong foothold internationally and are setting up shop this year at Gropius Bau, one of EFM’s official locations.

Taiwan will be out in force. The Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) is bringing a delegation of more than 50 Taiwanese buyers and sellers to EFM under the Taiwan Pavilion, including Flash Forward Entertainment, Hope Content Marketing, Mandarin Vision, and Swallow Wings.

Hope Content Marketing will have its own booth for the first time at EFM. “Taiwanese cinema has become increasingly diverse in terms of themes and genres,” said Angel Wen Chen, CEO of the Taipei-based company.

“As we expand our business [from marketing and distribution] to international sales, we aspire to bring different types of Taiwanese films to international audiences and introduce more emerging Taiwanese filmmakers and their works abroad,”

The company will hold a market screening of Who’ll Stop The Rain, which premiered at Tokyo and Rotterdam, at the Marriott, the same venue as its market booth. Its first sales title was Goddamned Asura, Taiwan’s entry for the 2023 Oscars.

Elsewhere from Southeast Asia, Thai sales and production company Neramitnung Film will take up a stand at the Gropius Bau. Known for its genre works like 4 Kings and the upcoming Taklee Genesis, it has become a regular exhibitor at key markets.

Bangkok-based Diversion will be in Berlin for the European premiere of its sales title Oasis Of Now, without taking a market stand, while sales agents from South Korea and Japan are also well represented in Berlin.

Michael Rosser contributed to this report.