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Hong Kong movie industry welcomes reported film commissioner post

Hong Kong movie industry welcomes reported film commissioner post

Hong Kong movie industry officials Thursday welcomed a reported government plan to appoint a film commissioner and fund local productions, but also urged authorities to combat film piracy outside the territory.
Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper reported Thursday that Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang will announce in a policy address Wednesday plans to launch a film commissioner's office and to back local movie productions to revive the territory's struggling film industry.
The government currently guarantees bank loans to movie production houses and funds film awards ceremonies and movie courses.
Industry officials said the possible new measures will help, but said any eventual film commissioner had to ensure copyright protection in other parts of Asia and channel resources to new directors and actors.
"It serves as encouragement to the industry. It will boost the industry's confidence to invest," said Woody Tsung, chief executive of the Hong Kong, Kowloon & New Territories Motion Picture Industry Association.
He said government funding will help Hong Kong film makers compete with counterparts from other countries who already enjoy it.
Tsung said he hopes the film commissioner will lobby other governments to crack down on piracy of Hong Kong movies.
"It's quite a headache for movie companies to spend a lot of money or resources to deal with copyright issues in foreign countries during the Hong Kong film industry's recession ... This is not what we movie companies are best at. We're talking about negotiating with foreign governments and law enforcement in foreign countries," he said.
"The government can do these things," Tsung said.
Hong Kong's film industry has slumped in recent years. In the mid-1990s, it churned out about 300 movies a year. By last year, production was down to about 50.
Instead, local film makers are turning to regional co-productions with China and South Korea.
Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong Chairman Crucindo Hung said government funding should be used to educate the next generation of film makers.
"The most important thing is for the government to use its funding to cultivate newcomers," he said.
"Very few new directors or actors have emerged in the last eight or 10 years," Hung said.
Jacqueline Cheuk, a spokeswoman for Tsang, declined to confirm the Apple Daily report, saying Tsang's office does not comment on speculative reports.
Tsung added Hong Kong film makers realize they cannot rely on the government in the long run.
"In the long run, the industry has to work hard to find new actors and write better scripts so that it can compete," he said.


Updated : 2021-07-30 13:22 GMT+08:00