The 2023 edition of the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart) has re-established itself as the largest film trading market in the region, and the most influential, with organizers reporting that 700 exhibitors have taken residence inside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition for the gathering that runs through Thursday.
For the first in-person event since 2019, those organizers at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council are also confident that more than 9,000 buyers from all over the world will make the rounds this year, helping to re-stimulate the global film industry, post-pandemic, as normalcy returns and both box office and production numbers continue on the uptick both this year, and in the future. In keeping with the times, Filmart is also maintaining an online presence for those unable to make the trip to Hong Kong.
The China Film Co-production Corporation (CFCC) has set up China Film Pavilion front and center for this year’s event, presenting “multiple channels and forms such as exhibition booth, online promotion, themed videos and bilingual booklets.”
On show and in attendance also are representatives from Chinese film companies and the films they have both been making and have in various stages of pre-production.
“The China Film Pavilion at Filmart has provided a new platform and new opportunities for Chinese film institutions and relevant projects to enhance understanding and deepen cooperation with filmmakers and media professionals from all around the world. While it presents quality resources and tells the China story, the Pavilion will certainly attract more quality overseas film companies and film projects to pay attention to what’s going on in China,” a representative for CFCC said.
The pavilion’s presence at Filmart has been all about connecting the policies of the Chinese film industry with its counterparts, and potential partners, from the international filmmaking community, as well as showcasing the Chinese industry’s recent performance. “This will pave the way for domestic film institutions and relevant projects to go global,” the CFCC said.
It continues a promotional push that in the past year has seen the China Film Pavilion set up at three film festivals: the 26th Hong Kong International Film Festival, the 75th Cannes International Film Festival and the 27th Busan International Film Festival.
To those who have so far attended Filmart, the China Film Pavilion has helped promote the work of 31 film companies, among them China Film Co., Huaxia Film Distribution, Xiao Xiang Pictures, Bona Film Group and Omnijoi Media Co. Among the 76 films featured are a number of those box office successes, including The Wandering Earth 2, Full River Red, Born to Fly, The Belief and Nostalgia.
The China Film Pavilion has also been designed to encourage trade negotiations between interested parties and an area has been set aside for one-on-one meetings that aim to both match international filmmakers interested in the domestic Chinese film market, and in taking domestic Chinese cinema and its depictions of unique “Chinese cultural elements” out into international markets, according to CFCC.
The Chinese film market is coming off a 2023 Spring Festival season that recorded the second-highest box office for the season in history. Over the stretch of the weeklong Chinese family holiday period, box office takings soared past $1 billion (RMB 6.8 billion), which marked a climb of 12 per cent from results recorded in 2022. Those figures were driven by a number of successes including that of the Frank Guo-directed The Wandering Earth 2, which has collected so far more than $560 million (RMB 3.85 billion). Zhang Yimou’s period mystery Full River Red has meanwhile collected more than $650 million (RMB 4.41 billion) – marking it down as the world’s biggest box office hit of the year so far.
The Wandering Earth 2 has also been released into a number of international film markets, where it has become among the most successful Chinese films of recent years.
Fittingly, given these circumstances, the CFCC has reported “wide attention of exhibitors at home and abroad” as the China Film Pavilion has travelled. The same results have so far been enjoyed at Filmart where the China Film Pavilion has welcomed international filmmakers and exhibitors to “carry out face-to-face exchanges on site, with lively atmosphere.”
The past few years have seen a major shift in the way the world does its business and in keeping with this China Film Pavilion has showcased a “Multi-channel Promotion.” This has included positioning its exhibitions simultaneously online via both Filmart’s online platform and the China Film International Copyright Trading Platform.
To facilitate the sharing of information about the Chinese film market, the CFCC has produced bilingual booklets to explain the China Film Pavilion’s purpose and function while also introducing China-foreign film co-production policies and those of a number of Chinese film companies. There has also been produced a bilingual promotional video, highlighting the major success of the 2023 spring festival season with the aim, according to the CFCC, of introducing them to the world and promoting “international exchange and cooperation.”