Mar 24
FIVE DAYS IN HONGKONG FILMART by webmaster  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Mar 24, 2006

The booth of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Film Academy of the Philippines at the recently concluded Hongkong Film Market which was held at Hall 5 of the HK Convention Center had a steady flow of interested foreign buyers and film market enthusiasts.

The booth was strategically located beside those of Malaysia and France and a stone’s throw away from the Speakers’ Hall. Our delegate-representatives from Regal Entertainment Inc. and GMA Films, Imus Productions and Enchanted Kingdom worked harmoniously in setting up the booth and entertaining the buyers and exhibitors who visited us.

Viva Films sales agent Ferdinand Lapuz and digital film director Brilliante ‘Dante’ Mendoza whose films Kaleldo, Siquijor and Masahista were successfully screened at the HK Filmart frequented our booth. Having attended several international filmfests where they sold their film projects, they said, speaking from experience, that it is important to know which film will work in each particular market. They also advised us on how to price said films.

Manet Dayrit of Roadrunner Inc. expressed her desire to produce an integrated marketing AVP omnibus for the next international filmart to showcase Filipino films in one CD-Rom to be given out as our marketing material. Unico had a booth located quite a distance from the FDCP-FAP booth.

Animation Council of the Philippines had a much bigger booth inasmuch as seven animation groups integrated their participation and efforts. What they did drew inspiration for an integrated effort in future filmarts where our info campaign to attract foreign filmmakers and companies to shoot their films in the Philippines.

The HK filmart proved beyond doubt that there is a great interest for Filipino Television series and films, like Mulawin the Movie, Exodus, local horror films and telenovelas. This is particularly true among our Asian neighbors like Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Thailand.

Toronto, Berlin, Italy and Turkey have developed an appreciation for our crafts as well. Buyers from Turkey said that they have purchased TV rights for Filipino soap opera Kay Tagal Kitang Hinintay (I’ve Waited So Long for You) from ABS-CBN. The delegates from Turkey negotiated with GMA 7’s Joey Abacan regarding the TV rights for Mulawin. They are negotiating for the actual price of the TV rights.

Horror films like Regal Entertainment Inc.’s” Shake Rattle & Roll 5 and Sigaw are very much in demand in Italy and Toronto. For the Italian contingent, directors Erik Matti and Joyce Bernal are very popular. The Italians informed us that the two directors’ works were well-received during their film screenings in Italian-based filmfests. Actor comedian Vhong Navarro is a favorite in Italy, especially for his Gagamboy another Erik Matti film produced by Regal Entertainment Inc. Next month, Imus Productions and Reality Entertainment Inc.’s Exodus will be screened at the same film festival in Italy.

Marlon Bautista of Imus Productions met with Screen Magazine correspondent Stephen Cremin (an active participant in Cannes, Berlin, Pusan and AFM) who is excited to view local fantasy films.

Actor Jericho Rosales and actress Kristine Hermosa turned out to be very popular in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Buyers from said countries actually visited the FDCP-FAP booth, inquiring about them. This is welcomed news for our industry because films showcasing these stars, and possibly some others, are assured of being patronized in these Asian centers. This will indeed open more opportunities for our industry abroad.

Fantasy, romance and horror genre films are popular in Toronto. Several buyers visited our booth and met with Regal Entertainment Inc.’s Mother Lily Monteverde and daughter Roselle M. Teo, GMA Films’ Joey Abacan, Imus Productions’ Marlon Bautista and Enchanted Kingdom’s Jeng dela Torre.

The programmers for Cannes Films Stephen and Georgia, who are Filipino film aficionados, enthused that the Cannes Film Festival is a market for all kinds of genres. They explained that our stellar directors like Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal (both National Artist for Film and both deceased) are still well received in the classic division (as expressed by Pierre Risssent) but they are also looking for young directors to showcase their films in the contemporary division. Stephen volunteered to help us choose which film will suit which film market. If we could organize screenings of films with English subtitles, he promised to come to Manila on his own expense to view them to be able to advise us properly.

If packaged properly, some of our movies can command a sizeable amount of money. We were told the film Sigaw could fetch million dollars in sales.

Here are the other highlights of our fruitful participation in the just-concluded HK Filmart:

During the gala opening of the HK Filmart, we were told that trailers that were shown as premium movies of Hongkong for this year were relatively inferior if compared to our local films.

Methodology for international film financing by the HK government and Standard Charter Bank (which does content financing for film) was presented at the HAF forum. Our producers can pitch their projects via prospectus which will then be evaluated by the HAF board for financing possibilities.

Officials of a company based in Singapore, Pics Can Fly, approached us looking for co-production possibilities. Their concept is a film on a treasure hunt in Southeast Asia. The treasure hunt will take them to different countries where current local stars will play integral characters in their respective countries. The Singapore government has pledged to take care of 30 percent of the project cost.

Roger Garcia of Modern Film Productions, an organizer of the Cannes, Berlin and other filmfests, suggested that we join the Pusan Filmart in Korea in October, the AFM in November and the Berlin Filmart in February next year and eventually the Cannes film festival and market. He said it is advisable to integrate our efforts, invite as many producers to sell their films to have a bigger booth or pavilion where Filipino films and TV productions, as well as allied services of the Philippines, can be showcased. We were advised to sponsor cocktails for the buyers. We could facilitate sales for Filipino producers by business matching, by making marketing materials of foreign producers available to the local film market in return. We were told that the Toronto filmfest is more of an exhibitors’ market rather than a seller’s market although commercial exhibition can result in sales sometimes

Because of what we learned and discovered during the five-day filmart, we initially come up with a plan of action that might prove effective in selling Filipino films and TV shows abroad. The plan will include the following measures:

–Coordinate with Tourism Sec Ace Durano for the next International Filmart or Filmfest for more government support.

–Coordinate with the particular Philippine Embassy in the country where the international filmart or filmfest will be held for a better perspective of what to expect.

–Market the Philippines as an exotic and cheap place to make movies by researching on the foreign movies which were filmed in Philippine locations through the years to attract other foreign film companies to do their shooting here.

–Study which Filipino films can be sold and exhibited in the particular market abroad where they have the chance of being sold, like Pusan (Korea), Cannes (France), Los Angeles (USA), Berlin (Germany), Shanghai (China). In Shanghai, airfare and hotel accommodation expenses are free for films chosen for official competition.

–Widen and expand participation in the HK Filmart by scheduling more film screenings with English subtitles, thus attracting foreign buyers and exhibitors

–Incorporate selling of rights for Filipino film and TV productions in the international filmarts in possible symposia or sessions..