Hong Kong will boost the subsidy assistance for locally-produced Cantonese films to HK$500,000 per film from the current level of HK$250,000, Financial Secretary John Tsang said Wednesday.
“Hong Kong’s Cantonese films have all along been well-received by audiences in mainland China and Southeast Asia,” Tsang said in his annual budget speech in the Legislative Council.
He noted that Guangdong province has a population of over 100 million, offering an extensive market for Cantonese films produced in Hong Kong.
Last year, the government injected HK$200 million into the Film Development Fund (FDF) and implemented a series of measures to promote local filmmaking and encourage young people aspiring to a film career to join the industry.
The First Feature Film Initiative (FFFI) was re-launched last year to provide funding to budding directors.
Tsang said the government will inject an additional HK$20 million into the FDF to subsidize the expenses incurred by locally-produced Cantonese films for distribution and publicity conducted in the mainland.
The Hong Kong Film Development Council will announce the details in due course, he said.
However, Tsang did not address the issue of problems faced by some Hong Kong filmmakers when it comes to accessing the mainland market, given the censorship regime there.
Ten Years, a 2015 Cantonese movie about Hong Kong’s future, has been banned in China. State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) and Internet giant Tencent.com have decided not to broadcast the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards as Ten Years has been nominated for best film.
“Hong Kong’s creative industries are well-established, blessed with immense development potential and a wealth of talents,” Tsang said in his budget speech.
The government will continue to support their healthy growth in line with market principles, he said.
In other comments, Tsang announced that the government will inject HK$400 million into the CreateSmart Initiative (CSI), which was set up in 2009, with priority given to supporting start-ups and nurturing talents.
Besides, authorities will set up a HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. The fund will co-invest with private venture capital funds on a matching basis.
In related initiatives, the Science Park will expand in stages to provide additional floor area of 70,000 square meters for startups and other technology companies by 2020.
The project cost, estimated at around HK$4.4 billion, will be borne jointly by the government and Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corp. (HKSTPC).
HKSTPC will continue to support start-ups through its Corporate Venture Fund and incubation programs. The Cyberport will earmark HK$200 million to invest in start-ups, Tsang said.
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