Hong Kong’s film industry is expected to benefit from new measures Beijing has unveiled to ease restrictions to the mainland movie market.
Speaking to media before attending a regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said central authorities have agreed in principle to five measures to further facilitate the entry of Hong Kong films and film practitioners into the mainland market.
The measures include removing the restrictions on the number of Hong Kong people participating in mainland film productions, and lifting the limit on the percentage of Hong Kong artistes and requirements for mainland-related plots in joint film productions, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Fees for establishing co-production projects will be waived, and Hong Kong films and film practitioners will also be allowed to take part in mainland film festivals.
Moreover, Hong Kong film companies will be allowed to apply for incentives for distributing and promoting outstanding mainland motion pictures and mainland-Hong Kong co-productions in Hong Kong, Macau and overseas.
“We are responding to their aspirations and now managed to get the support of the central authorities,” Lam said.
Lam promised that the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) will follow up on the new measures with the hope that they will materialize as soon as possible.
The chief executive said Hong Kong is proud of its freedom of expression and welcomed filmmakers to make use of this freedom to produce a wide range of films.
The news came a day before a film industry delegation, accompanied by representatives of the CEDB, is set to fly to Beijing to meet with relevant authorities.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah told media there is huge potential for the Hong Kong film industry to further develop in the mainland market.
He urged the local film industry to “tap the new measures, while continuing to leverage existing advantages, to expand in mainland and overseas markets and further promote the brand of ‘Hong Kong films’.”
Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, chairman of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, said the new measures will encourage the local film industry to more aggressively participate in film productions in the mainland and thus contribute to the development of the nation’s film industry.
Lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok, who is representing the functional constituency of sports, performing arts, culture and publication, said the new measures will help reduce the burden on film investors and encourage them to invest more.
Eric Tsang Chi-wai, honorary president of the Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild, called the new measures great news.
The Hong Kong actor and film producer said he expects to see the number of Hong Kong-made movies increase 10 percent a year as a result of the new measures, as he stressed the mainland censorship system will be respected.
Tsang is also executive chair of an association to help people in the local film industry develop in the mainland.
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