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Seminar Explores Hong Kong-Japan Collaborations
in the Entertainment Industry

27June 2008 - Senior representatives from the Japanese government and the Japan Association for International Promotion of Moving Images (UNIJAPAN) announced Japan's new plans aimed at promoting international co-operation among Asian filmmakers at the "Hong Kong & Japan: Collaboration Opportunities in the Entertainment Industry" seminar in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The seminar, which also discussed co-productions and joint venture opportunities between the two economies, was jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the Hong Kong Film Development Council (HKFDC) and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

During the seminar's keynote address, Director of Media and Content Industry Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, METI, Yasuhiro Maeda announced two new policies at the seminar which was held in Hong Kong.

Mr Maeda said the first is known as the "Asia Content Initiative", a set of guidelines on how to create a base of value-sharing between content creators and content consumers. He explained that the second policy, "Strategic Technology Roadmap" sets out technological targets that lead to new demand for products and services.

"It is notable that the conventional approach and needs of the content industry have changed," said Mr Maeda.

"Nowadays, it has to be a 'pull' approach rather than 'push' approach. The content has to be user-oriented in addition to creator-oriented. We hope discussion with an Asian viewpoint will be promoted and we will adjust our strategy to meet the changing situation of different markets."

Mr Maeda also stressed the concept and importance of having a "story" to tell, given the current fusion of technologies which allows users to enjoy movies, animation, games and music in multiple ways.

Mr Takashi Nishimura, Deputy Director of UNIJAPAN said that Hong Kong enjoys a number of key advantages in developing both the content and technology of entertainment.

"We are glad to see that intellectual property rights are well-protected here," he said.

Wellington Fung, Secretary-General of the Film Development Council and Film Development Fund, also noted that Japan is an important influence on Hong Kong's movies, music, TV dramas, animation, toys and games. Technological advancement is important, he said, because of the growing demand for it in producing entertainment content.

"It is time to look at filmmaking with a new vision," said Mr Fung. "With the crossover of different media, filmmaking has moved into the digital age which requires expansion in the scope of content development."

Mr Fung talked about the great potential of the China market and Hong Kong's strategic role in the area of filmmaking collaboration, adding that co-productions are a growing industry trend.

"It is time for China to march out, to present her culture to the world," he said. "Hong Kong's film industry has numerous advantages and with the current CEPA arrangements, it certainly can be the gateway to facilitate cross-country collaboration," Mr Fung added.

Li Qiankuan, Chairman and Director of China Film Foundation, said that interest in films is gaining momentum on the Chinese mainland. He said that in addition to the growing number of film houses and screens, interest is being spearheaded by the proliferation of mobile projection units that serve villages in the Chinese mainland.

Mr Li agreed that the Hong Kong film industry embraces various advantages in the areas of talent, production, marketing and finance. "Hong Kong will be instrumental in bringing Asia's film industry to a new phase, as well as becoming the bridgehead for China to bring its industry to the world stage," he said.

During the panel discussion, John Chong, Executive Director and President of Media Asia Group Ltd, shared his experience in the production of the film, "Initial D". He advised counterparts to take note of the differences and similarities in commercial and cultural practises when collaborating with Japan so that negotiation and partnership can proceed smoothly.

The Chairman and CEO of Kadokawa Holdings Inc., Mr Tsuguhiko Kadokawa and the Director of Salon Films (HK) Ltd, Mr Fred Wang, who is also the Honorary Secretary of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, also attended the seminar. They both agreed with Mr Chong, who said that he believed mutual respect is the most important aspect of film co-productions and co-ventures.

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Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, visit www.hktdc.com


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