Filmmakers told to seek mainland funds
Hong Kong filmmakers should explore more co-operation with their mainland counterparts instead of asking for government help to revive the declining local film industry, according to Golden Harvest Entertainment managing director Phoon Chiong-kit.
Mr Phoon, a former investment banker, said Hong Kong's role should be as manager of funds and risk while mainland filmmakers can provide money and talent.
'Hong Kong needs bankable talent to invest in the film industry,' Mr Phoon said. 'The movie industry in Hong Kong hit bottom last year and can't go lower.'
Hong Kong's movie industry, once dubbed the 'Hollywood of the East', has been in decline over the years on growing popularity of home entertainment as well as piracy.
Chinese productions, however, are gaining international accolades, including top awards at this year's Berlin and Venice film festivals.
Still, increasing cost has prompted many local studios, including Golden Harvest, to cut productions and focus on cinema operations.
'The industry faces shrinking revenue but the cost base remains at a high level. The salaries for artists are still very high and no investor can afford to invest in new movies,' Mr Phoon said.
Industry data showed box office revenue in 2006 fell by about 13 per cent. As a result, local filmmakers have been seeking government help - a move that Mr Phoon does not support.
'Veteran filmmakers met government officials and asked for help but they don't have any idea on how to transform the industry,' Mr Phoon said. 'They are only transferring the risk to the government - this is not the way to help the industry rebound.'