PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am

What is the best way to support the film industry?

The decision by the Film Development Council to ignore new talent in its first funds distribution will prove another setback to the industry in Hong Kong.

The council has chosen 'established' studios as the beneficiaries of its paltry support for the industry.

As the chairman of the I Shot Hong Kong Film Festival and chief executive of a Hong Kong-based production company, I firmly believe the government is compounding the mistakes that have caused the industry to slide to all-time lows here.

The film industry in every other Asian country is booming. Why? Because those country's governments and established studios are identifying new talent and supporting them through funding, education and local film festivals. That is not happening in Hong Kong. We are being left behind to the point where recovery seems only possible through mainland intervention.

In 1988, 350 films were made in Hong Kong; last year the figure was just 50. Audiences here have matured faster than the established industry and are eager for fresh faces and fresh ideas.

Government funding should focus on establishing world-class film education institutions, independent filmmaking, film festivals and other activities which promote filmmaking at a grass-roots level.

The I Shot Hong Kong Film Festival was established in 2005 and opened to the public last year in an attempt by its founders to help kick-start the industry. The festival culminated in two nights of screenings, before packed houses, of 20 locally-produced films. The wrap party and awards night at the Green Tea House sold out and raised HK$80,000 for charity.

The winning filmmakers received film equipment, time in a professional editing suite, editing courses and a professional contract.

Campaigns such as I Shot Hong Kong are the perfect tools to promote independent filmmaking here and internationally. These campaigns provide a platform for new talent to showcase their work here and overseas, yet the government departments and established studios we have contacted for support have eschewed any involvement.

If the industry is to rebound, it will need rebuilding from the ground up and that means supporting talent from the grass-roots level up.

Craig Leeson, Ocean Vista Films

Should all products declare their trans-fat content?

Hongkongers are becoming increasingly health-conscious. We are concerned about what food we eat.

I think it is appalling that so much food has trans-fats ('Popular snacks laden with disease-causing trans-fats', October 16). Because of this, I think it is important that all products declare their trans-fat content.

Many Hong Kong people buy some form of bread from bakers for our breakfast. It may not be practical to have a content list with each item for sale. However, shops could provide leaflets listing the nutritional value of different items and customers could then make comparisons regarding trans-fat content.

I eat a pineapple bun every day, but I would not have done so if I had been aware of the high quantity of trans-fats in some buns.

McDonald's provides details of the content of its food. Other restaurants could do the same.

I intend to be far more selective now when it comes to choosing the food I eat, and to reverse any bad habits I once had.

Fanny Yu, Tseung Kwan O

How should we tackle teenage drug abuse?

There is no doubt that teens talking to teens is an effective strategy for educating adolescents about the challenges they face growing up, such as drugs, sexuality and eating disorders.

That is why the Kely Support Group organises peer support programmes in many forms, such as peer talks, as well as peer counselling training programmes.

These programmes are beneficial for many reasons. Peer educators have the opportunity to play a constructive role in the community, which may increase their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Some teenagers are more comfortable seeking information from a peer than from an adult, and because teens are typically around their peers more than adults, the information becomes more accessible.

A group of students is currently visiting schools, as part of the Youth Suicide Prevention Project. These students have had extensive training and are now addressing the topic of depression in schools to raise awareness on this deadly issue by informing them about coping skills and peer support.

For more information, please e-mail

Barbara Jansen, youth services co-ordinator, Kely Support Group

How can we promote a more caring society?

The vitality of society will depend on the vitality of its primary cell. The family is the first natural institution. Its rights and duties take precedence over any other social institution.

It is only with the help of others that a person can provide for his or her needs, both material and spiritual. On the other hand, the personal vocation of the individual is fulfilled by serving others, by putting at their disposal his or her talents and qualities.

The first and fundamental contribution of the family to society is the very experience of communion and sharing that should characterise the family's daily life.

The family fosters authentic and mature communion between people.

It can help strengthen broader community relationships, teaching respect, justice, dialogue and love.

It is the most effective means for humanising and personalising society.

Zita Lacangulo, Hung Hom

What do you think of the zero-carbon park?

It is interesting to see the support for the zero-carbon park to be built in Wong Tai Sin.

If you visit the site on Po Kung Village Road before they start building, you will see that it is a large area of grass with two cricket pitches.

Building the park - I do not understand why parks in Hong Kong need to be 'built' - will remove a great facility enjoyed by many people, not just cricketers, as well as destroying a large green lung. Any suggestion that this new park is zero-carbon is nonsense.

Andy Statham, North Point