Film distribution deal off as UK-based firm bites the dust

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 July, 2008, 12:00am

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Media Asia has recently giveth and taketh away, too - but we doubt it's feeling particularly Christian. The Hong Kong film company had granted the overseas rights to its catalogue to speciality distributor Tartan Group, but now it has taken them all back because the indie label has gone out of business.

The British-based international company had been one of the biggest buyers and distributors of Asian films in recent years. In Britain, it had achieved a name for releasing Asian contemporary and cult classics. However, rumours of its mounting debt had been circulating.

Those suspicions became fact in May when its US office went into foreclosure right in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival, and the UK office closed its doors for good late last month.

For Media Asia, what was originally an opportunity to see its line of products including Infernal Affairs (pictured), Breaking News and A World without Thieves get worldwide DVD and cinematic release, suddenly ended with the door slamming it in the face. As a result, the group just announced through film-trade journals that it has cancelled the licence agreement with Tartan and the rights to the pictures have reverted back to Media Asia.

The global market remains an elusive destination for Hong Kong movies.