CY Leung's arts policy faulted for not providing the big picture

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 4:37am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said plenty about culture in his policy address - but some in the arts sector say his words do not add up to the comprehensive cultural policy the city needs.

Leung announced HK$150 million in new funding to train arts administrators and an extra HK$300 million for the CreateSmart Initiative to promote and develop creative industries.

In all, Leung devoted 1,771 words to culture in his speech on Wednesday, the most since the 2008 policy address, according to the concern group Hong Kong Culture Monitor. But the group said Leung failed to take a big-picture approach.

"The government needs to set clear objectives and assess the actual needs by conducting thorough research," said concern group member Leung Po-shan.

She said reviving the cultural commission scrapped in 2003 would be crucial in the run up to the creation of a culture bureau, which Leung promised in his election platform but which was not mentioned in his speech.

Arts Administrators Association chairwoman Connie Lam Suk-yee was glad to see the importance of arts administrators recognised. She said the West Kowloon Cultural District would put big demands on administrators, and training should be given to administrators at all levels.

Leung also announced that the government's cultural office CreateHK would launch a First Feature Film Initiative, offering cash to budding filmmakers.

Government sources say the initiative, with a budget of about HK$9 million, will offer three awards in two categories. HK$4 million will go to film-making professionals who have not made a full-length feature before, while two HK$2 million awards will go to students or recent graduates.

The awards will focus on films that are deemed commercially feasible, unlike separate film funding offered by the Arts Development Council.

Meanwhile, Ricky Wong Wai-kay of Hong Kong Television Network, one of three bidders who have waited almost three years for a decision on new free-to-air television licences, criticised Leung for not mentioning the possibility of new stations.