Film focus under fire

Louis Won

THE Government lacks the sincerity to help develop Hong Kong's film business, representatives of the industry said yesterday.

Their remarks came after Secretary for Recreation and Culture James So Yiu-cho said there was no need to establish a Film Commission with statutory status to help promote Hong Kong films and to support the development of the industry.

At yesterday's Legislative Council recreation and culture panel meeting, Mr So said various government departments supported the industry, providing shooting locations and promoting Hong Kong as a prime location. He said the Government had planned to form an inter-departmental working group to co-ordinate the various departments' assistance to the industry.

'The working group will serve the same purpose as a Film Commission and there is no need to waste resources to set up such a body,' he said.

'The Government will welcome the industry setting up its own Film Commission as a body to represent the industry, but the Government will not participate.' However, representatives of the film industry said the Government did not offer much help to film producers in providing locations for shooting.

Gordon Chan Ka-seung from the Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild said directors preferred not to inform police where they would shoot their films because they believed the police would prevent them doing so.

He said there should be a Film Commission with statutory status to push the Government to change its attitude and help development of the film industry.

Zuni Icosahedron's Mathias Woo Yan-wai said the Film Commission would only be a pressure group if it was not a statutory body.