Film-makers will have an easier time securing loans and investment if a US financing company realises its plans to set up business in Hong Kong soon. The completion-bond company, CineFinance, plans to be Hong Kong's first underwriter for film projects. Fred Milstein, president of the Los Angeles-based company, said he was considering establishing an operation in the next few months. 'We have a lot of interest in Hong Kong, which has a well-established film industry with a lot of new, young producers and directors.' Mr Milstein, former executive vice-president of Miramax Films, was speaking after a visit to the SAR two weeks ago during which he met local film insiders. 'I have talked to a number of producers and we are definitely planning to do something,' he said. 'We called [the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority] two weeks ago to say we wanted to come to Hong Kong.' Mr Milstein said independent film-makers, who are often short of financial support, would benefit most from the presence of a completion-bond company, which acts like an insurer to guarantee the completion of a film. To acquire back-up from the company, a film-maker has to submit details on the film project, including budget and completion date. Should the film fail to be completed as planned, the company will take over the production. With the company's support, film-makers can have a higher credit rating for securing bank loans or investor funds. 'Bringing in this financial infrastructure will help [the Hong Kong film industry] continue to grow to an international level,' Mr Milstein said. Joe Cheung Tung-joe, honorary president of the Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild, said the presence of film underwriters was vital to the growth of the industry, which is still struggling to emerge from nearly a decade of recession. 'Local banks are very conservative as far as offering loans are concerned,' he said. 'They don't want to bear risk for anything relating to art or creativity. We hope the Government will advocate the idea [of a completion bond], which is commonplace in the West.' Commissioner of Television and Entertainment Licensing Eddy Chan Yuk-tak said the authority would invite foreign completion-bond companies - including Mr Milstein's - to a seminar in June. 'We will study the problems faced by film-workers and look at how to make things easier for them,' he said. 'One thing we've been doing is to hold talks with the industry on a regular basis and seminars to explore new sources of funding for film-making.'