The film industry finally won its decade-long fight yesterday as Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen promised to set up a film development council for Hong Kong. The industry welcomed the government's decision, despite the fact that it was first proposed to the government in the early 1990s when the industry was still flourishing. It hopes the council will be a statutory body, with status equal to that of the Arts Development Council or Tourism Board and that it will include professionals from the creative side of the industry. The council will support the secretary for commerce, industry and technology, who will co-ordinate policies ranging from staff training to overseas promotion and filming support. Mr Tsang said the government would consider a study commissioned by the Film Development Committee which proposed it help potential filmmakers or small- and medium-sized film studios. A government spokeswoman said it was hoped the council would be set up in the first half of next year. Likely running costs are unknown. The spokeswoman said film-related policies were currently handled by various bodies, including the Home Affairs Bureau, Education and Manpower Bureau and the Trade Development Council. She said the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority would call related government bureaus and departments to discuss the details in the next few months. The industry first proposed the setting up of a council in early 1992 but this was rejected by the Executive Council in 1993. In those days, the industry was producing around 300 films a year, compared with around 50 now. Last year, before the policy speech, the industry submitted another proposal for the establishment of a film council. Nansun Shi, a member of the Film Development Committee, hoped the council would be a statutory body that handled all related policies and development work. She said the results of the committee's report would be announced by the end of December and by then the government would have a clearer idea of what should be done. Ms Shi said professionals from various backgrounds should be invited to join the council, such as educationalists to advise on educating young people in film appreciation, as well as finance and culture specialists. John Chong Ching, spokesman for the Film Industry Response Group, said the council should resemble the Tourism Board and take over all film-related policies and functions currently carried out by different departments. Cheung Tung-joe, vice-chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, said the council should take a lead from countries such as Britain and France.