Australian film set to blaze Asian trail

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 12:00am


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Hong Kong might not seem the obvious place to sell a film about the issues facing a white family living in the Australian Outback, but actor Bryan Brown believes a good story has its own market.

He is in town with a group of Australian film industry representatives to entice delegates from the Hong Kong International Film and Television Market (Filmart) to take part in the process of getting Beautiful Kate - a film written and directed by Brown's wife, Rachel Ward - to market.

Brown will also produce and star in the film.

'You try to find those partners who are interested in what you're making and want to be a part of it,' he said. 'This is the first [Australian] film ever that's been accepted into this market that doesn't have any Asian content.

'That might make things difficult, we just don't know, but it's very good that something like this has been included.'

The inclusion of such films in the shortlist of projects for display at Filmart - where people from all corners of the industry are brought together under one roof - reflects a gradual evolution of the event from being narrowly focused on works from the immediate vicinity of the city to a more global outlook.

Angela Ho, manager of service promotion at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said the expansion of the geographic scope of the event reflected the growing interest of the rest of the world in work from this region. More than 30 countries are represented at the event and alongside Beautiful Kate, there are also films from Jordan, Israel and Poland.

'We are looking at all the mature markets as well as the developing ones,' Ms Ho said. 'Hong Kong serves as a very good platform for overseas producers to access Asian markets and in particular the mainland. Filmart is basically a trading platform for them.'

While the mainland film industry was dominating this year's lineup, she believed there was still room for projects from outside the region to flourish.

'It is the storyline and the commercial potential' that interest the delegates, she said.

Brown, who is best known for his work in Cocktail with Tom Cruise, Tai-pan and F/X, agreed that the worth of a film could not be judged purely by the cultural context in which it was produced.

'Movies tell you about the place and the people. If you're after a good story then you don't need to know everything about that culture. I can watch a film like Raise the Red Lantern or The Joy Luck Club and completely enjoy what it's culturally saying. You've just got to find those people who want to go on that journey with you.'