Starring role: Hong Kong’s financial chief claims credit for backing local films

John Tsang says the government has poured millions into the movie sector because it is an integral part of the city’s cultural and creativity industry

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 April, 2016, 3:59pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 April, 2016, 3:59pm

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has credited the Hong Kong government for backing the production of local films, which he said were an integral part of the city’s creative industry and also a form of soft power.

His remarks on Sunday came as the Hong Kong Film Awards Association unveiled its annual list of prizes recognising the best films, stars and production crews.

In his weekly blog, Tsang said he had rolled out measures to support film production in his last two budgets.

Besides injecting HK$200 million into the Film Development Fund to help boost filmmaking and nurture local talent, Tsang said this year he had decided to give an extra HK$20 million to the fund to help subsidise the cost of promoting films on mainland China.

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Alluding to local films as a “a piece of Hong Kong flag” that people treasure, Tsang said: “The film industry is not only an integral part of Hong Kong’s cultural and creativity industry. Local movies are also one of the symbols of Hong Kong culture and strong soft power we export to the world.

“A large part of Hong Kong’s international image was established by several generations of hard work by people in the film industry.”

According to a research paper prepared by the Legislative Council Secretariat last month on challenges faced by city’s film industry, among the 332 movies screened in cinemas in Hong Kong last year, only 59, or 18 per cent, were local movies.

The number of cinemas last year had also dwindled to 47, with only 37,800 seats. In 1993 there were 119 cinemas and 122,000 seats.

The total box office of Hong Kong films last year was HK$384 million. In 1992, the figure was a record HK$1.24 billion.