The 17th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum - New Partnership And Award Sponsors Unveiled Along With 23 New Projects

Expanded List of Work-in-Progress Projects with New Category for Documentaries
Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF)
2019-03-14 20:26 1164

HONG KONG, March 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The 17th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) has short-listed 23 projects for presentation at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 18 to 20 March 2019. The projects making this year's short-list, selected from more than 350 submissions, hailed from 10 countries and territories across the region, including Bangladesh, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines and South Korea. With production budgets ranging from US$200,000 to US$10 million, they come from established directors of popular mainstream cinema, veteran independent filmmakers and young talent, all of whom seeking funding and industry partners.

The 17th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum
The 17th Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum

"The number of first-time directors, along with returning and established filmmakers, coming to this year's Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum stands as testament to our ability to help develop and promote cinematic and artistic creativity in the region," said Jacob WONG, HAF Director. "HAF is also proud to expand its list of partnerships and sponsors, which will offer filmmakers even greater opportunities for financing and contacts with film-industry professionals from around the world."

HAF also shortlisted 19 projects for its expanded Work-in-Progress (WIP) program that will include feature documentaries for the first time. WIP, now in its third edition, is an important initiative to help filmmakers find post-production funds, sales agents and film festival support. The expanded WIP program this year covers two sections, including fiction films and documentaries.  

WIP's objective is distinguished from the main HAF program, one of Asia's most important film-financing forums, which provides a platform for projects in the pre-production or development stages. The WIP program further extends and complements the services of HAF by offering a platform for late-stage projects seeking closing funds, post-production partners, distributors, sales agents, festivals and other film-industry services. The shortlisted projects are required to have completed or nearly completed shooting or production. This year's works include diverse films from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Japan, Philippines, Iran, Singapore and Malaysia.

HAF Director Jacob WONG believes it is an opportune time to launch a documentary co-production event with substance and sustainability. "The WIP program has nurtured a number of successful film projects since its launch, such as The Man Who Surprised Everyone (WIP 2018) which won the Orrizonti Award for Best Actress in Venice Film Festival 2018, and Ayka (WIP 2018) which won the Best Actress Award in Cannes Film Festival 2018. Given the immense success of the last two WIP programs, HAF intends to take a leading role to further encourage the production of quality documentary works with an aim to provide filmmakers access to top-notch international buyers," Wong said. "With the expanded platform, HAF will become the first project market to receive both fictional and documentary work-in-progress submissions with approximately equal strength and numbers."

That's Amore: A New Partnership, Two New Awards, and other Prizes

The Far East Film Festival (FEFF) in Udine, Italy, now in its 21st year, joins with HAF for a new strategic partnership in which organizers of the largest film festival in Europe devoted entirely to popular Asian cinema will select one project from this year's HAF for presentation at Focus Asia, FEFF's project market that is dedicated to "films of tomorrow," with the potential for co-production and co-financing in Europe or Asia.

"We are thrilled about our new partnership with HAF, and we are looking forward to selecting the project that will be presented in Udine next April," said Sabrina BARACETTI, President of the Far East Film Festival. "This new collaboration will strengthen even more the connections between the industries of our two continents. We think that this will be just the beginning of a new fruitful collaboration."

HAF is also proud to announce two new award sponsors in Heaven Pictures (HK) Culture and Media Co., Ltd. and Artention-Vanke Cultural Industry Corp., a joint venture between Artention Group and Vanke Group. 

Heaven Pictures (HK) Culture and Media Co., Ltd. will present the Heaven Pictures Young Director Award which aims to encourage young Hong Kong directors to create local-themed projects with unique personal style. The winner will receive a cash prize of HK$150,000. "Hong Kong International Film Festival and HAF have been supporting and promoting Chinese young filmmakers and China's film scene for a long time. It's time that we contribute something in return by setting up this award, with the aim of nurturing young Hong Kong filmmakers as well as encouraging quality local productions such as A Simple Life, which reflects Hong Kong's current phenomenon and people experiences under the city's economic and social changes," LOU Weihua, Chairman of Heaven Pictures noted.

Artention-Vanke Cultural Industry Corp. will present the Artention-Vanke Film Award which aims to encourage the development of film projects that exhibit both commercial and artistic qualities, thereby identifying and supporting more outstanding young filmmakers and film projects. In addition to a cash prize of HK$100,000, the winning project will also receive free access to designated space in the Artention-Vanke Creative Arts Incubator in Shenzhen, China, getting fully linked with high-quality resources from Artention and Vanke, to create world-renowned projects.

Other returning award sponsors include the Wouter Barendrecht Film Foundation; China Film Foundation-Wu Tianming Fund for Young Talents; White Light Studio; G2D Co. Ltd.; the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) of the BiFan Industry Gathering; and mm2 Asia Limited.

New HAF Awards and Returning Sponsor

HAF is pleased to announce three more new awards this year. The WIP Documentary Award, presented by CreateHK, FDC and HAF, is to encourage and promote the development of documentaries. All WIP documentary projects are eligible to compete for the cash award, which has a value of HK$78,000 (approx. US$10,000).

The KOFIC Award, with a cash prize of HK$100,000 (approx. US$12,800), is presented by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), which is committed to the growth of the Asian film industry. The award is to recognize the outstanding potential of an Asian film project for its development.

The Cinerent Award, presented by Cinerent Beijing Ltd., aims to support and encourage high-quality film projects. All HAF projects are eligible to compete for this award, with a value of RMB150,000 (approx. HK$175,000). The winning project is required to shoot in Mainland China in order to entitle the benefits.

HAF also welcomes returning sponsor Wanda Media with the Wanda Elite+ Plan Award, with a cash value of HK$100,000 (approx. US$12,800). It is dedicated to discovering and cultivating new film talents for the Chinese film market with the advantages of Wanda's integrated industry chain.

About Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF)

The Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) is widely recognized as an established film financing platform in Asia. HAF brings Asian filmmakers with upcoming film projects to Hong Kong for co-production ventures with top film financiers, producers, bankers, distributors and buyers. Attracting more than 1,000 filmmakers and financiers from at least 35 countries and regions, around 25 to 30 projects are selected annually to participate in the three-day event. HAF has the added advantage of being held in conjunction with Hong Kong Filmart, Asia's largest film market which attracts over 8,000 professionals.

HAF has partnered with international organisations to provide a range of opportunities to participants. Partners include iQIYI (China), Fox International Productions (Greater China) (US), Cinemart (the Netherlands), Asian Project Market (South Korea), Golden Horse Film Project Promotion (Taiwan), New Cinema Network (Italy) and others. Cash and in-kind awards to the value of around US$150,000 are made with support from Create Hong Kong and Film Development Fund among others. Past participants include China's JIA Jiangke, JIANG Wen, LU Chuan and NING Hao; Hong Kong's Peter CHAN, Stanley KWAN, Ann HUI, Fruit CHAN and PANG Ho-cheung; Taiwan's TSAI Ming-Liang, WEI Te-Sheng, CHUNG Mong-Hong and Leon DAI; Japan's KORE-EDA Hirokazu, KUROSAWA Kiyoshi, KAWASE Naomi and IWAI Shunji; South Korea's PARK Chan-wook, KIM Jee-woon, BONG Joon-ho and IM Sang-soo; as well as Thailand's Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL, Ekachai UEKRONGTHAM, Nonzee NIMIBUTR and Pen-ek RATANARUANG.

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Source: Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF)