FilMart Reveals Lower Participant Numbers, But Strong Buzz

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council said Thursday that 7,300 executives from 41 countries had attended its FilMart and Entertainment Pulse events this week (March 13-16). “The revived physical marketplace was as vibrant and active as in the past,” organizers claimed.

In 2019, the last year that FilMart was held as an in-person event, the TDC reported “close to 9,000 visitors from 52 countries and regions.”

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For 2023, it reported “over 700 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions,” including a record Mainland China exhibitor tally exceeding 330. Those numbers compared with 888 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions in 2019, including 264 exhibitors from China.

While the exhibitor and participant numbers are both lower than in 2019, many visitors said that they were pleased to be back at the market and pleased with the levels of activity.

“It is great to feel Hong Kong is sexy again,” said Anne Chan, founder and CEO of AR Asia Productions.

“The energy of the physical presence was strong. Asian and European business partner are re-connecting and, at the same time catching up with their business. As there were some staff changes within the companies at both sides, to have the opportunity to meet in person is of huge value. These physical interactions are much needed at this time,” Jo Mühlberger of European Film Promotion organization told Variety. “Sometimes, it looks like a bee-hive where buyers move from table to table re-connecting and checking out new line-ups.”

Although Hong Kong’s leading free-to-air broadcaster TVB was a notable absentee this year, other local firms used the market as a venue for significant product launches. Emperor Motion Pictures invited more than 80 movie stars and industry leaders to announce upcoming productions at a press conference, including “Under Current,” “Customs Frontline” and “New Police Story 2.” PCCW Media Limited’s MakerVille and Viu also held a press conference to announce boy band Mirror’s first film “We 12,” with all the band members in attendance.

Japan’s Muse Communications showcased a wide range of Japanese anime, including the hit “Demon Slayer.”

The 21st edition of the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF21), the project market’s first physical, in-person event since 2019 after three consecutive online editions, was also busy.

“We had back-to-back meetings,” said Indian producer Praveen Morchhale.

“The event attracted 30% more accredited participants than the last edition. It facilitated over thousand private meetings between the project teams and participating industry professionals [..] representing an increase of 9% from last year,” HAF organizers said. HAF ran 13-15 March and handed out some $170,000 of prizes on Wednesday.

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