Event Preview: FILMART

Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) is returning with an online event from March 14 to 17. The decision to again go virtual was made with public safety as the primary concern, according to a FILMART organizer, and being in line with the tightening of the government’s public health measures in response to the latest pandemic developments. It also comes after consultations with industry representatives and key stakeholders regarding that pandemic-related travel restrictions remain in place.

The success of FILMART Online 2021 gives organizers confidence that this year’s event will be a strong one as well. “Our exhibitor survey indicated that 87 percent of interviewed participants established new contacts at FILMART Online,” an organizer told World Screen Weekly. In 2021, the event welcomed a number of exhibitors from new regions such as Bulgaria, Fiji, French Polynesia, Iran, Luxembourg, Portugal, Ukraine and elsewhere. It also observed substantial growth in the number of visitors from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and the U.K. “Without the geographical boundary on a virtual marketplace, exhibitors and buyers are able to reach out to one another and meet with those who might not be able to travel long distances for a physical event,” the organizer added.

There were also more business matching meetings and bigger deals generated: Among the 2,600 business matching meetings that took place during FILMART Online 2021, the event successfully connected Hong Kong exhibitors with French buyers, Chinese exhibitors with Canadian buyers and Japanese exhibitors with Brazilian buyers. The exhibitor survey indicated that more transactions for bigger deals were made through the online platform as well.

The 26th edition of FILMART will continue to showcase a wide range of content produced for TV, theaters, streaming platforms and mobile devices for production companies, investors and buyers to connect and collaborate through online exhibitions and business matching meetings. A new conference, EntertainmentPulse, will debut during FILMART Online 2022, featuring industry experts from Asia and beyond. EntertainmentPulse aims to provide attendees with the latest market insights and market intelligence that is pressing in this ever-changing environment amid the ongoing pandemic.

The event will be launched concurrently during FILMART 2022 to bring together industry leaders for in-depth discussions on a plethora of topics, including the boom of OTT platforms, the way forward for content creation and localization of scripted TV formats, the future of documentary cultural exchanges between the East and West and more.

Among the hot topics to be addressed at FILMART 2022 will be a discussion on the localization of scripted TV formats. Imamura Kenichi, executive producer at NHK Enterprises and advisor to Tokyo Docs, will take part in a panel discussion about how documentaries have the ability to raise the public’s awareness of societal and environmental issues. The Hong Kong film and TV industry will be in the spotlight with a series of interviews to discuss the past and future of HK productions. Discussions around the metaverse and NFTs are also on the roster, featuring Sébastien Borget, co-founder and COO at The Sandbox, and Melody Hildebrandt, president at Blockchain Creative Labs of Fox Entertainment.

Alongside these conferences, there is an array of events on the planner, including pitching, an award ceremony, sharing sessions and more. Overall, FILMART Online aims to provide a world of content, specifically regarding Asian markets, to global audiences.

In 2021, more than 80 percent of buyers and 76 percent of exhibitors were from Asia, providing over 2,200 film and television productions. As the streaming market is booming, FILMART is also adapting to the trend. “Our exhibitors not only showcase feature films but also vibrant TV content, formats and co-production opportunities,” an organizer said. “We also see an increase in the number of OTT buyers who are here to source content. We aim to further reinforce our branding as Asia’s leading content marketplace for film, TV, animation, documentary and more.”

It is also aiming for the platform to serve as the go-to place for Chinese filmmakers and television and animation industry players to promote their productions, with a strong Chinese presence of 130 exhibitors, 10 pavilions and over 1,800 visitors from Mainland China last year.

There are also enhanced business matching services to connect participants with their potential partners, an emphasis on customer service that swiftly addresses participants’ inquiries and increased accessibility and language support.

Organizers are expecting around 670 exhibitors, with some 8,000 buyers to join FILMART this year, making for a robust 2022 event.