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Film’s a business Part 2

My main news source Variety Asia is flooded with Hong Kong Filmart news, and here’s a small round-up from the first day:

- On the heels of HK Filmart’s successful expansion into the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo, Japan will have its first Asia Contents Market in Osaka and Kyoto at the end of September. The market will be focused on CG, animation, and digital cinema, catering mostly to the domestic market. It will be part of the Japan International Contents Festival, which include the Tokyo Game Show and the Tokyo International Film Festival (which starting last year, have begun to focus on exhibiting more obscure films).

- HK film production company Universe, having just joined the international sellers market at Berlin, is a huge presence at the Filmart. With at least Benny Chan’s latest, Johnnie To’s “Sparrow,” and new films by the Pang Brothers, it has added two mores films to its slate at Filmart - both medium-budgeted films by lesser-known talents, which has got to be a good thing.

- In addition to Universe, Emperor Motion Pictures has also announced a myriad of projects, many of which are Chinese co-productions (gags). It has also announced the hiring of Peggy Chiao, who is widely recognized as the mother of New Taiwan Cinema, as Production Controller. Does quality control come with that title?

- Variety Asia also rounds up the first seminar at Filmart, which was about the profitability of low-to-mid budget films, in light of the Hong Kong government’s recently-announced subsidy for these low-to-mid-budget films in order to encourage new talent. For those who are interested in the future of Hong Kong films, this is a good read.

In other news:

- I mentioned Susie Au and Ming Ming here before, though not in detail. It’s shown at the Hong Kong Filmart, and Twitch has what is probably its first English review. From this quote, I thought I was going to hate it: “Rather than surpress her stylistic urges she has further developed them, using every trick in her extensive book to try and create a new language of cinema.” But as I read along, it got gradually more promising, and now I’m honestly kinda looking forward to how it turns out.

- People who have followed this blog knows how critical I can be of Chinese censorship (Then again, I’m critical of a lot of other things too), so I hope that I never have to write this blog from China, because it seems like the government is going arrest-crazy again with cyber dissidents. Educators who blog criticizing the education system gets fired, editors of online news sites get 6 years of jail time, and so on and so on. Just how many more lives will the government have to ruin and how much authority has to be abused before China turns into total fascism?

- Lovehkfilm’s Sanjuro has a look at what’s in store in the Lovehkfilm pipeline. I have a few reviews coming up myself as well, most of them being Korean films that is already on Yesasia and, except for Ad Lib Night, aren’t really anything to get excited about.

- Meanwhile, Sanney Leung, former webmaster of Hong Kong Entertainment News in Review, chimed in with his review of Edmond Pang’s Isabella - in diary form! I don’t agree totally (I felt the emotions, but maybe it just pushed a button in me or something, or because I was just really wanted to like it for Edmond Pang’s sake).

- I mentioned Justin Lin’s latest Finishing the Game a few entries ago, and now Twitch has a report on its premiere at the opening night of the San Francisco Asian Film Festival. It features an interview with Survivor winner Yul Kwon and the cast and crew. Quite a good read, particularly about Asian American issues.

- And just how many films about the Nanjing massacre has to be made? Apparently now the count is up to 4 - you got the International co-production based on the Iris Chang book, the Japanese documentary set to present the “truth” about the massacre, the documentary that premiered at Sundance, and now China has approved one more Nanjing film to be made by director Yim Ho, whose Pavilion of Women I watched for about 10 minutes before I couldn’t stood it any longer and called it quits. I bet all of these movies will balance each other out and just make no money whatsoever.

- Moving to Hollywood, we have Variety’s review of the horribly titled Disturbia, which is essentially an uncredited Rear Window update in suburbia with less talented actors and none of that Mulvey male gaze stuff that Rear Window was made famous for. I’m honestly surprised it got a good review. I still won’t go watch it though.

- I’m a fan of Kevin Smith, and if that gives me less credibility as a film scholar, then so be it. Anyway, it’s no secret that he wrote a script for a Green Hornet movie that he turned down the directing job for. Now that it’s no longer at the Weinstein company, Sony has picked it up, and it will NOT be using the Kevin Smith script. I’ve never read Smith’s comics, but knowing that Smith is the big comic fan that he is, I would think that he probably crafted a pretty solid script (although being a loyal subject of the Weinstein regime it probably helped it get greenlit too). It’s too bad it’ll never see the light of day.

- Lastly, as an off-topic kind of thing. If you want to know how young Japanese women from age 20-34 think, you should at least go to their favorite websites. You’ll thank me later.

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