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[Asian Leadership Conference] The Past, Present, and the Future of Hong Kong Cinema


What is ALC?

Asian Leadership Conference (ALC) is Korea’s premier international conference where global leaders coalesce to discuss and provide possible solutions for the pressing issues currently facing the world. Former speakers for ALC include Barack Obama, George Bush, David Cameron, Reed Hastings, Steve Chen and etc.


This year’s ALC will be held online under the theme of "World after Covid-19: Rebuilding Trust and Cooperation” Blintn, an online marketplace for production funding & distribution hosted the 4 media sessions, inviting world-class authorities in the media industry as speakers.


Speakers

Helen So/ Lead of Arts and Culture of Our Hong Kong Foundation

Helen So leads the Arts & Culture team at Our Hong Kong Foundation, a leading think tank in Hong Kong. As the only think tank to research on the policies regarding arts and culture in Hong Kong, the foundation appointed Helen So as the general manager of the Arts & Culture team in 2017.


Lofai Lo/ CEO of ViuTV

Lofai Lo is a Director and General Manager of ViuTV, a broadcasting network in Hong Kong. In 2016, he founded ViuTV to succeed in the OTT business as well as traditional TV channels.


Cora Yim/ Executive Director of Sixty Percent Productions

Cora Yim, A veteran in the TV and film industry, is Chief Content Officer (CCO) and Executive Director of Sixty Percent Productions in Hong Kong.

Session 2

“The Past, Present, and the Future of Hong Kong Cinema”


Q1. As producers, how do you decide whether the content is fit, appropriate or timely to produce?

C: During the pandemic, we’ve experienced uncertainty in production. We had to restructure the production method. For example, many productions shifted to Taiwan as the impact of the pandemic was not as severe compared to others. We should look at the flexibility here. So, in the future, we should think creatively and flexibly.


L: To judge the content itself, the first thing you need to do is watching a lot of content. If you observe a trend or a formula similar to what you are planning to produce, it is too late. You will only be a follower not the first mover. Moreover, you should really understand the producers, directors, and the writers. Find out about them from their filmography or even Instagram. You can learn the style of the person and what he/she can do in the future. Understanding what they can do is very important.


Q2. How do you envision the rise of OTT? Are you anticipating any challenges?

C: Especially for Hong Kong, or Chinese content, we are still a bit left behind unlike Korea, which has gone very far. We still have more potential and room to grow, while many more foreign platforms are coming in like Disney+. So, we have a lot of choices of global OTT, which can diversify the demand of content. Therefore, the content is the most important factor.


L: The traditional TV and OTT are the main delivery means of the content. The distinction between TV and OTT is slowly demolishing in terms of user behaviour. The only difference is active and passive selection of content. Therefore, you need to have an effective marketing strategy and make people select the content if you are an OTT channel. For the traditional TV programs, the focus should be on the content itself as the content is passively selected.

Q3. What does it take for domestic content to reach international audiences?

L: Everybody shares common feelings. Content should enable people to relate to it regardless of their nationalities.


C: Great stories often cross the regional barriers. People share universal emotions regardless of their origin. If a story is good, you don’t care about where it is from. Our company is aiming to create stories that touch universal values. We are focusing on stories that can happen anywhere in the world. Moreover, we are also focused to discover talented people who can create diversified types of content.

Q4. What did you learn from your experience in terms of talent building in Hong Kong?

C: We should learn from Korea, as a lot of young talented people are trained in places such as Hollywood. And a lot of universal storytelling skillset is reflected in their content. For Chinese content creation, we should also train talents in different locations such as Hollywood or Korea. I personally discovered talent in Taiwan and sent them to train from L.A and Taipei. And I think platforms should provide more support to the talents using the creator lab or incubator.


L: Building on it, the essence of the talent incubation is experimental, and it might fail. We should know how to deal with variables. We should be flexible rather than having a replicated way of talent building.

Q5. What is the strength of the Hong Kong content industry?

C: I really enjoy the efficiency of Hong Kong. We should ride on it to create more content and try to host collaborations in Hong Kong with other countries like we used to do in the past. We have good talent and skill sets in Hong Kong.


L: I agree with Cora. To add more, Hong Kong has a small population, so everyone is close to each other. So, it can be a good place to experiment with new styles or genres. You can break down the style of content and roll out an experiment and develop further based on the result.

Q6. How do you envision the Asian content industry and what would you like to see for the industry?

L: More content from different styles and genres for diversity.


C: I will look forward to our content reaching places such as South America or America and being recognized for the quality. And reaching global audiences.

Content industry of Hong Kong values being experimental, diversity and flexibility to push forward the content development. The session provides valuable and meaningful insights about how the industry can advance into the global market such as benchmarking Hollywood or Korea and developing content touching universal emotions.


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