The ongoing pandemic has inevitably changed the way the global film industry works in various ways. Throughout these ups and downs, one thing hasn’t wavered yet, and that’s the demand for new content. The upcoming Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FilMart) plans to highlight what’s in store for 2022 and beyond.
Similar to film markets around the world, FilMart has pivoted again by opting to hold its 2022 event virtually. According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the previous edition saw over 8,000 attendees from 81 countries and regions, as well as over 2,600 business matchmaking meetings, a 15% increase over the previous year despite the new virtual setup.
With over 200 million viewers – and countless more opting to consume linear content on streaming platforms – mainland China has become one of the world’s most prolific providers of film and television content. Of the 677 exhibitors at FilMart Online last year, 130 of them were from Mainland China. In 2022, FilMart expects to see that number grow and is well positioned to be the industry’s go-to avenue for buyers to find the latest blockbuster titles from mainland China.
Prominent Chinese streamer iQIYI, which has more than 500 million monthly users worldwide, handles sales of “Life Is a Long Quiet River”, a television series adapted from the novel by award-winning writer Teng Xiaolan.
Chronicling a Shanghai family’s struggles with the daunting task of finding their own home, the 36-episode series tackles issues such as sky-high real estate prices in major cities, as well as the social and economic implications the complexity of local household registration. systems. The series is directed by Teng Huatao, best known for the sensation in the 2009 TV series “Dwelling Narrowness” and the 2011 hit romantic comedy film “Love Is Not Blind”.
All sales of the romance fantasy series “Song of the Moon” will be handled by iQIYI along with the crime drama series “Man on the Edge,” a stylistic throwback to cops and robbers in Hong Kong that stars several prominent Hong Kong actors. Kong.
Meanwhile, China Huace Film & TV Co., Ltd. delves into period fantasy – a popular genre among overseas Chinese TV fans. The company is set to control sales of “The Blue Whisper,” the first in a two-part fantasy series based on a 2019 bestselling novel. The story follows a tumultuous love affair between a master demon and a newt. China Huace Film & TV Co., Ltd. also sells “The Trust,” the TV adaptation of a popular graphic novel about an emperor who accidentally undergoes a body swap with his queen, whom he married out of convenience.
Beijing-based Century UU Technology Co. Ltd. brings “Thank You, Doctor,” a 48-episode medical procedural drama. Based on a novel by Sheng Li, the show stars popular actress Yang Mi (“Eternal Love,” “A Writer’s Odyssey”) as a doctor who returns to China to lead the new unit of emergency intensive care of a hospital. Production on the series began in late 2019, but its filming took a long break due to the pandemic. It finally finished production in November 2021.
In addition to TV series, mainland Chinese exhibitors offer alternative content for those looking for something off the beaten path. The sales arm of arthouse production company Midnight Blur Films, Parallax Films has become one of the most prolific Chinese arthouse sales agents on the film festival circuit. For FilMart Online, the company’s slate includes “Yanagawa” by Korean-Chinese director Zhang Lu. The Chinese-language film follows two brothers who travel from Beijing to the Japanese town of Yanagawa in search of a wife they loved in their youth. Following its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, the drama, starring top local stars Ni Ni from “The Flowers of War” and Sosuke Ikematsu, who starred in “Killing” and the upcoming film “Kamen Rider” , will open this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival after winning first prize at the Vesoul Asian Cinemas International Film Festival in France in February.
Parallax is also selling “Journey to the West,” a low-tech sci-fi comedy setting produced by Frant Gwo, the director of local sci-fi box office giant “The Wandering Earth.” Although it shares its name with the beloved Chinese literary fantasy classic, director Kong Dashan’s feature debut is actually a contemporary story about a magazine editor who embarks on an obsessive quest for UFO evidence. . After winning the Best Film Award and the Cinephile Critics Award at the Fifth Pingyao International Film Festival, the film was also screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival this year.
In 2022, HKTDC looks forward to launching EntertainmentPulse alongside FilMart Online 2022. The program features distinguished industry leaders from around the world and hosts in-depth discussions on topics including the rise of OTT platforms, the promotion of content creation, the balancing act of scripted television, the future of documentary and animation, cultural exchanges and more.
Speakers include Sébastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox in France; Melody Hildebrandt, President of Blockchain Creative Labs and Chief Information Security Officer of Fox Corporation; and Imamura Ken-ichi, executive producer of NHK Enterprises Inc. and adviser to the international film forum Tokyo Docs.