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Budget 2024: Film Development Fund receives highest government investment since 2007

The government will inject $1.4 billion into the Film Development Fund in 2024, the highest investment record in 17 years, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced in the most recent budget speech on Wednesday.

“This money is used to support various areas such as film, art and design,” Chen said on Feb.28. Photo by Elaine LAI Uen Ling

The Hong Kong Film Development Council has approved a total of $1billion in 2023, of which $134 million has been allocated for the Film Production Financing Scheme, accounting for 12.4% of the total investment.

“We feel excited about the investment in film. In the past, government investment had helped many new directors and talents who lacked funding to fulfill opportunities to present their works,”  a spokesman of Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association said.

During the 2023 Christmas period, Hong Kong cinema box office receipts were only $19.6 million, more than a 40% drop from last year and is the lowest in 20 years.

2022 has over 330 million biggest box office, which is the highest in eleven years (data source: Hong Kong box office Ltd.)

“The box office increase in 2022 may be related to the delay of the release of foreign films due to the epidemic,” Rose Lu, 27, a film critic said.

“The Hong Kong film market is small, the government should spend more money in promoting Hong Kong movies overseas and mainland rather than importing many overseas films,” said Lu.

Hong Kong Legislative Council amended the Film Censorship Ordinance on October 27, 2021, which requires self-censorship and monitoring of film making, and re-examination of some subjects involving political factors, large scale and niche films.

“It is hard for many directors in Hong Kong to do some sensitive topics, because it may not pass the film audit. This makes the Hong Kong film market less glamorous,” said Lu.

People expect this money will promote diversity in Hong Kong movies and provide financial support for the film industry.

“The government should support more shooting studios and try to have a new agreement about the renting cost with them,” Elllis-Geiger Robert Jay, Hong Kong Baptist University film department associate director said.

In addition to venue costs, the cost of professional film equipment is also a problem for filmmakers.

“Renting equipment is very expensive, leading to HK$6,000 per hour for one shooting studio,” he added.

“As film students, if we want to shoot a relatively professional film. We need to buy more equipment than just a professional camera, and even that costs tens of thousands of dollars,” Teresa Gao, 20, a Hong Kong Baptist University film student said.

The Hong Kong Film Development Council will open the co-production funding scheme in the second quarter of 2024, with a total of up to eight films to be funded. Successful film projects will receive up to HK$9 million.

“A major dilemma is that the government approval process takes time. Maybe this should be expedited,” Lau Wai Sim, a programme director from HKBU's film department said.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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