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FILMART 2014: locations offer a mixed bag

In a week which also sees the AFCI Locations Show run in the US, Hong Kong hosted its own Locations World section within Filmart. The branding at Filmart has proved challenging for many of the locations offices that are regular attendees. Some house themselves, quite sensibly, within their respective national pavilions. Locations World became, therefore, home to the widows and orphans of the location offices world: those without, if you like, a natural location.

Ausfilm and Film NZ were both absent. Neither organisation has taken advantage of the umbrella stand run by AFCNet, of which both are members.

The offer, by most of the exhibitors, was somewhat disorganised. As co-production and location work is commonplace within Asia, it’s almost reached the point where it doesn’t warrant much effort to promote. Unless, of course, one is promoting a new opportunity or finding a new way to promote an existing opportunity.

Japan took a huge stand which it’s regional film offices and other region-specific companies used to promote their offers – much of it built around specific locations.

The concept and organisation were excellent; the offers harder to distinguish. It was an interesting experiment and, like most experiments, didn’t appear entirely successful. Next year, second time around, a refined approach and a greater focus on what producers want might lead to greater rewards.

The team from Pinewood Iskandar Studios in Malaysia were certainly working hard to ensure that their offer was very clearly understood, and that it came accompanied by the Malaysian government’s 30% rebate. The Malaysian government’s incentive scheme was popular, its reputation not so much in the wake of the news about the fate of MH370 which broke on the opening day of Filmart.

Beyond Malaysia, little has changed in the offer from most of the countries in the region – which was good news for New Zealand. As of next week the NZ offer will become considerably more attractive.

Film NZ and regional film offices will be pushing that offer at AFCI Locations. Film Otago Southland’s KJ Jennings Jennings is presenting a conference session, and a Tourism NZ speaker also appears on a panel exploring Film Tourism. Also attending are Film Auckland’s Harry Harrison, Film Wellington’s Nicci Lock, Film NZ’s Roxane Gadjahar and LA-based Vicki Jackways. They’ll all fly the flag around the new 20% incentive opportunity for inbound and co-production projects.

It was a pity that story wasn’t also being told in Hong Kong, which is no slouch itself when it comes to iconic locations.


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