Speeches and Presentations

Speech by SCED at Israeli Film Festival 2011 opening ceremony

The following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the opening ceremony of the Israeli Film Festival 2011 today (January 11):

Ambassador Levy (Ambassador Amikam Levy, Consul General of Israel), Mrs Amar (Mrs Emanuelle Amar, Consul), Dr Ng (Dr Louis Ng, Assistant Director of Leisure and Cultural Services (Heritage and Museums)), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to join the opening ceremony of this fabulous film festival this evening.

Movies always offer a fascinating and forceful vehicle for one to appreciate and understand the culture, spirit and dynamics of a place. Israel has, through this film festival, brought to Hong Kong a rich selection of movies - dramas, thrillers, comedies, action, you name it. Through these movies, the Hong Kong audience will get to know a lot more about what Israel can offer to the world.

Israel and Hong Kong share a lot in common. We both have a population of around seven million people. We do not rely on natural resources, but are gifted with large pools of ingenious human talent. We are both keen to tap into the international market, and see each other as an important partner for collaboration and exchange. To forge a closer bond, Israel and Hong Kong signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cultural exchange in June last year. This is an exciting step forward and certainly there will be more such collaboration in the pipeline.

What can Hong Kong offer in collaboration with Israel? Hong Kong is driven by talented people with great zeal for excellence, and we are uniquely positioned as the hub where "East-meets-West" on the international platform.

The film industry will be a great area for us to explore collaboration and exchange. Over the years, many of Hong Kong actors, directors, and producers have become household names at international level by producing numerous highly popular movies. In the past decade, Hong Kong movies and film talent won over 300 international awards, including the Cannes, Berlin International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival. Many Hong Kong film stars have excelled in Hollywood, and a number of Hollywood blockbusters, like "The Departed", or "The Eye", are remakes of successful Hong Kong movies. Mega-movies, like "Batman V the Dark Knight", carried out location shooting in Hong Kong.

"East-meets-West" presents a gateway and stepping stone for international companies to tap into the enormous China market through Hong Kong. The implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Mainland China and Hong Kong has broadened the horizon for Hong Kong to explore the Mainland market. The impact is particularly manifested in the film industry. Hong Kong-Mainland film co-productions have grown rapidly from about 10 titles per year before CEPA to about 30 titles a year at present. These co-productions have achieved major box office success in the Mainland. In 2010, seven out of the top 10 domestic box office films in the Mainland were Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions.

Hong Kong's film industry has the experience, the contacts and the know-how to make the most out of the new opportunities emerging in Mainland China. We welcome overseas film makers to capitalise on our experience and to tap the benefits offered under CEPA in exploring the Mainland film market. We also welcome you to carry out location shooting in Hong Kong or to make use of the state-of-the-art film production services and facilities we can provide here in the territory.

Let's work together to scale new heights for the friendship between Israel and Hong Kong!

Thank you and have a nice evening!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011