PRAGUE: Making her first trip to Prague, Betty S. P. Ho, director of the Berlin based CEE headquarters for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, used the 10th anniversary of the Asian Film Festival to promote Hong Kong as the entry point for Czech coproductions with China.
“Hong Kong is the gateway into mainland China for companies, otherwise foreign films are subject to lots of restrictions,” Ho told FNE at the festival’s Hong Kong Day celebration following the screening of the Hong Kong Oscar entry The Golden Era.
The festival director Karla Stojakova of Axman Production is one of the few Czech producers who are establishing coproduction links with Asia. She is planning to shoot her second coproduction with South Korea in 2015. Another film that she worked with, Snowpiercer which was shot in the Czech Republic, was a closing night film of the festival on 7 December 2014, possibly the only screening the film will receive in the country.
“There’s a problem with distribution here,” Stojakova told FNE. Although the film has a Czech distributor, Asian films rarely have theatrical releases. “We try to encourage distributors, but it’s hard.”
The Prague festival was the third promotional effort for the Hong Kong team, following a special event at the Bratislava IFF in November and the Five Flavors Film Festival in Warsaw in October. The festival circuit is likely to become a mainstay for the team. Ho told FNE, “We would like to bring some Hong Kong talents here if possible, making use of these film festivals to provide exposure for our talents.”