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Speech by FS at Inauguration Ceremony of Photo Exhibition in Cannes of France (English only) (with photos and video)

    Following is the speech by Financial Secretary Mr Henry Tang at the Inauguration Ceremony of Photo Exhibition Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Festival de Cannes cum Cocktail Reception in Cannes of France (May 18, French time):

Mr Jacob, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.

     First of all, I would like to congratulate the Festival de Cannes on its 60th anniversary. It is my great pleasure to be one of the officiating guests at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Anniversary Exhibition, Allee de Stars (STARWAY) this evening.

     An Italian born American film director Mr Frank Capra once said, "Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music." I cannot agree with him more. It is film that brings us all together this evening. It is also film that bridges the gaps among different cultures.

     Just as the Festival de Cannes has brought us many unforgettable moments in the past 60 years, Hong Kong films have also left people in different parts of the world many ever-lasting scenes of lights and sounds in the past decades.

     Hong Kong is among the world's largest film exporters and our films have been gaining increasing recognition from the international film industry. A number of popular Hong Kong film titles have been sold to overseas industry players for remake in English. The 2007 Oscar-award winning film "The Departed" directed by Martin Scorsese, which was a remake of Hong Kong's crime thriller "Infernal Affairs", is just one of the examples.

     Our cinema talents are also renowned in the international arena.  Here in Cannes, our Wong Kar-wai, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are no strangers.

     To consolidate Hong Kong's status as Asia's entertainment business hub, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has been playing an active part in supporting the development of the film industry in Hong Kong through various initiatives. A recent one being the establishment of a high-level Film Development Council to advise the Government on the policy and strategy for the promotion and development of the film industry. The Chairman of the Council, Mr Jack So, is here with us this evening.

     Other support measures include Government injection of about Euro 28 million into the Film Development Fund to help finance the production of small-to-medium budget films, facilitation of access to the vast market in Mainland China and stepping up of enforcement action against activities infringing intellectual property rights.  

     We are very much encouraged to learn from a recent survey conducted at our very successful Entertainment Expo that Hong Kong is considered by international exhibitors and buyers the best place to reach out to the Mainland China and other Asian areas in exploring co-production opportunities and meeting buyers. You are most welcome to come to Hong Kong to explore by yourselves. We stand ready to help you deliver, source content and establish business opportunities regardless of your needs.

     Before I go, I would like to congratulate Mr Wong Kar-wai on "My Blueberry Nights" being selected as the Opening film and also in competition.  May I wish him the best of luck.

     Also, my special thanks to Mr Gilles Jacob of Festival de Cannes and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for their contribution in promoting Hong Kong entertainment services.

     Please enjoy the dim sum which are prepared by the chefs we specially flown in for this event. I hope you would enjoy the evening. Thank you.

Ends/Saturday, May 19, 2007
Issued at HKT 12:11


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