LCQ 21: Telling China's stories well through Hong Kong films
The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (the 20th National Congress) proposes to "better tell China's stories, make China's voice heard, and present a China that is credible, appealing, and respectable". There are views that it is incumbent upon the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government to implement the essence of the 20th National Congress and to tell China's stories well to the public through Hong Kong films. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether the Film Production Financing Scheme (FPFS) under the Film Development Fund (FDF) has approved films with elements of patriotism and modern Chinese history; if not, whether FDF will introduce the assessment criterion of "patriotism and national history education", so that films with relevant elements can have a greater chance of being approved for funding, thereby helping Hong Kong films tell China's stories well;
(2) whether FDF will conduct national security checks on films approved for funding in future, so as to prevent such films from containing contents which uglify state power, the HKSAR regime and the national image, as well as advocate Hong Kong independence and separatism; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) whether FDF will consider setting up a new financing scheme for application by filmmakers who intend to make films themed on patriotism and national history and culture, thereby providing an additional means to tell China's stories well to the public; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(4) of the amount of funding approved under FPFS in each month and each quarter in the past three years; whether it has reviewed if there is any periodic increase or decrease in the numbers of applications submitted and approved?
My consolidated reply in response to the questions raised by the Hon Joephy Chan is as follows:
The objective of the Film Development Fund (FDF) is to promote the development of the Hong Kong film industry and support projects conducive to the long-term development of the film industry in Hong Kong. With a view to exporting more Hong Kong films to overseas markets to tell the China story and Hong Kong story well, the Government has been promoting the sustainable development of the Hong Kong film industry through FDF in four strategic directions, namely nurturing talents, encouraging local film productions, market expansion and audience development.
The Film Production Financing Scheme (FPFS) under FDF encourages commercial investment in film productions in order to increasing production volume. When assessing applications to FPFS, we will ensure the quality of film projects by assessing the project's "creativity and quality of screenplay", "production budget", "estimated net income" and "local production elements and talent nurturing". Other than FPFS, there are also the First Feature Film Initiative and the to-be-launched Hong Kong-Asian Film Collaboration Funding Scheme under FDF. These schemes accept applications with different contents provided that they meet all the eligibility criteria and do not violate any applicable laws in Hong Kong. Applications will receive subsidy for production of the projects after passing the vetting under the established assessment mechanism. We welcome applicants who are interested in producing contents relating to patriotism and national history and culture to submit applications.
According to Article 9 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the National Security Law), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) shall strengthen its work on safeguarding national security and prevention of terrorist activities. The Government of the HKSAR shall take necessary measures to strengthen public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation over matters concerning national security, including those relating to schools, universities, social organisations, the media, and the internet. The Government will definitely fulfill the constitutional responsibility entrusted by the National Security Law in the general film censorship regulatory framework and the assessment mechanism under FDF.
FPFS accepts applications all year round and there is no specific cycle or pattern for the number of applications and approved projects. Each application is assessed independently. As affected by the pandemic, there was no application approved in the first 10 months of 2020. The approved funding amount under FPFS in each month for the past three years is tabled below:
|Amount approved in 2020
|Amount approved in 2021
|Amount approved in 2022
Ends/Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Issued at HKT 13:00
Issued at HKT 13:00