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Asian film leaders meet in Manila

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Film commissioners from all over Asia met in Manila recently to discuss vital issues surrounding the film industries in their respective countries.

Hosted by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Asian Film Commissioners’ Network (AFCNet) meeting was held over three days in June.

Seven delegates from five countries discussed pressing issues such as censorship, the need to compete with the influx of Hollywood films for audience patronage, and the lack of funding, marketing support and incentives for local film productions.

“Although we are competitors, we share common problems and can help each other find solutions,” said Philippine representative Digna H. Santiago, executive director of the Philippine Film Export Services Office, which is branched under the FDCP.

“We learnt from the Indonesian delegate that their film industry doesn’t get support from their government, but the Julia Roberts film Eat, Pray, Love was shot in Bali,” noted Santiago.

Attracting big-budget foreign productions has a “multiplier effect, [which] can contribute millions of dollars to the local economy,” Santiago added.

Among the AFCNet board members present at the meeting were president Park Kwang-Su (Busan Film Commission director), Kim Soo-Ah (Korea), Deborah Gabinetti (director of the Bali Film Office, Indonesia), Rafayadi Rahman (senior executive of Multimedia Development Corporation, Malaysia), and Toshihiko Inoue (director of the Sapporo-Hokkaido Contents Strategy Organization, Japan).

Park has put forth a plan for a marketing campaign that will coincide with the organization’s 10th anniversary in 2013. He describes it as a collective project that will address obstacles to the growth of the Asian film industry.

Inspired by the films New York, I Love You and Paris Je T’aime, the organization’s members are keen on working on a compilation of short films based in Asia, to showcase each country’s unique places of interest.

Park also announced that “co-production” will be the main topic of discussion at the next Asia Film Policy Forum, which will be held during the Pusan Film Festival on October 10 and 11.

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