Ask the Expert: Creative opportunities in Hong Kong

David Wilson, Director of the City of Film in Bradford, shares his thoughts on the opportunities for the creative and film sector in Hong Kong.

20 March 2020

Our region is internationally recognised as a leading location for Creative and Media. York is one of only seven cities globally to be awarded UNESCO City of Media Arts status, and is unique in the UK. Bradford was the first UNESCO City of Film and recently partnered with Qingdao on their successful bid to become China’s first UNESCO City of Film. The UNESCO status of these cities offers unique, international collaboration opportunities.

David Wilson, Director of the City of Film in Bradford, had this to say about how innovation, technology and creative thinking will alter the future of fashion, media, art and sport:

Why is Hong Kong such an important market?

Hong Kong has a fantastic and diverse film heritage that has been depicted on cinema screens for many years across the widest range of genres from Wong Kar-wai to Jackie Chan. Martial arts, horror, crime thrillers, exploitation, romantic dramas, slapstick comedies, and other genres have been energised by being shot on location in the city’s bustling streets.

What do you think the biggest opportunity is for Leeds City Region businesses in Hong Kong and China?

Based on my experience of working with the Chinese screen sector over the past five years there has been a huge shift in emphasis and opportunities. Some of this is what you might call natural evolution of consumer demand. How we access content (film, TV, video on demand, animation and gaming) is changing all the time. The UK China co-production treaty for film, signed in 2014, and more recently a similar treaty for TV signed in 2016 provides perfect conditions for a collaborative approach to the production of new content across the range of screen industries.

Our region along with the rest of Yorkshire has proved to be one of the fastest growing areas in the UK for this sector, outperforming London and the rest of the country. There are also many conversations ongoing around production and exhibition funding in a post Brexit environment and it is refreshing to know that we are ahead of the curve in many respects with good networks already established with the China Film industry.

What would you like to showcase in Hong Kong to the Chinese market?

Bradford was the first European city to open a film office in Qingdao in China in September 2017, home to the world’s fastest growing cinema industry. We have a joint commitment to work with not just the City of Qingdao and the amazing studios there, but with the creative sector across China and Hong Kong to develop co-production projects long into the future at the same time as supporting emerging talent and ensuring that each country continues to develop its world class skill base in the sector.

In April 2018 Bradford UNESCO City of Film will host a delegation from led by the Secretary General of the China Film Association. They will spend time in London and Bradford and take part in a number of workshops on future co-productions. We will also be hosting discussion with producers, investors and distributors.