The Hong Kong Entertainment Expo just kicked off in the glitzy harbor city. The annual event highlights the best in film, television, music and digital entertainment.
The star-studded opening gala was attended by Asia's top film stars, including Hero actress Maggie Cheung, 2046 star Tony Leung, In the Mood for Love director Wong Kar-wai and Breaking News director Johnny To.
Acting as expo ambassador, actor Tony Leung took charge of the opening show. Martial arts star Jackie Chan then joined him on stage - or rather above it - introducing Hong Kong film present and future...
Actor Tony Leung said: "Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland have been cooperating in filmmaking for many years. I think this is the only way for Hong Kong film to go, because the local market is small and the other markets are shrinking. I think cooperation between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland leads to one vast market, where we each bring complementary qualities."
Hong Kong, once a film powerhouse producing 200 movies a year, released just 55 films last year due to plunging box office receipts at home.
The mainland audience is the obvious answer for Hong Kong filmmakers. The mainland box office grew 30 percent last year, crossing the US$250 million mark with smash hits like Initial D a joint Hong Kong-mainland production.
The centerpieces of the three-week expo are the International Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards -- seen as a precursor to Cannes. The International Film Festival is lining up more than 200 movies, including the eagerly anticipated sequel to Hong Kong smash-hit Election.
Opening the festival on a high note was Isabella, which won the prestigious Silver Bear Award in Berlin for Best Soundtrack.
(CCTV March 23, 2006)