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Speech by SCED at 5th Hong Kong Salento International Film Festival

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the 5th Hong Kong Salento International Film Festival today (May 11):

Mr De Riu (Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong, Mr Antonello De Riu), Mr Giagnoli (Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Mr Andrea Giagnoli), Mrs Guida (Director of the Italian Trade Agency, Mrs Paola Guida), Mr Campanile (Director of the Hong Kong Salento International Film Festival, Mr Luigi Campanile), Mr Leung (Hong Kong actor Mr Tony Leung), ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening. I am delighted to join you all at the 5th Hong Kong Salento International Film Festival.

As a movie lover, I am fond of attending international film festivals to enjoy movies from different parts of the world. The Salento International Film Festival in Italy, which is renowned for promoting international independent films, is of particular interest to me. It offers the audience a variety of quality independent films and enriches their movie experience. By touring around the world, the Festival presents movies in different cities and Hong Kong is honoured to be one of them. This is the fifth year of the Salento International Film Festival in Hong Kong. This year, the Festival brings us a selection of six feature films and three short films. I am pleased to note that a Hong Kong-produced short film, "The Sea Within", is one of the short films to be screened in this event.

The Hong Kong Government has all along been a staunch supporter of the local film industry. We launched the Film Production Financing Scheme under the Film Development Fund in 2007 to provide co-financing to small to medium-budget film productions. In November last year, we introduced a new scheme, the Film Production Grant Scheme, to provide a subsidy for small-budget film productions. Hong Kong filmmakers can seek funding support from these schemes to realise their film projects. We have also launched an initiative to help selected aspiring filmmakers produce their first feature films by providing them with subsidies to fully fund the productions.

Apart from the painstaking efforts of producers and directors, the superb performance of actors and actresses is also essential to the success of a film. The vibrant Hong Kong film industry has over the years seen a number of outstanding actors and actresses rise to stardom locally and internationally. Among them is Mr Tony Leung Ka-fai. I am delighted that the Salento International Film Festival will present the 2016 Salento Cinema Actor Award to him on this occasion. Having been in the film industry for more than 30 years, Mr Leung has performed in over 100 movies. He is a four-time winner of the Best Actor Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards and has set the record of being the youngest actor who has ever won this award. No doubt he is one of the best contemporary actors in Hong Kong who, in my view, is well deserved of the honour bestowed on him this evening. Mr Leung's success will surely be most inspiring to our younger generation of local actors.

May I close by expressing my heartfelt thanks to the Salento International Film Festival for bringing to the Hong Kong audience an impressive series of independent films from the around the world. I wish the Festival a resounding success. Thank you very much.


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