Middle East film biz can learn from Asia: analyst

The Middle East film industry could benefit from the experience of the Asian film business, a leading Hong Kong-based media consultant has claimed.
Patrick Frater, CEO of F Media pictured at FilmART.
Patrick Frater, CEO of F Media pictured at FilmART.

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The Middle East film industry could benefit from the experience of the Asian film business, according to a leading Hong Kong-based media consultant.

According to Patrick Frater, CEO of the F Media consultancy firm, there are several key components that must be in place to support a successful film industry.
 
“Developing a thriving local cinema industry comes down to talent and audience appetite,” said Frater, speaking exclusively to DPME.com at the FilmART convention in Hong Kong.
 
“Encouraging people to experiment with the cinema is also important, it’s not enough to have an audience that only watches the dead-cert blockbusters.”
 
The Chinese government has taken an active role in stimulating an increase in audience numbers in China with significant success, according to Frater.
 
“You need the audiences to support the local productions, but you need quality, local productions to encourage the public. It’s a chicken and egg situation,” said Frater.
 
“Co-productions are a good route. The Singapore government funds many productions. Even if there is one producer on the project from Singapore itself, it still benefits the local industry,” claimed Frater.
 
Locally produced content can often become stigmatised in its domestic market according to Frater, who highlighted the work of the South Korean, French and UK governments in removing this stigma.
 
“There was no industry in South Korea 13 years ago. Then they started making all kinds of films, comedies, dramas, action and this challenged the public’s perception of what Korean film was. The Middle East should be doing the same. Making all kinds of films for all demographics.
 
“Audience support for any local film industry is of fundamental importance. The economic multipliers ­- like tourism - should be secondary.”

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