Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's Your Money Too!

The government finally has offered some details on its plan of giving out freebies to film makers. The plan was first mentioned in this year's budget.

A story in today's SCMP reported:

"Films costing less than HK$12 million could qualify for grants of up to 30 per cent, according to a government discussion paper submitted to the Legislative Council yesterday..."

Why limit it to HK$ 12 million? Is that any analysis to support that? (May be, I have not read the government report submitted to the legislature yet).

It gets better.

"At least half of the main cast and film crew would have to be local permanent residents."

Does the government think that the reason for the decline of HK's movie industry is caused by the industry's past hiring patterns, ie too many non-residents are employed. If so, why the industry itself couldn't figure it out and shifting its employment pattern?

It gets even better.

"To be eligible, films must be commercially viable, with third-party financing of at least half of the production budget."

If so, ie. the movie is known to somebody to be commercially viable, you wouldn't need the government dole in the first place, wouldn't it?

Finally, giving government handouts to some "qualified" movie makers but not others based on some necessarily arbitrary criteria mean that all movie makers are not competing on an equal footing. How would this square with the government's calling for the urgency of a competition law when it serves as one source of the problem itself?

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