3D productions steal the show at Asia's biggest film market

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The Independent Culture

The curtain has come down on Asia's largest film market here with a broad selection of 3D productions stealing most of the limelight.

The Hong Kong Film and Television Market ( http://www.hkfilmart.com) this year attracted 600 exhibitors and the past four days have seen industry players from all over the world attending seminars focusing on a wide range of topics, from co-producing in China to trends in digital technology.

But the real reason everyone one comes to Hong Kong in March is to try to get a handle on what exactly it is that Asian and international cinema-goers might be watching over the next 12 months. And the message here was all about 3D.

Much attention here has focused on three wildly different productions made using 3D technology, from the "world's first soft-porn 3D," titled Sex and Zen: Extreme Fantasy, to the children's fantasy Legend of a Rabbit, to two planned versions of the Chinese epic Journey to the West.

While the soft porn grabbed plenty of attention - free tickets for the premiere on Tuesday were reportedly being sold for up to $400 (35 euros) outside the screening - and Legend of a Rabbit attracted lots of attention from international film distributors, the two versions of the story of the legendary Monkey King are the films industry insiders picked as reaching the widest international audience.

Journey to the West is being planned for production later this year and has recruited Neil Gaiman ( Beowulf) as scriptwriter while its producer has targeted Guillermo del Torro ( Pan's Labyrinth) to direct. Monkey King, meanwhile, has recruited Hong Kong director Soi Cheng ( Dog Bite Dog) as director and features Asian heavyweights Donnie Yen, Chow Yun-fat and Aaron Kwok in roles.

Producer of Sex and Zen Stephen Shiu Jr. said he believed 3D was the way of the future. "Everyone in the world is interested in 3D and it makes the films so much more exciting," he told Relaxnews. "And I don't think anyone has even seen a film like ours."

While both versions of the Monkey King story are expected to roll into cinemas ijn the summer of 2012, Legend of a Rabbit is slated for a summer 2011 release, while Sex and Zen will open in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea on April 14, Taiwan on April 15, Singapore on April 28 and in France, Italy, Russia and Peru on June 16.

For the trailers:

Sex and Zen: Extreme Fantasy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37f-KIIDaog
Legend of a Rabbit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lra1fp2OiLw

For a look at this year's Filmart, log on to http://www.YouTube.com/HKTDC.