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Visionary touch

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-11 07:07

Visionary touch

Hong Kong film producer Bill Kong believes in not following the herd while selecting projects. Tony Zhao / China Daily

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Bill Kong has a track record in the film business that is the stuff of legends. His success rate in gambling on new talents, or new turns by old masters, is rivaled only by his holistic approach toward film as a business, an art form and an expression of social consciousness, writes Raymond Zhou.

If Bill Kong is not the most unassuming movie mogul in the world, he is certainly a strong candidate for such a title. He rarely wears a suit and a tie, but often carries a backpack-a la a college student. It is only through the refractions of movie stars' awe-struck look toward him that discerning outsiders may realize the exalted stature he enjoys in the Chinese-language film industry.

Kong, president of Hong Kong-based Edko Film, is producer or executive producer of three of the best-selling Chinese movies in the global market-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Hero; and Fearless. And he has launched the high-octane film careers of several newcomers, including pop superstar Jay Chou and screenwriter Xue Xiaolu.

Not only in appearance is Kong somewhat of a contrarian, but, more importantly, he believes in not following the herd while selecting projects. When everyone was chasing costume epics, he would tell himself that the audience must be tired of this genre. As a matter of fact, he often goes to the cinema and sits with ticket-buying filmgoers, observing their responses to a movie.

"If someone watches one movie a week, what he can tell you about his preference is valuable," he says.

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