New York - Intercontinental Group Holding Limited's Honorary Group Chairman, Terry Lai, and Rigo Jesu, Advisor, will be honored with the CineAsia Lifetime Achievement Award in distribution at this year's convention in Hong Kong. This Award will be presented as part of the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, December 12th at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
"It is with great pleasure that we are able to honor Terry Lai and Rigo Jesu with the CineAsia 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award in Distribution," stated Robert H. Sunshine, Co-Managing Director of the annual convention. "Both Terry and Rigo have a long and acclaimed history that makes them a ‘tour de force' in distribution, production, content creation, video, gaming, and live performances".
About Terry Lai
Terry Lai established Intercontinental Film Distributors (HK) Limited (IFDL) in 1969 to produce and export Chinese films around the world. From that singular desire, a strong company with a diversified business organization grew and expanded to include film and video distribution, cinema operations and full service advertising. This success led to the establishment of Intercontinental Group Holdings Limited in 1996. Today, Intercontinental Group is an organization with over 400 employees with a turnover in the HK$600 million range. Its businesses include film and video distribution, cinema operations, advertising and promotion services, video games distribution, e-commerce, and character products merchandising.
In 1969, Terry and a partner began acquiring foreign rights for Chinese Kung Fu films. Dubbing them in English, they sold these films overseas to great success. This led her to produce five films herself. By the mid-seventies, Terry had built up a thriving business based on the export of Chinese Kung Fu films, and the importing of European films for Hong Kong and Asia. As the Western Kung Fu craze began to subside, she turned her interests toward distributing foreign films in Hong Kong and acquiring the film rights.
With an intuitive feel for marketing, Terry pioneered innovative ways to market films to the public. She developed strong PR operations and added a media and promotions section to her business. She made bold deals to advertise her films on TV (a breakthrough and original idea at the time) and staged high profile publicity events. In 1983, she decided to rename the team, and Perfect Advertising and Production Company Limited (PAPC) was born.
PAPC has been the driving influence of IFDL's performance. Throughout the eighties and into the nineties, Terry acquired the rights to major independent productions such as The Last Emperor, the Rambo series, Basic Instinct and Die Hard with a Vengeance. Under her leadership, IFDL quickly became one of the leading film distributors in Hong Kong.
From 1992 to February 2011, IFDL was the sub-distributor for Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture, Inc., the distribution arm of Walt Disney Studios. Since 2006, IFDL has been awarded the rights to sub-distribute for Paramount Pictures International. Other than Hollywood and foreign films, IFDL also distributes many Hong Kong and Chinese productions, including the Chinese films produced by Shaw Brothers & TVB, and China's leading film company, Huayi Brothers Pictures. Furthermore, the company obtained Hong Kong film distribution rights for Japanese animated films and the world's renowned Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, such as Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea and From Up On Poppy Hill. Altogether, IFDL releases approximately 30 titles to the theatrical market each year with more than 1,000 films released as of today.
Terry was one of the first industry people to recognize the potential of video in Hong Kong. In 1981 she established Intercontinental Video Limited (IVL) and in 1988 it became the video distributor for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, releasing all Walt Disney family products to high demand. IVL's distribution pipeline was further strengthened in 2002 when it became Celestial Pictures' Hong Kong video distributor for the world's largest Chinese film producers, the prestigious Shaw Brothers Film Library, with over 600 timeless Chinese classic films. Since the launching of this library, IVL has set a new record in the distribution industry with more than 2 million units (DVD and VCD) of Shaw Classic videos sold to date. Today, IVL has the highest market share in the home entertainment market, distributing four Hollywood Studio labels (Disney, Paramount, Sony, and Universal) under its banner.
In view of the fast growth of the global gaming market, for which revenue tops the consumer entertainment market and is larger than motion pictures and music, Terry's son, Roberto (COO of the Intercontinental Group) established Lauro Games Entertainment Limited in 2003 for games distribution. Within a few years' time, Lauro Games has secured itself as a market leader in the territories of Hong Kong and Taiwan and has distributed over 1,500 game titles since its inception. Today, Lauro has become the authorized distributors for many world-leading interactive game publishers and manufacturers.
To provide a guaranteed outlet for their acquired films, Terry set up Multiplex Cinema Limited ("MCL"), a comprehensive cinema development and operations business in 1982. Since its inception, MCL has expanded to five cinemas with 26 screens in Hong Kong: MCL JP Cinema (in Causeway Bay with 2 screens), MCL Kornhill (in Kornhill with 5 screens), MCL Metro Cinema (in Tseung Kwan O with 7 screens), MCL Telford Cinema (in Kowloon Bay with 6 screens), Star Cinema (in Tseung Kwan O with 6 screens), and The Grand Cinema (located at Elements in Tsim Sha Tsui with 12 screens) is a joint venture partnership with Shaw Group.
MCL also opened MCL Cinema City in Shekou district of Shenzhen, China in August 2006 - the first in its industry to take advantage of the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA I & II). In April 2010, MCL opened another cinema in Louhu, Shenzhen and more cinema projects are expected in the future. This new market expansion has marked MCL's premier position to serve the Greater China Region. Terry has also worked closely with cinema architects to create a premier viewing environment unlike any other.
MCL is a pioneer in the local cinema industry and the first cinema circuit exhibiting digital and digital 3D feature films in Hong Kong. Apart from movie exhibition, MCL is also actively bringing alternative entertainment programs to the market.
During 2005 to 2009, Terry served on the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's Entertainment Industry Advisory Committee and the SAR Government's Film Development Committee to improve the growth of local film production. From 2007 until March 2013, Terry was one of the members of the Hong Kong Film Development Council.
In order to gather resources to grow internationally, the Group, in August of 2013, received a significant investment in its shares from eSun Holdings Limited, a member of the Lai Sun Group and a listed company in Hong Kong. With the principal businesses of eSun including music production and distribution, artist management, production and distribution of television programs, film, and video format products, the Group will have a strong base from which to expand into the rest of Asia. Under the new structure, Terry remains as the Honorary Chairman of Intercontinental Group.
About Rigo Jesu
In Hong Kong, Rigo began his career in entertainment at Capital Artists Limited, a subsidiary of TVB International, where he was promoted to the position of Acting General Manager in 1973. During this period, he grew the company's presentation of major international live performances in Hong Kong as well as establishing a music publishing and recording division for local artists. In 1980, Rigo left Capital Artists Limited to form his own company, Jesu International Entertainment Limited. His business focused on organizing and promoting international shows, presenting in concert famous artists including Eric Clapton, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and David Bowie, among others.
Apart from running his own business, he also assisted Intercontinental Film Distributors (H.K.) Limited (IFDL), focusing mainly on the sourcing of foreign films and introducing them into Hong Kong. In 1985, Rigo ceased the operation of his live entertainment business in order to become wholly devoted to the growth and development of IFDL and its parent company, Intercontinental Group Holdings Limited (the "Group"), as its Managing Director. His focus was to develop the Group into a diversified entertainment organization, with businesses covering film and video distribution, computer games distribution and e-commerce, character products merchandising, advertising and promotion, and cinema operations.
Under his management, Intercontinental Video Limited (IVL), the Group's subsidiary distributing video products, became the video distributor of Disney Studios in Hong Kong and Macau in 1988. Since then, IVL has grown rapidly. Today, IVL has the highest market share in the Hong Kong home entertainment market with four Hollywood Studio labels (Disney, Paramount, Sony, and Universal) as well as Studio Ghibli from Japan and many independent local and foreign productions distributed under its banner.
In 1993, when Buena Vista International (the international distribution arm of Walt Disney Studios, handling films produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures) was looking for a local distributor in Hong Kong and Macau to sub-distribute their films theatrically, Rigo again assisted and won the distribution rights for IFDL. With a strong belief that Disney animation must be localized in order to become widely popular in the Hong Kong market where 95% of the movie audience is Chinese, IFDL built up a mass market for Disney animation with local star talent dubbing and event marketing which extended to Disney's Pixar animated films. "Toy Story 3", released in 2010, topped the box office chart of the year and become the best animated feature of all time at the Hong Kong Box Office (and number five of the top box office chart of all time for all movie genres.)
Of IFDL's own acquisition of independent films, Rigo was also heavily involved in sourcing and acquiring distribution rights from various licensors, bringing in films with great commercial success and critical acclaim, including Academy Award®-winning Amadeus (1985), the Rambo series, The Last Emperor (1988), Como Aqua Para Chocolate (played for 295 days from 1993-94), Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995), The English Patient (1997), Gangs of New York (2003), Haunting In Connecticut (2009), Expendables 2 (2012), and Impossible (2013).
In the year 2000, Intercontinental was number one in both market share and number of films in the top ten at the box office and was chosen as recipient of the coveted "Distributor Of The Year" award presented by CineAsia to the outstanding distributor in the Asian region.
In 2001, Rigo assisted IFDL to acquire a master license to reissue the classic animated feature library of Studio Ghibli, the number one animation workshop in Japan. The library of eight titles, consisting of My Neighbor Totoro; Laputa: Castle In The Sky; and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, was released on VCD as well as DVD (for the first time) during December 2001 and August 2004 to phenomenal success in the local home entertainment market. After sub-distributing theatrically two Studio Ghibli films directed by Hayao Miyazaki - Spirited Away (which was made No.1 animated feature of the year in 2002) and Howl's Moving Castle (2005), IFDL secured the Hong Kong distribution rights for all of Studio Ghibli's new releases, including Tales From Earthsea (2006); Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea (2009); The Borrower Arrietty (2010); From Up On Poppy Hill (2012); and The Wind Rises (releasing Christmas 2013.)
In 2006, Rigo further obtained for the Group the right to distribute films produced by Paramount and Dreamworks Animation Studios, and United International Pictures. Once again, with Rigo's passion of animation and treating every film as his own, Rigo assisted in making Dreamworks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) an all-time number two holder in Hong Kong animation history, and giving Madagascar 3 a spot on the Top 10 animation chart of all time. On the live action side, IFDL has many hit releases, including Transformers (2007); No Country For Old Men (2008); Star Trek (2009); Mission Impossible 4 (2012), and World War Z (2013), with Transformers 3 topping the box office chart of in 2011 and ranking itself as being in the top six of all time.
Besides having a strong sense in independent film acquisitions, Rigo also has the spirit of a pioneer in the technological development. Under his watch, Multiplex Cinema Limited (MCL), the Group's cinema subsidiary, is at the frontier in the local cinema industry - the first cinema circuit exhibiting digital and digital 3D feature films in Hong Kong and the first to bring alternative content to the cinema. Since 2011, MCL has exhibited more than 35 different live events in Hong Kong, including a series of concerts such as "AKB Request Hour Set List 100 Best 2011" and many recorded live programs ranging from pop concerts to opera and classical ballet performances as well as some sports events.
Rigo also led the Group to expand not only in Hong Kong, but into mainland China and towards the Asia Pacific region. In August of 2006, MCL became the first Hong Kong cinema operator to solely develop and operate a cinema (MCL Cinema City) in mainland China under the terms of CEPA II.
During the period from Year 2005 to 2011, Rigo was in the position as Co-CEO of Intercontinental Group.
In order to gather resources to grow internationally, the Group, in August of 2013, received a significant investment in its shares from eSun Holdings Limited, a member of the Lai Sun Group and a listed company in Hong Kong. With the principal businesses of eSun including music production and distribution, artist management, production and distribution of television programs, films, and video format products, the Group will have a strong base from which to expand into the rest of Asia. Under the new structure of Intercontinental Group, Rigo has shifted his role to become the Group's advisor.
CineAsia 2013 will take place from December 10-12, 2013 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong. It will feature screenings of upcoming Hollywood films, sponsored events, timely and informative seminars, and the CineAsia Trade Show. CineAsia is produced by Prometheus Global Media., owner of leading entertainment publications and events including Billboard and the Billboard Latin Music Awards, The Hollywood Reporter, Backstage, Adweek, the CLIO Awards as well as ShowEast and CineEurope.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board is a Supporting Organization of CineAsia.