The 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival Filmmaker in Focus: Ms. Sylvia Chang
Sylvia Chang, the internationally recognized director, producer and actress, is the “Filmmaker in Focus” of the 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival (23 March to 6 April, 2015). In celebrating her achievements, the Hong Kong International Film Festival will screen 13 of Chang’s films, including the world premiere of her latest work, Murmur of the Hearts (2015), with Legend of the Mountain (1979), That Day, on the Beach (1983), Passion (1986), Queen of Temple Street (1990),Tempting Heart (1999), 20 30 40 (2004), among others. Chang will attend the “Face to Face” seminar on 5 April at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, sharing her insights on film, art and life.
Born in Chiayi City, Taiwan, Chang moved with her family to Hong Kong and New York before returning to Taiwan at age 15. While a student at the Taipei American School, she hosted a radio programme of Western popular music for Air Force radio, and made her first screen appearance in a variety show on China Television (CTV).
In 1972, Chang starred in her debut The Flying Tiger (1973), and she won Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Horse Awards for her performance in Li Hsing’sPosterity and Perplexity (1976). Chang continued to act under renowned filmmakers such as Li Han-hsiang in The Dream of the Red Chamber (1977), King Hu inLegend of the Mountain (1979) and many others. She also became increasingly involved behind the camera, including working as Assistant Director for Lung Kong’s Laugh In (1976). With Wu Sau-yee and Lo Kai-muk, Chang founded Unique Films which financed (and in which Chang starred) Ann Hui’s feature film debut,The Secret (1979), which became a milestone in Hong Kong’s New Wave. Chang’s success as a host on Taiwan Television (TTV) offered her an opportunity to produce her own programme. Her mini-series Eleven Women (1981), an early vehicle for filmmakers such as Edward Yang and Ko I-Cheng, signaled the arrival of Taiwan New Cinema.
Chang has made nearly a hundred films in her four-decade acting career, including Aces Go Places (1982), and English-language productions Soursweet (1988) and The Red Violin (1998). She is a two-time Golden Horse Best Actress winner for her roles in My Grandfather (1981) and Passion (1986); a two-time Best Actress winner at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her roles in Passion (1986) and Forever and Ever (2001). Her directorial debut was Once Upon a Time (1981), a completion of Tu Chung-hsun’s film after his death in a car accident. Five years later, Chang went on to star, write and direct Passion, a landmark film whose astute characterisation of women eventually became Chang’s stylistic signature. Her other award-winning screenplays and films include Siao Yu (1995), Tonight Nobody Goes Home (1996) and Tempting Heart (1999). Her latest film as writer-director, Murmur of the Hearts, will be released in 2015.
In 1995, Chang established a new production company with Chong Lai-chun and began to manage artists, among them her protégés René Liu and Angelica Lee. Chang has also served as Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (2010–2013), President of the Taipei International Film Festival (2011–2014) and Chairwoman of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (since 2014).
Aside from her cinematic achievements, Sylvia Chang has also been active in music and philanthropy. In 1980, she co-founded Gosh Music with renowned musician Lo Ta-yu, producing widely popular records including 1981 album “Childhood,” and the enormously successful 1984 single “Tomorrow Will Be Better,” performed by sixty Taiwanese artists. In 1988, she established the Gosh Foundation to encourage young people to participate in the creative industries. She is also a Lifelong Volunteer for World Vision, a humanitarian and advocacy organisation. Recently, Chang has begun working in the theatre, creating and starring in the contemporary white-collar drama Design for Living (2008), whose feature film adaptation by director Johnnie To will be released in 2015.
“FACE TO FACE” with Sylvia Chang*
Date: 5 April 2015 (Sunday)
Location: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
*Admission to Sylvia Chang Master Class is free with online registration. Please check HKIFF website or Facebook page for registration opening date.