Martial arts star JuJu Chan on role in Netflix’s all-Asian Wu Assassins

  • Chan plays the femme-fatale bodyguard of a triad boss, a role she considers unique given most ‘top enforcer’ characters in films are men
  • The actress, who has previously acted alongside Donnie Yen and Max Zhang, always does her own stunts and even helps choreograph set pieces

There’s a bit of an Asian-American movement happening in Hollywood right now.

The breakout success of Crazy Rich Asians has led to more Asian-American representation on US screens big and small, including the critically acclaimed family dramedy The Farewell; the much-buzzed-about Always Be My Maybe; and beginning next week on Netflix, Wu Assassins, a contemporary crime drama that combines martial arts and supernatural elements.

The show stars an all-Asian cast headlined by Indonesian actor Iko Uwais of The Raid fame, and includes Hong Kong-born JuJu Chan Yuk-wan, whose role was specifically crafted for her.

“I initially met the crew to talk about [another] role,” recalls Chan, 30, who split her childhood between Hong Kong and the US. “But after realising my martial arts background and ability to do my own stunts, they wrote an entirely new role for me.”…

To read the full article, please visit SCMP

Advertisements

PUFF September 2019 Program: On oppression, resistance & role of media

This September, PUFF will present a program of films that addresses many of the topics related to our current events thus hopefully will help us make more sense of them – the idea of oppression and resistance; the role of media censorship, fake news, the use of media for political and personal gain.

September 4th, 2019 (Wed)
8PM – 10:45PM
Eaton KINO 1st Floor Eaton Hotel 388 Nathan Road Hong Kong

Burkinabè Rising Brazil, USA / 1h 12m / Documentary
(directed by Lara Lee, 2018)
Burkinabè Rising showcases creative nonviolent resistance in Burkina Faso. A small, landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso is home to a vibrant community of artists and engaged citizens, who provide an example of the type of political change that can be achieved when people come together. It is an inspiration, not only to the rest of Africa but also to the rest of the world.

Mary Mother
Afghanistan / 19m / Drama
(directed by Sadam Wahidi, 2016)
Mary’s only son and young man of her family is serving for military in Kunduz province. One day she hears the news of fall of Kunduz province to the hand of Taliban on radio, since the authorities have no news of her son, she decides to start her own journey to Kunduz.

Get tickets at: https://www.puff-festival.org/

Stars, luxury brands and China’s perilous patriotic tightrope

By Laurie Chen Phoebe Zhang  Published: 7:00am, 3 Sep, 2019

  • A few words on a T-shirt or misjudged meme in heightened political times can be enough to stir up the outrage of internet users and attract unwanted official attention
  • Celebrities and brands are increasingly nailing their one-China colours to the mast to guard against a backlash

When protesters in Hong Kong threw the Chinese national flag into the city’s harbour, it set off an online celebrity wave in mainland China.

The “attack” on the national symbol soon became the top trending topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, and high-profile mainland Chinese models and entertainers were quick to declare themselves bearers of the Chinese flag.National pride was also on show a few weeks later when Chinese internet users set off a storm of protest over a T-shirt by Italian brand Versace that appeared to list Hong Kong and Macau as countries.Other brands were soon caught up in the outrage for similar apparent denials of Chinese sovereignty, prompting supermodel Liu Wen, actress Yang Mi, boy band singer Lay Zhang Yixing and actress Jelly Lin Yun to pull out of lucrative deals with global luxury brands including Coach and Givenchy.

On one Tuesday alone, five brands apologised on Chinese social media and stated support for “one China” in what some internet users jokingly referring to as “Apology Day”.

To read the full article, please visit SCMP

Remembering Writer-director Peng Xiaolian

By Louisa Wei

Film director and writer Peng Xiaolian 彭小莲 passed away on June 19, 2019. Below I share some memories about her.

In May 2003, Shanghai film director Peng Xiaolian called me and asked if I was interested in working on a documentary about the “Hu Feng Counterrevolutionary Clique” case (the PRC’s first large-scale literary persecution). By that point, I had only met her once at the Hong Kong International Film Festival of 2002, but we had been writing to each other for about two years. What’s more important is that I had already read her book about her parents: Their Times (他们的岁月). I agreed to work with her on the documentary almost right away and told her I would start to look for funding. I called her back after just a few hours, because I found that we could apply to the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam’s script development grant, but we only had one week before the deadline. Xiaolian sent me a story in Chinese the next day, and a day later I came up with a proposal and a working title for the film: Storm under the Sun (红日风暴). I couriered the proposal four days later. At the end of June, we were notified that we were one of the 17 recipients of funding out of 180 applicants, though it was only 4000 euros. In July, we started filming in Shanghai. We got a fast start indeed. The path of my life as an assistant professor suddenly changed.

Over the next three years, we took over 20 trips together to interview members of the “Hu Feng Clique.” We were warmly welcomed by everyone and engaged almost immediately in frank conversations. Xiaolian introduced me as a “young professor from Hong Kong” and invited people to tell their stories to me, because I could standd in for the majority of the audience who would know almost nothing about this part of history. Xiaolian was often emotional during the interviews, and I willingly played the role of the cool-headed camerawoman. I shot most of the interviews except for two. Our interviewees were mostly poets and writers—some of them prolific—so I had to read over three hundred books to prepare for these interviews. While taking these trips, Xiaolian and I had numerous conversations, mostly about her feature films, Shanghai culture, and her life stories.

I had already begun research on female directors of Chinese language cinema, and if my approach was different from others, I have to thank Xiaolian for her sharing creative skills and frustrations about working in the industry. Some people had once asked her to summarize the theme of Shanghai Women (假装没感觉, 2002), so she asked me: “what is the film about to you?” I replied, “this is a film about three generations of women searching for their living and spiritual spaces.” She liked my response. In order to prove myself useful, I used this tag line and introduced the film to the Turin International Women’s Film Festival. Turin paid for both Xiaolian and me to fly to Turin, so we went on a trip together to Italy. I later introduced her films to the Women’s International Film Festival in Seoul in 2008, where she was invited as Director in Focus along with five of her films. Tickets for all of her films sold out. The festival also invited me to be a judge, so we met once again in Seoul. She always liked my idea of writing a book on women directors, so she introduced me to several other Shanghai women directors like Huang Shuqin 黄蜀芹 and Shi Shujun 史蜀君. I also translated the English subtitles for some of Xiaolian’s films, such as Shanghai Story (美丽上海, 2004) and Shanghai Rumba (上海伦巴, 2006). After making Shanghai Kids (我坚强的小船, 2008), she began to have trouble locating funding for her next film.

Beginning in 2002, she came to Hong Kong several times and did lots of transcriptions from the tapes we shot for Storm under the Sun (2009). She worked 10 hours a day. I also worked day and night. When she arrived in Hong Kong in June or July of 2007, she was in shock that I was eight months pregnant and still trying to make the IDFA deadline in August. But we had no time to lose. I gave her a script I put together. She revised it and recorded the voice over. I gave her an edited version in the morning; she responded with a list of 150 revisions to be done. Storm under the Sun’s early version went to Amsterdam in December 2007, but she did not go. The final version premiered in Hong Kong in 2009. She did not come either. I was a little disappointed at the time; if she had showed up and participated in the sharing sessions with the audience, it would have been a much more unforgettable experience. I understood her reason though: “what do I do if they ban me from making film?” Storm under the Sun is still showing its influence. After being exhibited at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum curated by Ai Weiwei last year, it is now available on Kanopy.

Xiaolian was never banned for political reasons from filmmaking, but she was not so accommodating when it came to investors. Ten years had passed before she could make another feature film: Please Remember Me (请你记住我, 2018). I find in this film, the “me” combines actress Huang Zongying 黄宗英, Shanghai film culture, and film—the plastic medium that records light and sound. The film’s title sounded like a cry of despair to me, even though the film was beautifully done, and ironically, in digital format. All her other feature films were shot on celluloid.

Between 2007 and 2017, she published four non-fiction books based on real people and real lives, as well as three collections of film journals. She wrote tirelessly. I read all her books with amazement. When she could not make feature films, she felt a deep sense of failure. I started to write an essay in English in an attempt to show that she was a unique writer with a distinct female subjectivity that seamlessly combines history and emotion, words and images. She was often called a member of China’s “Fifth Generation” of filmmakers, but she never liked the designation. Whereas her Beijing Film Academy classmates all went “mainstream,” she stayed with the humanistic and realist films she believed in.

In the past two years, the WeChat platform suddenly began to help her claim a lot of readers. Excerpts of her old and new books, her reviews and short stories, and interviews about her new film have been circulated on the platform. She was surprised to see the power of this new platform. I can foresee that her works will continue to be discovered by more readers.

My last chat with her was three days ago, when she told me she had a new book coming out from Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, titled Editor Zhong Shuhe: A Documentary on Paper. I knew she had been working on the book for a while and was eager to read it. She told me to bring some copies for her to Shanghai when the book comes out next month. Yesterday came the shocking news of her sudden passing. In retrospect, I find the title of this last book really meaningful. When she could no longer make films, she would write. Did she already know that this last “documentary” would stay on paper only?

June 20, 2019 Hong Kong

Source: MCLC Resource Centre

Chairwoman of Camsing, Hong Kong Group that Owns Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Arrested in China

by Patrick Brzeski

The detainment of Camsing’s founder Lo Ching by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau erased $800 million from the company’s market capitalization as soon as shares began trading Monday.

Camsing International, the Hong Kong firm that owns Marvel visionary Stan Lee’s former company POW! Entertainment, saw its shares crash 90 percent on Monday after it emerged that its chairwoman had been arrested in China.

To read the full article, please go to The Hollywood Reporter

‘The Farewell’ Makes the Asian American Immigrant Experience Feel Universal

by Nicole Clark

Awkwafina’s Billi is a Chinese American woman who struggles with her family’s secrets, but she’s also all of us and our inherited burdens.

All families are inscrutable in their own ways, and have their own forms of internal culture. It’s rare for a film to be able to telegraph just one of these ideas—and The Farewell stunningly achieves both.

To read the full article, please go to Vice

For Hong Kong Celebrities, Supporting Protests Comes With a Cost

By Daniel VictorAmy Qin and Tiffany May

HONG KONG — As Hong Kong’s protests evolve into a struggle against the grip of authoritarian China, one of the city’s biggest pop stars has emerged as an icon of defiance. She has spoken at rallies, handed out voter registration forms at marches and stood on the front lines with demonstrators, urging the riot police not to charge.

To read the full article, please visit The New York Times

The 13th Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival

Jun 6 – 22, 2019

The 13th Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival will be held from 6 to 22 June 2019, with 55 local and overseas films to be screened at Broadway Cinematheque, MOViE MOViE Cityplaza and MY CINEMA YOHO MALL. Tickets are now available at broadway circuit.

10 Themed Programmes  
To Observe the Nature of Humanities

19 local and 23 international short films are to be screened and make 10 themed programmes. Each programme, namely “Having as Losing”, “Love vs Duty”, “We are Family”, “A Comedy of Errors”, “Multiple Sex Choices”, “Who Invented Work?”, “Vain is Hope”, “Men and the City”, “The Marginal”, “Read and Done For”, consists of 4-5 local and international short films and accompanied by sharing sessions with the local directors. By appreciating and comparing the works of both local and international filmmakers, we reflect upon and rethink about our relationship with society and the world, so as to understand ourselves better and open up further possibilities.

6 Must-watch

1 Opening Film The Pluto Moment: Directed by Zhang Ming, one of the “6th generation” filmmakers from China, this film reflects his frustrations and hardships in filmmaking. Chloe Maayan (Three Husbands) shines with her role as an enigmatic young widow.  

2 Opening Film A Thousand Sails: The new short film by Eric Tsang, winner of last year’s Fresh Wave Award), is a short tale about the poignant separation between city and village, mother and son 

3 NEW! Budding Filmmakers: The new addition this year is the Budding Filmmakers to Follow Series, which showcases nine recommended short films directed by emerging Asian filmmakers, namely Chieh YANG, HOU Chi-jan, River HUANG and Takuma SATO. IncludingCronos (Best Editing (Opening Division) Golden Harvest Awards), Scissors And The CatGirl And Boy and Sticks And Stones.

4 Dilemma: Spawning Migration, I Come Empty-handed & PT Human from Local Competition;Facing Mecca (winner of CILECT Prize 2018 – Fiction) & Trials (Grand Prix, VGIK International Student Festival) from International Selection

5 Family’s Struggle: Seventeen Floor & The Redemption from Local Competition; Little Jaffna(Prix Canal +, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival) & By A Hair (Pile Poil) (Fernand Raynaud Laughter Award) from International Selection

6 Boundaries of love?: The Dropout Of Her & Call Girl And The Pimps from Local Competition; At The Border (CIBA Best Film – Fiction, CILECT Prize 2018) & Pernicio (Best Student Film, Richard Harris International Film Festival) from International Selection

Programme details: http://www.freshwave.hk/?a=group&id=13_screening

Programme Enquiry
Simon Au (Senior Festival Officer)
Tel: 3619 4565

Media Enquiry
Wong Wai Lun (Communications Officer)
Tel: 3619 4520