Special Screening: Female Directors (2012)
Q & A with Director Yang Ming Ming and Actress Luna Kwok
Moderated by Dr. Timmy Chen
5 Dec 2018 Wed 6:30 PM
CVA104, Communication & Visual Arts Building, HKBU, 5 Hereford Road, Kowloon Tong, HK
While studying at Beijing’s Communication University of China, Yang Jing signed up for a series of seminars on feminism and filmmaking. When she arrived for the first session, the audience numbered a mere 11 – from a student population of more than 13,000.
Yang remembers how the participants, herself included, struggled to keep up with what the speakers were saying: “We were at a loss about all the concepts and theories we had just heard of for the first time.”
That was in 2006. Since then, Yang says, things have changed. Having established The One International Women’s Film Festival, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in 2017, the only officially sanctioned event of its kind in the mainland, she was invited last month to deliver a talk at her alma mater about her experience. In a packed auditorium, Yang discovered a well-informed audience with their own perspectives about gender-related issues.
“There was a lot of interaction and exchange of ideas, and it reflects the way society has progressed,” she says.
Three of this year’s biggest box-office hits in China were directed by women while several young Chinese female cineastes launched their debut features at the Berlin, Rotterdam and Venice film festivals.
Yang’s own festival is symbolic of this progress. The One, the second edition of which wrapped up in September, is an ambitious enterprise that goes well beyond the screenings. Yang and her colleagues say they were amazed by the response of the local audience to their selection, including the more ideologically challenging titles.
“We were surprised by how viewers warmed to films such as Orlando,” says festival programmer Sydney Lee, referring to Sally Potter’s 1992 adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending 1928 novel. “It was quite avant-garde at the time it was released, and remains so in comparison to what’s being screened [in China] now.
“We had a retrospective of [French film director] Agnès Varda’s work – and, again, we thought it was geared for a more limited audience. It turned out the box-office takings were really good for that, too.”
The One also collaborated with the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, which ends on November 25. For that venture, Yang and colleagues presided over a mini-showcase of movies made by Chinese women from the 1980s (Lu Xiaoya’s The Girl in Red), 90s (Li Shaohong’s Bloody Morning and Huang Shuqin’s A Soul Haunted By Painting) and 2000s (Li Yu’s Dam Street).
Back in September in Chengdu, The One hosted a forum on the history of women-led filmmaking and a panel discussion with female editors from mainland China, Taiwan, Poland, South Korea and the United States.
Ye Ning, chief executive of Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers Pictures, attended the festival’s opener, Lost, Found (2018).
“He wasn’t here to check on the film’s box-office potential in Chengdu,” Yang says. “He said he was here to have a look at the possibilities of working with women filmmakers.”
Getting the industry onside is crucial, Yang believes, given its stranglehold on how women are portrayed on screen.
“Figures show women make up around 65 to 67 per cent of cinema-goers, so that’s an incredible audience base for companies to capitalise on,” she says. “But the gender perspectives in blockbusters can be really dated – imagine how that would affect the women watching these films.”
Yang says she and her team rejected several festival submissions because the films had too much of a masculine perspective, despite being written by women.
And she says she aims to dedicate more time at future festivals to films and events about women in rural China.
“There’s a big difference between the challenges faced by those living in the cities and their village counterparts,” she says. “The urbanites’ struggle in offices is severe, but women in the countryside have to confront even harsher conditions in life.”
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Lingnan University’s Re-establishment in Hong Kong, the University’s Department of Visual Studies has engaged five renowned local film directors including Dr Johnnie To, Ms Mary Stephen, Mr Poon Hang Sang, Mr Adam Wong and Ms Lai Yan Chi to develop the Lingnan 5.0 Film series. Premiere of the film series was held today (20 June) at the MCL Festival Grand Cinema, Festival Walk and well attended by staff, students, alumni and friends of the University.
“Liberal arts education is the key feature of Lingnan University, with the primary aim of cultivating global citizens with humanistic quality. Well-educated and civilised, capability of critical thinking and serving the community are essential qualities of liberal arts education, as well as values that Hong Kong people are proud of.” said Dr Johnnie To, creative advisor of the project as well as Lingnan University’s Honorary Fellow. With the help from teachers and students of Lingnan’s Department of Visual Studies, Dr To gathered a collection of audio-visual materials with the theme “liberal arts”, from which he edited a short film We Have the Fortune to Choose, Still… to showcase the liberal arts spirit of Lingnan.
Short films produced by the other four renowned local film directors Ms Mary Stephen, Mr Poon Hang Sang, Mr Adam Wong and Ms Lai Yan Chi are The Memory of Water, Green Dust, Bitter Sweet and The Bench respectively. These four short films carry their distinctive styles and showcase Hong Kong’s unique stories and core values.
Please click here for the trailer of the Lingnan 5.0 Film series.
Source: Lingnan University
Documentary Film: Regional, Theoretical & Political Parameters Conference
Date: 25-27 June 2018
Venue: CVA1022, Communication and Visual Arts Building, HKBU, 5, Hereford Road, Kowloon Tong, HK
The 11th Chinese Documentary Festival organised by Visible Record will be held in October 2018. The Festival comprises two Sections: Competition and Special Selection. The Competition Section is now open for submission. Documentary filmmakers from all over the world are invited to join.
Since its inception in 2008, the Festival has drawn the attention of filmmakers from around the world, especially those of mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Thanks to their support, the Festival is attracting bigger audiences each year and has become a major event for Chinese documentaries.
Founded in 2004, Visible Record is a non-profit arts organisation, which has dedicated itself to promoting Chinese documentaries.
1. Documentary films produced between 1 January 2016 and 11 May 2018
2. Such films should contain no less than 50 percent of dialogue in Chinese (including dialects) or issues on Chinese society
3. Feature film: 60 minutes or above; Short film: 59 minutes or below
Please fill in the application form on the following page and send it to email@example.com. Five duplicates of the film (on DVDs) must be sent to Visible Record before the deadline.
Film programs include a retrospective on Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, a new film from one of the most-recognizable artists in Asia, Sylvia Chang (“Love Education”) and another from veteran Asian Canadian director Mina Shum (“Meditation Park”).
Eight Māori female directors deliver “Waru,” a film in which all eight parts start at 10 a.m., are told in real time, are a single 10-minute take and each feature a Māori female lead.
Re-Thinking Chinese Language Film History
A Symposium organized by the Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities at The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese-language cinema has a long history, almost as long as film itself. The “Re-thinking Chinese-Language Film History” symposium organized by the Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities at The Education University of Hong Kong, revisits this topic with a wide range of presentations including Cold War era Chinese films, Hong Kong – China film co-productions and Eco-Cinema.
Date : 23 March 2018 (Friday)
Time : 09:45am – 5:30pm
Venue : E-LP1-04, Tai Po Campus, The Education University of Hong Kong
Medium : English
Gender in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing
Date: March 16, 2018 (Friday)
Venue: Rm. 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Throughout the history of science fiction and fantasy literature, women writers have pushed the boundaries of the genre to probe topics at the edges of the human imagination. Mary Shelley, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, Margaret Atwood, and, of course J.K. Rowlings are all giants known beyond hardcore fans. With Hao Jingfang winning the prestigious 2016 Hugo Award, Chinese women writers add their names to the growing list of pioneering science fiction authors in the Chinese speaking world. This panel of three accomplished writers explores the world of women in science fiction by focusing on the reasons for their choice of genre, themes, characters and plot in their fiction as well as the particular challenges they face publishing science fiction literature.
Becky Chambers, Author
Becky Chambers is the author of the science fiction novels. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, among others.
Tang Fei, Author
ang Fei is a speculative fiction writer and a member of SFWA. She has been writing and publishing nearly 400,000 words of short stories and novelettes since 2005 in Jiuzhou Fantasy and Science Fiction World.
Zen Cho, Author
Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia. She is the author of Crawford Award-winning short story collection Spirits Abroad and editor of anthology Cyberpunk: Malaysia. She has been nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and honour-listed for the Carl Brandon Society Awards for her short fiction.
Prof. Nicole Huang (Chairperson, Department of Comparative Literature, HKU)
For registration: https://goo.gl/nZWA2e
All are welcome
Committee on Gender Equality and Diversity, Faculty of Arts, HKU
Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures (CSGC), HKU
Department of Comparative Literature, HKU