Hong Kong filmmakers plot pragmatic path to China (Nikkei Asian Review)

Source: http://asia.nikkei.com/print/article/45216

Hong Kong filmmakers plot pragmatic path to China

August 14, 2014 12:00 am JST

ENID TSUI, Associate editor, Nikkei Asian Review

HONG KONG — If there was ever a film industry that has been transformed by the mighty Chinese box office, it is here, in what was once called the Hollywood of the East.

     Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and director Wong Kar-wai all launched their dazzling international careers in Hong Kong, the former British colony, which churned out hundreds of movies a year in the 1980s. In the late 1990s, however, demand was hit by rampant piracy and the Asian financial crisis, which crushed consumer spending in South Korea and Southeast Asian countries where Hong Kong’s slapstick comedies and death-defying action movies were popular. That’s when the industry started looking to the fledgling market across the border.

     “The Chinese box office only really took off in the last five years and it was negligible 10 years ago,” said Rosa Li, a Hong Kong-based film consultant.

“The Chinese box office only really took off in the last five years and it was negligible 10 years ago,” said Rosa Li, a Hong Kong-based film consultant.

Last year, Chinese cinemas yielded $3.6 billion in revenue, roughly 17 times the figure for Hong Kong’s local box-office receipts. Its importance led the chairman of Hong Kong’s Film Development Fund to say recently that there would be no such thing as “Hong Kong films” soon and urged local filmmakers to avoid works that cannot sell on the mainland. Continue reading “Hong Kong filmmakers plot pragmatic path to China (Nikkei Asian Review)”

Getting an indie film distributed is as tough as producing it (SCMP)

Source: http://www.scmp.com/business/money/spending/article/1114465/getting-indie-film-distributed-tough-producing-it

Getting an indie film distributed is as tough as producing it

Peter Guy moneypost@scmp.com
PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 December, 2012, 4:58am

Have you ever fantasised about making a movie? Perhaps you have a script rolling around in your head that you think would delight and dazzle audiences, along with a casting plan culled from Hollywood’s A-list of talent.

But beware. Filmmaking ranks somewhere alongside opening a restaurant in terms of ventures that can seem fun and compelling, but which ultimately are likely to drain your wallet and break your heart. Even if you succeed in making an independent film, it’s usually difficult to get it distributed.

Continue reading “Getting an indie film distributed is as tough as producing it (SCMP)”

Stories Forlorn: Film Review (Hollywood Reporter)

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/stories-forlorn-film-review-700139

Stories Forlorn: Film Review

Directors Jason Sankey and Uri L. Schwarz debut with a drama revolving around a rarely seen side of life in Hong Kong.

For better and for worse, the days of British rule in Hong Kong left an indelible mark on the city, chief among those making it one of the most diverse cities in China, and arguably Asia, but that’s not readily apparent if the local cinema is used as the primary metric for gauging social matters. Stories Forlorn, a familiar mix of coming-of-age drama and urban thriller, wades into just those unseen diverse waters for a story that dispels the notion of privileged white youth in Hong Kong. As the story swirls around a group of randomly connected teens, drug dealers and the newly disenfranchised, all stuck in personal holding patterns in a city in flux, it’s a slice of the other side of Hong Kong life.

Set during the days leading up to the Handover in 1997 (but never overwhelmed by that watershed), what Stories Forlorn lacks in professional polish (some of the performances can be creaky at times; there are a few sound dead zones) it more than makes up for with a fresh, eye-opening voice and a perspective rarely, if ever, examined in Hong Kong cinema, independent or otherwise. Told from the point of view of a third culture kid — who, like writer-directors Jason Sankey and Uri L. Schwarz, is a non-Chinese, native born Hong Konger — the film turns its gaze on one of the city’s marginalized underclasses, just one that isn’t traditionally disadvantaged. Stories Forlorn could see a healthy life on the festival circuit, particularly in Asian-themed events where its subject matter will stand out.

Continue reading “Stories Forlorn: Film Review (Hollywood Reporter)”

Snowden YouTube Film Delivers Digital Snapshot (Variety)

Source: http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/snowden-film-team-delivers-digital-snapshot-1200503490/

Snowden YouTube Film Delivers Digital Snapshot

Espionage quickie taps into zeitgeist, internet freedom issues

HONG KONG–The team of Hong Kong film makers who last week delivered “Verax”, a short film about fugitive former NSA operative Edward Snowden, say they were propelled by an urge to get beyond the media headlines.

The picture was made by a quartet of semi-professionals comprising Jeff Floro (謝夫發露), Edwin Lee (李健恩), Shawn Tse (謝兆龍) and Marcus Tsui (崔正傑), and was posted to YouTube late last week. It was scripted by Tsui and Lee.

“First it was a snapshot in time. When Snowden popped up in Hong Kong he got so much attention that it really got people talking. We wanted to give an alternative view on the situation, beyond the media chase for where he was and what he knew,” Lee, a former TV and multimedia journalist with Hong Kong’s ATV and the South China Morning Post, told Variety.

Others on the team see “Verax” in more political terms. “The US government has abused the internet, so our response is to use the power of the internet, for hopefully good reasons,” associate producer Cassandra Chan said.

The film was shot over a period of four days, at a time when Snowden was still in the territory, though the film-makers did not contact him. Its narrative runs from the moment a CIA team discovers that Snowden is leaking classified information, to the point when he reveals himself to the world’s media. A post-script announces that he departed Hong Kong on June 23.

A pacy five-minute fictionalization, “Verax” has strong production values, driving music and somewhat more amateurish acting performances.

It takes in major Hong Kong landmarks and a series of office interiors, including one borrowed from a friendly lingerie company. The largest single item on the picture’s US$550 (HK$4,200) budget was a day’s rental of a room at the Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, where Snowden holed up for two weeks before going public with his allegations against the US government about internet snooping, wire-tapping and spying.

Continue reading “Snowden YouTube Film Delivers Digital Snapshot (Variety)”