Director Amos WHY: Making Films is to Deliver Messages Through Images

Colleges’ Film Forums is one of the highlights of the Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation in Malaysia. Directors Amos WHY and Lawrence Kan visiting two colleges to share with local students their experiences as directors and Hong Kong film production.
10 November 2023

Presented by the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA) in collaboration with Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and GSC Movies (GSCM), financially supported by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) and Film Development Fund (FDF), and supported by Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Jakarta, Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation in Malaysia included an opening ceremony, post-screening sharing sessions, media interviews, as well as the highlight event, “Film Forum: Director From Zero”, organized in collaboration with two local colleges.


Held in Malaysia for the very first time, the forum invited guest speakers director of “In Broad Daylight” Lawrence Kan and director of “Everyphone Everywhere” Amos WHY to share their aspirations and journey of film making with local students. The forum was held on 22nd September at Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TARUMT) and Oneworld Hanxin College. TARUMT has won several academic awards and recognitions, and their Faculty of Communication and Creative Industries has nurtured young talents in the local film and television industry. Oneworld Hanxin College is the oldest Chinese School of Communication in Malaysia. Its graduates work in different news media outlets and TV and film production companies. Hong Kong actress Fish Liew is also one of the alumni. Directors Lawrence Kan and Amos WHY shared with the students in the forum the reasons why they became directors, and explained the technical skills in different aspects regarding film production, such as screenwriting, casting and costume design.

Director Amos WHY, a former athlete who once worked in fields of journalism and advertising and holds dual master’s degrees, has always been fond of creating and is very interested in news media. He does not only pay attention to current affairs, but also concerns information related to television production. He admitted being a curious person who always questions on different matters. For him, to create means to have something to express, which is also the reason to work in the media field. He also wants to tell different stories through mass media, no matter it is a magazine, web content or a film.


After returning to Hong Kong after graduation, Director Lawrence Kan participated in a short film competition and won the championship. He was then given the opportunity to shoot a feature film. Lawrence thinks that even if you cannot make a feature film at the very beginning, you still need to find opportunities to shooting anything. He encouraged students to take action and start shooting. He says, “Taking action is the best way to learn. If you love something, you won’t find it hard to do. In fact, I enjoy the process of shooting very much. Don’t worry about the outcome, just keep doing, if you are passionate about it. You will eventually learn a lot.”

The two directors also gave advice on scriptwriting and character development. Director Kan shared that he gets inspiration from small details in daily life. Whatever happens that touches him, he will try to narrate the event from different perspectives. He said, “For example, the social issues revealed in ‘In Broad Daylight’ touched me so much that I kept thinking about it even in my dreams. I didn’t want to extract from the news content and report this incident, but to find a suitable angle to turn it into a film instead. So I chatted with the journalists who reported the incident back then to understand their struggles and thoughts. At last, I decided to take the journalists’ perspective to tell the whole story. That’s how I started the script”.


Director Amos WHY added on to further explained how to develop the characters after deciding on the theme. He pointed out that there is a formula for every film, that there must be a significant twist on the protagonist’s state from the beginning towards the end of the  film. He says, “One key thing in film making is to create that drastic change in the protagonist. Once I figure out this key point, I will then start to structure the plot”.

During the Q&A session, the students participated actively and asked many interesting questions. When asked to evaluate their own creative styles, both of the directors thought the evaluation should be made by the audience. They did not want to be restricted by rigid forms and thought that styles should not be deliberately created. Kan said, “Sincerity is essential to making films and that we should tell stories honestly through films. You can deceive the audience, but can’t fool yourself. So you don’t have to build a film style intentionally. You will develop your own style through the number and variety of films you make.”


Since 2021, the Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation, presented by the Asian Film Awards Academy, have brought spectacular events, such as screening and post-screening talks, to international Asian cities. It will then be held in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Dubai, showcasing exceptional talents of Hong Kong’s filmmakers to diverse audience across different regions.


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