[Sharing After Screening] Director Jack Ng: Films are Meant to Evoke Emotions in the Audience

Four Hong Kong filmmakers took part in the "Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation” and fostered meaningful connections and a vibrant cultural exchange with the local audience and students.
01 December 2023

Held in Bangkok, Thailand, the “Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation” showcased 7 Hong Kong films at the renowned House Cinema from October 22 to 27, bringing the vibrant creativity of contemporary Hong Kong film industry to the Thai audiences. In attendance were Director Jack Ng, actress Renci Yeung from “A Guilty Conscience”, Director Anastasia Tsang from “A Light Never Goes Out” and Director Ho Cheuk Tin from “Over My Dead Body”, engaged with the audience and participate in promotional activities, offering valuable insights into current state of the Hong Kong film industry with the locals.

The opening film “A Guilty Conscience” emerged as a box office hit in Hong Kong. This compelling legal drama features renowned Hong Kong star Dayo Wong as a barrister whose client suffers from an injustice caused by his own mistakes. When presented with a chance to reverse the verdict, he decides to file an appeal to make a comeback, fighting against the bigwig to do justice. Throughout the screening, the audience couldn’t help but burst into laughter, thoroughly enjoying the film’s engaging storyline. As the film reached its conclusion, Director Jack Ng and actress Renci Yeung made a grand entrance into the theater, receiving a well-deserved round of applause from everyone present Jack shared his creative process and filming experience with the audience. Addressing the film’s legal aspects, Jack highlighted the importance of accuracy. After completing the script, he enlisted the help of a legal consultant to ensure precise dialogue and meticulous detail. By focusing on creating a captivating and entertaining story and having the script reviewed for legal accuracy, Jack aimed to deliver an authentic portrayal of the legal world.

 

However, some details had to be adapted like the positioning of people in the courtroom. In reality, the lawyers do not turn around and address the bystanders. But Jack prioritized cinematic values over strict realism. He believed that filmmaking doesn’t necessarily have to adhere to complete realism, as film are meant to evoke emotions in the audience.

 

Renci Yeung played as a young female barrister in the film. She said she had only two weeks to become familiar with the role. Fortunately, there was a legal consultant, Katie, who provided valuable assistance. ” Katie gave me a lot of advice. She taught me techniques to project my voice more effectively since my natural voice is relatively soft. She also instructed me on body language commonly used by lawyers.”

 

Jack then explained his decision to cast Renci in the role, expressing his admiration for her unique acting during the audition. He reminisced, “During the series of auditions, Renci’s performance stood out from the rest, inspiring me to consider alternative possibilities for the character. That’s why I chose her for the role.”

The Hong Kong entry for the Best International Film Award at the Oscars 2024 “A Light Never Goes Out,” received a warm reception from  the local audience with full house screening. The film revolves around the theme of neon lights. Director Anastasia Tsang believes that neon signboards are the best embodiment of Hong Kong’s local culture. She and her production team made every effort to capture the essence of the three primary colours of the neon lights: pink, yellow and green, so that the audience could experience the beauty of these luminous displays. However, she acknowledged the challenge of effectively presenting the vibrancy of these three colors simultaneously on screen.

 

Despite the difficulties encountered while filming the neon lights, the film ultimately triumphed. One of the audiences praised the film for its stunning portrayal of neon lights, noting that these lights are often associated with neo-punk aesthetic in science fiction, whereas Anastasia used them to tell a historical story. In response, Anastasia explained, “I have background in cultural management, and I always perceive cultural aspects in various things, including neon lights.”

Director of the closing film “Over My Dead Body” Ho Cheuk Tin expressed his affinity for producing films that tackle social issues. “Many new Hong Kong filmmakers who have graduated from film schools, possess a keen awareness of the current situation in Hong Kong. The events of the past decade in Hong Kong have also served as inspiration for these young filmmakers.” Both of Ho’s films are connected to social issues in Hong Kong. The first film “A Sparring Partner” was adapted from the 2013 Tai Kok Tsui double parricide and dismemberment case. The second film “Over My Dead Body ” is a black comedy about the housing challenges faced by Hong Kong residents.

 

In addition to the post-screening sharing, Ho also participated in a lecture at Sripatum University, a renowned and long-established in Thailand. Its School of Communication Arts is highly regarded, and its students have achieved numerous accolades in local and international competitions. The lecture focused on the “Next Generation of HK Films: Youngblood Filmmaker Q&A”, attracting over 300 film students. Alongside Hong Kong director Ho Cheuk Tin, the event was honoured to have Paween Purijitpanya, a famous Thai director known for his works such as “Ghost Lab” and “Body”.

 

During the lecture, the two directors discussed the evolution of the Hong Kong film industry over the years. Paween shared his admiration for Hong Kong cinema, citing Wong Kar Wai’s non-mainstream films and commercial films as sources of inspiration for his own filmmaking journey. He called himself a big fan of Hong Kong cinema. Ho added that in the era of social media, everybody tends to have an opinion on everything. This approach differs greatly from the escapist comedies and martial arts films popular in the 1980s and 1990s, where storytelling took precedence.

 

Paween also mentioned the challenges faced by the Thai film industry, such as limited budgets and difficulties in securing talented actors. Many actors now prefer working on TV series rather than films. The number of Thai films produced each year is relatively low, ranging 30 to 40, and most of them are horror films. In contrast, Ho highlighted the significant support provided by the Hong Kong government to young filmmakers through funding opportunities, allowing them to actualize their dreams of filmmaking and directing. Both directors shared their personal struggles as new directors and the journey of creating their first film. At last, they offered advice to the students aspiring to become directors, with Ho emphasizing the importance of persistence and not giving up easily while pursuing their dream of directing.

 

Presented and funded by Create Hong Kong, Hong Kong Film Development Fund, Co-presented by Asian Film Awards Academy, in collaboration with House Cinema, and supported by Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Bangkok. “Next Generation: Emerging Directors Exhibition & Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation”, was one of the highlighted events of Hong Kong Week 2023@Bangkok. It showcased the best of Hong Kong arts and culture, opened at House Cinema (Samyan Mitrtown) from 22 October to 11 November 2023 with the exhibition and screening programme. Screening programmes includes “A Light Never Goes Out” directed by Anastasia Tsang, “Hong Kong Family” directed by Tsang Hing Weng Eric, “Over My Dead Body” directed by Ho Cheuk Tin, “Mad Fate” directed by Cheang Pou-soi, “Elegies” directed by Ann Hui and “Nomad” directed by Patrick Tam. 10 films showcasing in the exhibitions includes “A Guilty Conscience” directed by Jack Ng, “A Light Never Goes Out” directed by Anastasia Tsang, “Hong Kong Family” directed by Tsang Hing Weng Eric, “My Prince Edward” directed by Norris Wong, “Hand Rolled Cigarette” directed by Chan Kin Long, “A Sparring Partner” and “Over My Dead Body” directed by Ho Cheuk Tin, “Sunshine Of My Life” directed by Judy Chu and “Lost Love” directed by Ka Shing Fung.

 

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Website: www.afa-academy.com

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