Hong Kong Filmmakers showing up in Singapore Kick-off ceremony"Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation" was once again held in Singapore since 2021, showcasing a total of six new releases and a restored classic, to provide local audiences with a better understanding of the new generation of Hong Kong cinema and filmmakers.
Organized by the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA) and co-organized by the Singapore Film Society, the “Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation” was brought back again to Singapore! The event, supported by Create Hong Kong and the Film Development Fund, as well as fully supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (ETO) in Singapore, kicked off with a grand ceremony on September 29, 2023 at Shaw Theatres Jewel. Seven Hong Kong films of different styles were screened over three days, associated with post-screening discussions, film forums, and lectures, making the programme diverse. The “Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation” is committed to promoting Hong Kong cinema and its filmmakers to the Asian region, allowing audiences from different places to understand and explore the new generation of Hong Kong films, in order to promote the continuous development of the Hong Kong film industry.
The event was opened with Singapore premiere of the black comedy “Over My Dead Body”. The film brings together talented Hong Kong actors including Teresa Mo and Ronald Cheng, portraying relationships among loved ones and within the neighbourhood, as well as various social phenomena, in a dark and absurdly humorous way. The opening premiere attracted many Singaporean filmmakers, including Boris Boo, director of “Where Got Ghost?”, Season Chee, actor in “The Story of Southern Islet”, Grace Wu, director of “Seven Days”, Xuan Ong, actress in “Seven Days”, Wee Li Lin, director of “Gone Shopping”, Eva Tang, director of “667”, Tay Bee Pin, producer of “Five to Nine”, Adele Wong, actress in “Love in Tokyo”, and Doreen Toh, actress in “Their Remaining Journey”. Kenneth Tan, Chairman of the Singapore Film Society, delivered a speech in appreciating everyone’s enthusiastic participation in this event: “It is an honour to have Hong Kong filmmakers to come to Singapore and interact with the audience, especially as the first physical exchange event after the pandemic. Thank you to the Asian Film Awards Academy for actively promoting Asian and Hong Kong cinema and providing full support to this event.”
Director Ho Cheuk Tin, producer and screenwriter Amy Chin, and actor Mak Pui Tung from Hong Kong were present at the premiere and post-screening sharing session. Amy Chin expressed her gratitude to the Singaporean filmmakers and local audience for their support and love for “Over My Dead Body”. She mentioned that at the very beginning of film development, she always wanted to invite a new director to film this story. At that time, many of her actor friends recommended director Ho Cheuk Tin, who had just completed his first feature film “The Sparring Partner”. After multiple discussions with him, she decided to have him direct “Over My Dead Body”. She also stated that as a black comedy, “Over My Dead Body” does not only aim to bring joy to the audience but also to provoke reflections on life.
Director Ho Cheuk Tin reflected that as a Hong Kong director, he must first use his own living place as the subject matter. Although “Over My Dead Body” is a story about Hong Kong, it mentions universal issues such as property prices and urban life that are not unique to Hong Kong. Audiences living in big cities can easily resonate with it. He also mentioned that “The Sparring Partner” is based on real events, which is completely different from the fictional comedy story of “Over My Dead Body”. He encountered many challenges while filming, such as coordinating performance rhythms of different actors. Fortunately, with the full support from Amy Chin, the filming was completed ideally.
In addition, Mak Pui Tung shared in the post-screening interview of “The Sparring Partner”, “I truly didn’t expect to win the Best New Actor at the Asian Film Awards for “The Sparring Partner”. I was so fortunate to receive this award at the same ceremony as Tony Leung Chiu Wai and even had the opportunity to take a photo with him afterwards. I feel very lucky.”
Other films screened at the “Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation” include: Amos Why’s “Everyphone Everywhere”, which tells the story of three best friends reuniting after 25 years; the digitally restored version of “July Rhapsody” directed by Ann Hui, starring Jacky Cheung, Karena Lam, and the late diva Anita Mui; “Twelve Days”, directed by Audrey Lam Oi Wa, starring Dada Chan and Ma Chi Wai, which depicts the realistic drama of a young couple’s married life in Hong Kong; and the documentary “To Be Continued” co-directed by Dora Choi and Haider Kikabhoy, which depicts the story of Hong Kong’s first entertainment tycoon Harry Odell. The closing film, “One Night At School”, directed by Sunny Lau and produced by Rani Lau, was also followed by a post-screening sharing session with the director. Director Sunny Lau said in a media interview, “Films and cinemas have always brought me joy along my way of growing up. I hope my comedy works can also bring joy to the audience so that they can leave the cinema with a happy heart and a sense of relief.”
In addition to film screenings and post-screening discussions, Director Ho Cheuk Tin and actor Mak Pui Tung attended seminar events on Hong Kong film production and a new actors forum, where they had close interactions and shared insights with local filmmakers, film students, and Singaporean film enthusiasts.
Meanwhile, the “Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation” will continue its journey to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Dubai. Log on to the AFAA official website for more updates.
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