SingaporeSingapore Film Society
Date: 29 September 2023– 1 October 2023
Location: Singapore (Shaw Theatres Jewel, Shaw Theatres PLQ)
Guest: Ho Cheuk Tin, Amy Chin, Mak Pui Tung
Screening: Over My Dead Body, The Sparring Partner, Everyphone Everywhere, July Rhapsody, Twelve Days, To Be Continued, One Night At School
Partners: Singapore Film Society, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore (HKETO Singapore)
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 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,
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.
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.
In addition to screening activities, AFAA and the Singapore Film Society, together with other partners, hosted three different film forums and lectures, including the “Stage to Screen: Regional New Actor’s Forum” where Mak Pui Tung and three Asian actors, Season Chee from Malaysia, Ong Suan and Doreen Toh from Singapore, discussed the similarities and differences between stage actors and film actors. In the forum, they shared their journey of transforming their rich stage performance experience to the silver screen, as seasoned stage performers became newcomers in films.
The forum was held on September 30, 2023, at Shaw Theatres Paya Lebar Quarter, hosted by Adele Wong. Mak started with the discussion on a selected sequence of his performance in the film “The Sparring Partner” with the guests and audience, revealing the preparation work he did for the character. He then went on to talk in detail about his acting career, since graduation from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and working as a full-time stage actor for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, where he did his best in both small-scale and large-scale productions without fear of suffering losses. Mak said, “I told myself that I would be a full-time stage actor for five years at most, and then I must get out of my comfort zone and try in other positions.” Later, he started working on different short films until he got the lead role in “The Sparring Partner”. He added, “When I was doing stage plays, no one knew me; only after I shot my first film, everyone recognizes me and even asks to take photos with me on the street.” Mak encouraged the audience, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t give up on any opportunity”.
Meanwhile, director Ho Cheuk Tin visited the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) to participate in a lecture on Hong Kong film production, where he shared the pre-production process of films, the experience of working with actors, and the feelings of creating films of different genres. He was also invited to the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where he attended a campus lecture titled “Cinema and the Youths in Hong Kong”. He participated in a roundtable discussion with professors and scholars from Singapore, discussing the impact of Hong Kong films on different aspects and talking about the differences between the new generation of Hong Kong films and in the past, including the Hong Kong New Wave and the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema. The audience gained a better understanding of the new developments in the Hong Kong film industry.
In addition to screening events and forum discussions, director Ho Cheuk Tin visited Infinite Studios, a well-known integrated media production company in Singapore. Infinite Studios provides services such as post-production, visual effects, and animation. They are gradually establishing their own production and distributing original content worldwide. They also operate Singapore’s largest soundstages.
Director Ho Cheuk Tin had a meeting with the Chief Operating Officer of Infinite Studios, Freddie Yeo. Freddie Yeo arranged a visit to shooting locations of Infinite Studios for director Ho and they watched behind-the-scenes footages and clips of film projects in the screening room together. The two had in-depth discussions about film production, including the development of Singapore’s film and television industry and how the Singapore government supports its growth.
Furthermore, film professionals from Hong Kong and Singapore gathered for a grand luncheon, bringing together directors, producers, screenwriters, actors, and film and television academia in both places. Hong Kong representatives included director Ho Cheuk Tin, producer and screenwriter Amy Chin from “Over My Dead Body”, actor Mak Pui Tung from “The Sparring Partner”, director Sunny Liu and producer Rani Lau from “A One Night at School”. Singaporean representatives included Sally Wu, the Programmer Head of Partnerships at Singapore Film Society, director and screenwriter Boris Boo from “Greedy Ghost” and “I Not Stupid”, producer Leonard Lai and director Boi Kwong from ”Geylang”, director Jacen Tan from “Zombiepura”, director Derrick Lui from “Grade D”, producer Tay Bee Bin from “Five to Nine”, lecturer Jon Foo from Shelton International College, lecturer Dynax Yiu from The Institute of Technical Education(ITE), and producer Silvia Wong. They exchanged ideas, shared different production experiences, discussed prospects, and explored opportunities for collaboration between the film industries of Hong Kong and Singapore. Meanwhile, attendees of the luncheon discussed on the films shown in the Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation in Singapore and noticed that these Hong Kong films, which are not able to be released in Singapore, are very popular among local audiences. The Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation provided guests with the opportunity to get to know each other, establish connections, and explore possibilities for collaboration. This cross-regional exchange and cooperation is crucial for the film industry development. We wish to see in the future more collaborative works from Hong Kong and Singapore shining on the international stage.
Screening schedule in Singapore:
Over My Dead Body：29 September 2023 – 19:30, 1 October 2023 – 11:00
The Sparring Partner: 30 September 2023 – 14:00
To Be Continued : 30 September 2023 – 19:00
July Rhapsody: 30 September 2023 – 21:20
Twelve Days: 1 October 2023 – 15:00
Everyphone Everywhere: 1 October 2023 – 17:20
One Night At School: 1 October 2023 – 19:50
All films are shown in original Cantonese language with Chinese and English subtitles.
All films are Singapore premiere.
In 2013, three main Asian film festivals – Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo – joined together to create the non-profit organization, the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA) to promote and develop Asian cinema and its talents. AFAA highlights, strengthens and develops Asian film industry and culture through the annual Asian Film Awards, and with financial support from Create Hong Kong and Film Development Fund of the Hong Kong SAR Government, several year-round initiatives for building regional and international audiences such as the Masterclass Series, Journey to the Fest, Asian Cinerama, Young Film Professionals Overseas Training Program and Film Craft Workshops.
Create Hong Kong is a dedicated office set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 1 June 2009 to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It co-ordinates Government policy and effort regarding creative industries, focuses Government resources for the promotion and speeding up of the development of creative industries in Hong Kong, and works closely with the trade to boost the development of creative industries.
The Film Development Fund was first set up by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1999 to fund projects and activities which contribute towards the development of the Hong Kong film industry, including part-financing small-to-medium budget film productions; enhancing efforts to promote Hong Kong films in the Mainland and overseas; enhancing initiatives to train talents in various aspects of film production and distribution; and enhancing the interest and appreciation of Hong Kong films by the local audience.