For those of you residing in Hong Kong, and you want to watch a well made, heart-felt, thoughtful and charming local film, this is your chance. Lover's Discourse directed by Derek Tsang and Jimmy Wan is not to be missed. Go support new directors, go support or there will be just HK-China coproduced films and less or none of those with great local viewpoints, go support an ensemble team of actors who did really well in the film (eason chan, karena lam, kay tse, eddie peng, jacky heung, mavis fan, william chan, eric tsang and kit chan)....But most of all, it is a film that is made for our generation where relationships are fragile and the rules of emotions are ever shifting.Oh, happy 2011. May everyone have a good one.Cherios.Lorna Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nPsJFT_y34&feature=related
Indiewire recently held a first event collaborating with HSBC to host film related panels.Tom Bernard from Sony Pictures Classics said nothing new but what he said is always useful for new producers and directors plus serves as pertinent reminders to seasoned producers who are sometime jaded and cynical about their work as the challenges seems overwhelming.Below is what said that I am using a reminder to myself. I get asked the questions below a lot by new filmmakers and glad someone put it down on paper ....***You can’t be dependent on somebody else to put your film into the marketplace. “Empowered filmmaker” is the mantra for today’s indies. If you look back in the late 70’s/early 80’s when the modern day independent film movement started, filmmakers like John Sayles, Allison Anders, Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Jim Jarmusch, Victor Nunez, Steven Soderbergh and Bob Young, etc., all had extensive knowledge of the business of film that went hand in hand with their filmmaking skills. You can look today and see that all of these filmmakers still have very independent operations where they are very much a part of the distribution and business process for their movies. They established very early in the creative process what they wanted to happen with their films and then each plotted a course using to their advantage festivals, sales agents, producer’s reps, lawyers, critics, distributors, publicists, etc., as their tools to bring to fruition the goals they set for their film.With so many distribution options available today you as a filmmaker are the one person that will be able to successfully control the destiny of your film. I say this because of all the carpetbaggers that exist feeding off of the fruits of your labor have their own interests ahead of you. Sure they will perform the services you have hired them to do, but without your direction they will weave your movie into the goals that serve their company.What I mean (for example): some filmmakers hire a sales agent (a great tool if used properly). But should you be giving away anywhere between 5 - 15% of the lifetime profits from your film for free legal work and a sales strategy that usually is comprised of screening your film at a festival, getting all the buyers in a room and seeing who can come up with the most money?The 5 - 15% could end up to be millions (to the sales agent) if your film was “The Blair Witch Project.” I tell you this story because a filmmaker empowered with the knowledge of the ramifications of a deal one can make with a sales agent will not be in the position to be taken advantage of. And if, like with “The Blair Witch Project,” they had an understanding of the marketplace, the filmmaker would be a driving force in how they presented their film to buyers with all the knowledge of the different options available for distribution and what each one means financially. If you don’t know what the ins and outs of the financials of PPV are or what distribution windows close if you go day and date with a cable channel, you could end up a year and a half later wishing you knew those answers when your film was sold.Every distribution avenue that currently exists is avalid option. You as an empowered filmmaker must have the knowledge to make the right choice. Are you directing your film and asking your mom what camera angles you should shoot on every shot, or are you making those choices yourself? Which way would be better?PART 2How do I empower myself in today’s world? Here are a few ideas.1) Mentors. Find filmmakers or producers that have been through the process of getting a film into the marketplace and develop a relationship with them. Surely they will have information on what they wished they knew when they were in your shoes.You need to find out all the companies that are currently in the marketplace that you want to distribute your film in. Then research their employees to see if they are newbies or veterans. See what films they have released recently and contact the filmmakers who sold them the film and ask what the experience was like. You will find this most enlightening. The same holds true for sales agencies, PR companies, lawyers, etc. Do not take just the success stories. Look into the failures also. 2) There are many ways you can impact your film’s life by using the tools you hire to put your film into the marketplace.For example:- What time of year do you want your film to be opened in?
Consultation on when ancillary windows should be opened.
What theaters should your film play in?
Which critics should see it first?
What markets will your film have strength in?
Collaboration with the distribution team, and on and on!Filmmaking is an art form that incorporates the business of film as part of the art. You can’t make a film and think now it is done and hand it over to a stranger that you think will make it work. It would be like having a baby and giving it away to a couple you think looks good to raise the child and then you hope for the best.PART 3As a group you need to reach out to all these organizations that say they are there to help indie filmmakers and urge them to come up with programs and resources to empower filmmakers with the information and tools to guide your films through the marketplace. These organizations spend so much time looking for nonprofit grants they have lost sight of the original goals established when they were formed. IFP, Sundance, F.I.N.D., Women in Film, DGA, etc., should all have mentor programs, data on deals, fees and feedback on sales agents, PR companies and distributors as well as programs that can explain the different distribution opportunities – the pluses, the minuses and the financials. They should create courses that can be taught at colleges that deal with and explain all these issues.If you are not empowered with the information you are shit out of luck. We have had movies with Francis Ford Coppola, Louis Malle, Pedro Almodovor, Woody Allen, Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, Allison Anders, Todd Solondz, to name a few, and they are all very much involved in all aspects of the distribution in each window. If a box office gross seems off in a market like Minnesota, a call would come in Monday from Mr. Coppola asking, “What happened?” I have similar stories for all the rest. (Sitting in the screening room with Mr. Allen going over the merits of 25 ad comps for the poster. Deciding that Todd Solondz would be the best person to do a photo shoot with the wiener girl for the “Welcome to the Dollhouse” poster.)Being an empowered filmmaker should give you the confidence to control the difficult choices one has to make to give your film the best chance for success in the market place. As Chevy Chase said to Danny in “Caddy Shack”:“Be the ball.”Full article can be found herehttp://www.indiewire.com/article/tom_bernard_empowerment/
The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) will take place this year from October 7th to 15th at the port city of Busan in South Korea. This is generally considered to be one of the best festivals in the world and certainly a must-visit for the Asian Film Industry. As the advisor to the festival and Asian Film Market (AFM) which runs alongside the festival, this year, will be a busy one for me there. I will have a film screening in competition, a film in the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), moderating a panel and attending a lot of parties and drinking a lot of makgeolli + soju. Truly, one of the best festivals to watch films and meet people and carve friendships that last beyond the last call at the bar Pusan has been instrumental to the development and growth of asian cinema and filmmakers and this year is a special year. It is the last year of the most beloved festival director, Mr Kim Dong-ho. There will be an exhibition of all the photos he has taken in his many years as traveling around the world as festival director... he will be missed dearly.Below is a photo from Mr Kim's camera of two koreans whom i adore dearly.... (L-R Song Gangho, Lorna Tee, Kim Dongho)In addition, I am looking to reach out to artists from various other industries like music, graphic design, publishing, gaming, dance, theatre, sports, animation, new media, IT, advertising, banking, etc who may be keen to explore the subject of transmedia in asia during PIFF this year. So drop me a message if you have good ideas for a panel discussion on this subject!Below is the link to PIFF's site. Find out more details there but be warned that PIFF is a very addictive festival.... once you have been there, you will always want to be back ;-)http://www.piff.org/structure/eng/default.asp
Teaser Poster of a brand new film by Irresistible Films
萬誘引力電影&香港電影發展基金prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /
Irresistible Films & Hong Kong Film Development Fund
ET Movie Production
出品人：江志強 千葉龍平 薜文熹
Executive Producers: Bill Kong, Ryuhei Chiba & Hugh Simon
Co-Executive Producers: Nansun Shi & Buddy Marini
Producer: Pang Ho-Cheung
Associate Producers: Weldon Fung & Lorna Tee
Line Producer: Linus Chan
Starring: Eason Chan, Karena Lam, Kay Tse, Eddie Peng, Eric Tsang, Kit Chan, William Chan, Carlos Chan Ka Lok, Mavis Fan, Jacky Heung
Director of Photography: Charlie Lam
Production Designer: Chau Cheuk Wai Kitty
Sound Design: Nip Kei Wing
Edited by: Derek Tsang
Original Music by: Peter Kam
Directors & Scriptwriters: Derek Tsang & Jimmy Wan
Feeling fairly nervous about tomorrow's award ceremony. I dont get nervous much except when go through long period of not having any nasi lemak but that is another story.
When we first started out making AT THE END OF DAYBREAK (心魔), it was with a a lot of hope that we can be bringing a synergy between malaysian and hong kong that is not forced and unnatural. We seeked out actors we had long admired and whom we think we could handle the characters in the script and bring the film to a new level.
To our relief, Kara Wai Ying Hung and Tsui Tien You agreed to come and play the leading roles of mother and son in the film. They are actors of top pedigree and completely professional and supportive of the rather rudimentary set up of the production. No trailers nor craft service nor limo in sight... lots of long hours, mosquitos, packed meals (which was usually quite yummy as we malaysians love nothing more than to eat well)... the results as one can see from the final film are very satisfying. The film is not everyone's cup of tea for sure but no one can dispute that the actors did a fantastic job of bringing to life the characters of disenfranchised members of society trapped in their own surroundings of a small matter escalating to tragedy.
When Kara was nominated for the Golden Horse awards last Nov, we were happy to present the film in Taiwan when the director, Ho Yuhang first had the idea to make the film from a news story of two young girls murdered and left naked in a jungle - he followed the progress of finger pointing by all the authorities of who are at fault and the parents love and fear driving their children to such dire consequences... and that is the inspiration for DAYBREAK.
Then Kara won the Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Horse ( http://www.goldenhorse.org.tw/gh_tc/gh/gh-e-5.aspx), and then subsequently at the Asian Film Awards (together with Jane Ng Meng Hui for Best Newcomer) ( http://www.asianfilmawards.asia/2010/index.php), and then the Best Actress by the HK Film Critics Association ( http://bit.ly/9esJLj) we are grateful for the appreciation and recognition by the film industry.
But now, it is the HK FIlm Awards and the stakes are higher somehow. Kara is the first winner of the Best Actress Award for HK FIlm Awards ( http://english.cri.cn/6666/2010/04/11/2481s562345.htm) and somehow most people are saying that she is shoo-in winner for Best Actress and I sincerely hope so as it would mean so much for her to be able to win at home turf. I remember her saying that she felt that she had given up on film a few years ago as she wasnt getting any decent film offers and filmmakers in HK has forgotten her. I know that everyone says that it is an honor and pleasure to just be nominated but damn, we want her to win this one. To bring a very deserving actress to the fore again ...and to a certain selfish extent, to futher push the film out there as so few people saw it in HK when it was released. And also to show that independent Malaysian films made without any support from any official bodies back home (we have support from Hubert Bals Fund/ Rotterdam & Asian Cinema Fund/ Pusan).
So tonight, i will sleep with fingers, toes and everything else i can cross, in a tight and tense knot. Wish us luck everyone.
p/s: I am happy that LOVEHKFilm.com's annual LOVEHKFilm.com awards highlighted the good work that Tsui Tien You put in and gave him the most underrated performer - thank you guys! http://lovehkfilm.com/features/lovehkfa_2009.htm
Join our facebook group for more updates of the film screenings (at various film festivals) and video releases and other updates. http://bit.ly/9VaUfO
It has been a while since HK and China starting making those big budget so called blockbuster asian films that there has been too many that has made me cringe and wanna crawl under the seats...this film is well made with a good story, has heart (though some say too sentimental but i like sentimental), plenty of action and great production design. Go support it and watch Avatar for the second time later la....
The trailer below....
One clip with chinese subtitles and the other with english subtitles. Enjoy!
Go catch the film in cinemas in HK soon. Showing at THE GRAND and BROADWAY CINEMATEQUE.
Everywhere I go to now, I am surrounded by images of Bei-bei, Jing-jing, Huan-huan, Ying-ying, Ni-ni - the 5 mascots of the Beijing Olympics. There is no escaping the biggest sporting event of the year so while waiting for it to be over, below are some of the non-olympic medals of our own making.
He wanted to be known as an artist and be taken seriously as a filmmaker (even when he is most famous for his "no wire" hard action). OK. He wanted to make his own film - which morphed from contemporary action flick to an epic, period piece (even when TWC subsequently returned the film to the sales agent). OK. But to run off into the jungles and to meditate after blowing the budget on the film and being behind schedule??? NOT OK. Better make up by making a damn solid action film Tony.....
Pete Teo who is one of Malaysian most prolific singer songwriter/ actor of indie films, and crony of mine, will be performing on Korean TV soon. His acting in films brought him to Pusan to perform live last year and now with his album TELEVISION released in S Korea, he is your next big star! Alright, he is not a cute 18 year old boy who can lip sync and dance in harmony with 4 other boys, but he is the real deal of an artist and girls still throw themselves at him and want to have babies with him!
This auspicious number only happens once every century so the chinese are thrilled to have the opening ceremony on this date. My friend Amy Chin on the other hand will premiere her latest film LA LINGERIE directed by Chan Hing Ka & Janet Chun on that date. The film stars one of the cookie girls, Stephy Tang and some other lookalike HK actresses who will wear very little in the film. And Chui Tien You who recently was in the film shoot of AT THE END OF DAYBREAK by Ho Yuhang in Kuala Lumpur, is in the film with his six packs. More importantly, it is a non war epic film and made for HK (not china) audiences. Plus Golden Scene is releasing it in HK. Go support it.
I was in India recently for the Osian Cinefan and while sitting in traffic as we do a lot in Delhi, I heard the title song for SINGH IS KING. I hope the film will be released in HK and that we can sing the chorus all together in the cinema! And rapper/ reality star Snoop Dogg has a cameo in the film http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/6617/
On the blog by Grady Hendrix on the whole Tartan/ Palisades issue over the library title, and who, how and what will happen to the many excellent and okay asian titles in the UK, a certain Razor X, asked a question that got me rolling on the ground - ask yourself what would be the opposite of Asian Extreme line? Do click on the link below to read in full the comment.
Other nuggets worth checking out are
http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/6591/1/ - Report by Patrick Frater on China's incredible growth vs the major hurdles for hollywood & the report on CAA's presence/ role in China
Finally, if you are in France now, take note of the release of LA MOME XIAO un film de Peng Tao this week. Not to be missed and one of China's most interesting new filmmaker to watch out for.
Okay, I am sad that I cant be in Locarno this year as it is a beautiful festival but on the jury is Masahiro Kobayashi whose beautifully dialogue-less film, AI NO YOKAN (REBIRTH) won the Golden Leopard last year .... well, hope he enjoys the lakes and mountains as much as the films this year.
Go for Gold!
am too depressed to work after the news of the wedding in Bhutan of my all time favourite HK actor, labeled by Grady on Kaiju as the Wedding of Millenium ( http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/kaijushakedown/?post=home) that you are receiving this latest update :-(
I also saw the DARK KNIGHT yesterday which will be my all time favourite BATMAN film. The film is magnificently well made and I have not seen Hong Kong filmed in that way before (production services in HK done by October Pictures who also last year supported films such as I COME WITH THE RAIN, LARGO WINCH, SEVEN MOON, etc). Yet, it was a painful and sad viewing of a great film by Christopher Nolan as everytime Joker appears on screen, the performance by Heath Ledger so very convincing as the all consuming evil with cause but your heartache of his passing is resurfaced and it just wont go away. Review of the film by Justin Chang of Variety is fairly spot on ( http://www.variety.com/VE1117937619.html)
Just returned from my very first trip to India at the Osian Cinefan Film Festival ( http://cinefan.osians.com/ ) where TOKYO SONATA by Kiyoshi Kurosawa won the Best Film (this film is so subtle yet so powerful in its message of failure in our ever competitive world that many may not appreciate it immediately but I am glad the jury members at the festival did). Moderated two panels – one on Co- production and another with first time filmmakers and both are enlightening though the panels were way too large for any real discussion to take place. The 10th edition, this is a festival which has a lot of heart and with the improved organization, can play a major role in bridging India with the rest of Asia and Middle East. Now, for me to get myself to Mumbai and try to spot my all time favourite Indian star, SRK aka King Khan aka Shah Rukh Khan. Fingers crossed that it will be soon.
Prior to India, I was in Slovakia for ARTFILM International Film Festival ( http://www.artfilm.sk/index.php?lang=en) where I was there to introduce the films in the NEW CHINESE CINEMA focus the fest has programmed. It was great that I was catching up with films that I had wanted to see for a long time like Missing Gun, Summer Palace, Bliss and Tuya’s Wedding but also introduced me to films like Perpetual Motion by Ning Ying. The fest also had a another great section where they celebrated the 25th anniversary of what many emerging filmmakers would deem as the most important fund that helped them in the start of their career – HUBERT BALS FUND. The screening of selected films supported by Hubert Bals is testament to the great vision of the fund and the current fragile state of the fund in the possibility of losing the grant by the government would not just be sad but a tragedy for the discovery of new talent in cinema. Please don’t let the all time favourite fund of emerging filmmakers not carry on the pivotal role they are playing. ( http://professionals.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/eng/hubertbalsfund.aspx)
Peng Tao is my new all time favourite Mainland Chinese filmmaker. Many of you would not know him as his film did not go to major festivals for new filmmakers but LITTLE MOTH has won 9 awards so far and the director recently went to Sundance for the Writing Lab for his new film. We are working together on the film now titled THAT YEAR WHEN WE WERE YOUNG and hopefully, we can shoot the film this year. Now who wants to be our favourite all time investor and support this talented filmmaker who will be sure to be an important filmmaker soon??
THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE WEIRD by Kim Ji-woon opened in South Korea recently to huge box office numbers and has been sold to the ever elusive territory of USA. I wonder if the film will be screened in Pyongyang Film Festival (North Korea) scheduled to take place end Sept this year? Many people will be making the trek and braving not having their mobile phones with them for a week but I will instead be focusing on preparing to attend my all time favourite film festival in asia, Pusan which starts this year on 2nd October. Pusan faces an uphill battle this year with many detractors happy to say that the festival is losing themselves over the ever growing focus of glamorous events for the stars or a redundant film market but one must not forget that PIFF has been for a while and remains the best place to watch many of the best Asian films plus the bonus of karaoke all night long to be followed by supper of live octopus. What more can one ask for? Plus the ever amazing Kim Dong-ho who is of course my all time favourite festival director with his inspiring passion and energy that puts us younger ones to shame ( http://www.piff.org/intro/default.asp?lang=eng)
Okay, with the mention of Kim Dong-ho, my spirits are lifted and I can now concentrate on getting back to work. And to maybe see Red Cliff and not cry when I see Tony on screen.
Have a good summer and keep cool
Sorry this update has been long overdue but work gets in the way. First, a brief Cannes wrap -up.
I only saw a handful of film but drank barrels of champagne. Not good but obligatory in while in Cannes ;-) The films i managed to see were good though - TOKYO SONATA (walked on the red carpet with the delegation in heavy downpour!! but what a silently powerful film about family and failure), THE CHASER (very impressive debut but oh so violent) and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD (massively fun and the actors looked like they enjoyed every moment of being in the film)
Films I wished I had seen - Waltz with Bashir, Knitting, Tulpan, The Silence of Lorna, The Class, Tokyo and more. Does one get to see every film one wants to see in one lifetime?
The scandal surrounding the mix-up with some of the films who were mis-informed about their chances of winning is unfortunate. To be told that a film is winning a prize, the director flew his mom into Cannes and everyone of the delegation walked on the red carpet and when the announcement came, no award - my heart goes out to them. If anyone knows the inside story of what happened, do let me know.
Also on the Croisette, Indian companies made headlines for announcing investment of 1billion in 18 months and tying up with Hollywood stars (Reliance Big Entertainment) while Eros announced a joint venture with Lionsgate which are interesting development in the rise of the Indians as a major global player in the past few years. Maybe the rest of Asia (and the world) can stop thinking of Bollywood as only films where it is 3 hours of singing and dancing and melodrama and see how to embrace the films and the industry more.
On the other side of Asia, RED CLIFF which stars some of the best talents (Tony Leung, Hu Jun, Chang Chen, Takashi Kaneshiro and Zhou Wei) and some pretty faces (Lin Chiling - apparently Taiwan's number one beauty???!!!), is the most important film for Asia this year cause it is not just
the most expensive ever at $80m USD
has John Woo back from Hollywood and
filled with controversy of Chow Yun Fatt dropping the film a few days before shoot was to commence and now news of crew members killed in a fire accident.
This film is key to Asia because of the financing structure where all the money (all $80m) for the film is from Asia - so if this film falls, many investors in this region will be less likely to be so supportive of big asian titles and if the film succeeds, it shows the power of East Asian investment, directors/ producers, stars and audience and we will be bombarded with more epic period war films (arrrrghhhhh, no more!!!).
Now in Shanghai for the film festival. This festival amazes me in the fact that being the only official international film festival in China, you would think that it would receive the support that a national treasure should be accorded but only THAT sporting event gets new buildings, new roads, new train system and super colourful mascots! while a film festival get nearly no government support and relies on the generosity of the industry wanting to build a long term relationship with China or those who attend it in an attempt to understand how to work with this giant.
Variety is also co- hosting a panel this Sunday morning to talk about the artiste management in Asia and we have panellists from Avex (Japan), IHQ (S Korea), Huayi (China), CAA (US) and our own Patrick Frater mulling over stars - if you are in town, drop by and say hello
In South East Asia, some interesting developments.
*KRU which started out as pop trio in the country is now the first Malaysian company to work with Hollywood and makes me wonder if their superhero film CICAKMAN (lizard -man) will inch their way to an American remake.
*Singapore Film Comission has a new film fund for singapore residents who is a first time director of up to $250,000 USD - I hope that funds like that would develop to reflect the state of films as not being bound geographical borders and allow for it to support beyond singaporean talents for Singapore truly to be able to be the centre of asian filmmaking as they aspire to be now.
*Ho Yuhang's new feature film, AT THE END OF DAYBREAK is the first Malaysian (Paperheart), Hong Kong (October Pictures) and South Korean (M &FC) co-production and starts shoot early July. It would feature
Malaysian director and crew,
Hong Kong actors Chui Tien You (Glass Tears, After This Our Exile) and Kara Hui aka Wai Ying Hung (a great actress who started as a Kungfu star during the days of Shaw Brothers productions)
Taiwanese sound crew from Tu Du-che's team (best sound team in this part of the world!)
South Korean post production courtesy of Asian Cinema Fund (Pusan)
and a homeless producer aka your truly who is very stressed and excited about this coproduction.
Those of you who are new to this group, do drop by and add your two cents of news, gossips, photos and videos. Also log on to Variety Asia Online http://www.varietyasiaonline.com to check out latest asian news and Kaiju Shakedown this week has updates on Mongol doing well in the US (Hooray for Sergei and Asano), Johnny To wanting to make more films over long periods of time (hmmmmm....) and how to do the Olympic cheer!
Have a good weekend and life.
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