A programme of 10 Hong Kong films in different genres, including action, drama, romance and comedy, highlighted 20 years of Hong Kong cinema in a specially curated programme, "Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997-2017", at the 19th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy (21-29 April 2017).
The films ranged from works by veterans from the Hong Kong New Wave and filmmakers who came to prominence in the last two decades to films by a newer generation of directors. The programme, presented by Create Hong Kong in partnership with the Centro Espressioni Cinematografiche which organizes the annual Far East Film Festival, aims to showcase the diversity and endless creativity of the film industry of Hong Kong.
Create Hong Kong will screen the programme in 10 cities around the world, including Paris, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
"The Far East Film Festival began in 1998 with a programme of Hong Kong films," explained the festival president Ms Sabrina Baracetti. "The films were enthusiastically received by our audiences, not only from Italy but also from around Europe."
Mulberry Award for actor Eric Tsang
Icon of Hong Kong cinema Eric Tsang received a Golden Mulberry Award for Lifetime Achievement on 27 April.
The festival said that "in over forty years, this genuine legend has created a truly incredible name for himself: in cinema, on TV and even in the world of showbiz. An untiring talent who splits his time between acting, producing and directing, dedicating particular attention to emerging young talent."
Mr Tsang acted in 'Kung Fu Yoga';, 'Vampire Cleanup Department'; and "Mad World" directed by newcomers Yan Pak-wing, Chiu Sin-hang and Wong Chun respectively. He has appeared in many of Hong Kong's most famous films, including "Infernal Affairs". All these films were screened at the festival.
Special restoration of Fruit Chan's "Made in Hong Kong"
A highlight of the festival was the international premiere of the 4K restored version of the first feature film by Fruit Chan.
"'Made in Hong Kong' was one of the first films we presented from Hong Kong, so we are very pleased to have been instrumental in the restoration of this seminal work," Ms Baracetti said.
"Fruit Chan has since gone on to make his name as one of Hong Kong's leading filmmakers and producers. Fruit is a great friend of our festival and we are delighted to honour him in this way."
Fruit Chan attended the screening of the film, which was restored by Bologna laboratory L'Immagine Ritrovata, which also has an office in Hong Kong.
Other films in the programme included works by Hong Kong filmmakers such as Johnnie To and Pang Ho-cheung, who have become regular visitors and supporters of the festival. The programme of 10 films also included work by Ann Hui, Wong Kar-wai and Soi Cheang among others.
"We are pleased to partner with the Centro Espressioni Cinematografiche and its Far East Film Festival which is now one of the premier showcases for popular Asian films in Europe" said Mr Wellington Fung, Assistant Head of Create Hong Kong and Secretary-General of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, "Hong Kong filmmakers have shown themselves to be versatile and able to adapt to different trends, technologies and markets. They now make successful films in both China and Hong Kong for a range of markets. We are happy to celebrate 20 years of creativity and commercial instinct of our industry."
Apart from the screenings, the programme also included panel discussions with Hong Kong talents.
Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997-2017 is an accredited event celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
"Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997-2017"
Made in Hong Kong (Fruit Chan, 1997)
A Simple Life (Ann Hui, 2011)
Love in a Puff (Pang Ho-cheung, 2010)
Infernal Affairs (Andrew Lau/Alan Mak, 2002)
Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2004)
The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai, 2013)
The Mission (Johnnie To, 1999)
After This Our Exile (Patrick Tam, 2006)
Ip Man (Wilson Yip, 2008)
Accident (Soi Cheang, 2009)
Recent Hong Kong films screened at the Festival:
Kung Fu Yoga (Stanley TONG), Jackie-Bollywood style-action comedy, China/HK /India 2017, Italian Premiere
Extraordinary Mission (Alan MAK, Anthony PUN), drug-war-action-drama, China/HK 2017, International Festival Premiere
Soul Mate (Derek TSANG, 2016), girls-best friends drama, European Premiere
Love Off the Cuff (PANG Ho-cheung, 2017), crazy cool comedy, International Premiere
Mad World, (WONG Chun, 2016), mental illness drama, Italian Premiere - 'Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997-2017';
A Nail Clipper Romance (Jason KWAN, 2017), surf and steel romance, International Premiere
Shed Skin Papa, (Roy SZETO, 2016), quirky father-son drama, European Premiere
The Sleep Curse, (Herman YAU, 2017), blood-splattered horror, European Premiere
Shock Wave, (Herman YAU, 2017), explosive action drama, International Festival Premiere
Vampire Cleanup Department, (CHIU Sin-hang, 2017), YAN Pak-wing, hopping vampire comedy-romance, Italian Premiere
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) is the official representation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to the European Union and 15 European countries, including Italy. The HKETO, Brussels promotes the bilateral relations between Italy and Hong Kong.
Create Hong Kong is a dedicated office established in June 2009 by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It provides one-stop services and staunch support to the industries, including administration and management of funding schemes related to creative industries, providing facilitation services for location filming in Hong Kong for both local and overseas films, and is responsible for the regulatory control of special effects materials for film shooting and theatrical performances.
Far East Film Festival is the world's largest showcase of Asian popular cinema. More than 70 feature films in nine days with a chance to meet the artists, daily themed panel discussions and important retrospectives. Born in 1999 after the enthusiastic success achieved in 1998 by the Hong Kong Film focus, Far East Film is in its 19th edition in Udine, still representing a unique opportunity to experience current trends in Eastern Asian film-making. Every year, it offers the chance to watch the most successful recent Asian releases as well as staging important retrospectives. The newest feature films from the Far East (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand) are presented along with tributes and focuses on specific directors.
Far East Film Festival 19 Website