FilMart: SIL-Metropole Sets Hong Kong Slate as China’s Cinema Savior

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Patrick Frater

Sil-Metropole Organization, a Hong Kong-based film production arm of the mainland government, on Monday unveiled a slate of star-studded projects telling Hong Kong stories. All are slated for 2017 release.

Chen Yiqi, chairman of the Sil-Metropole, told Variety that each project was expected to cost upwards of $6.45 million (HK$50 million) to produce. He said the films will be released simultaneously in Hong Kong and mainland China, and added that Hong Kong stories will bring mainland Chinese audiences back to the cinema.

“China’s film industry needs a greater diversity of stories. We observed that a lot of well-received films in mainland China had strong Hong Kong flavors, or were directed by Hong Kong film makers who brought their unique storytelling to the mainland. We feel that we must keep Hong Kong cinema alive. They are appealing to mainland Chinese audience,” said Chen.

Among the highlights were “Dealer/ Healer,” starring an ensemble cast comprised of Sean Lau Ching-wan (“Overheard”,) Louis Koo (“Three”,) Lam Ka-tung (“Trivisa”) and Zhang Jin (“The Grandmaster”.) The film directed by Lawrence Lau tells the life story of reformed gangster and drug addict Peter Chan Shun-chi, who also serves as the film’s producer.

Also based on real events, “House of the Rising Sons” is a musical drama set in the 1970s and 1980s. The story is inspired by the escapades of Hong Kong band The Wynners. The band’s drummer, Anthony Chan serves as director of the film.

The company also introduced “Undercover vs Undercover,” a crime action thriller starring a young cast including Vanness Ng, Andy On and Philip Ng, who is also the film’s action director. The film is directed by first-time directors Lui Kun-nam and Tam Kwong-yuen.

“We plan to launch more than 10 movies each year and put more resources in film-making, as to keep contributing to the Chinese film industry,” Chen said.

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  1. Rex says:

    I want to be happy about this because I’m a hardcore fan of Hong Kong cinema in all its forms, but more communist mainland money behind these productions probably means they’ll be toothless compared to their predecessors. Buddy’s got a point, though: just about EVERY single “Chinese” movie that’s had any real success on the mainland has done so because of superior HONG KONG talent either in front of or behind the camera. And to the world at large for decades before (and even after) the tragic handover, Hong Kong cinema WAS Chinese cinema. It GAVE Chinese culture to the world. Mainland cinema has been a pale substitute what with its endless “look how big this is” period epics, suffering peasant melodramas and shallow, unexportable consumerist romantic comedies. Oh well, any Hong Kong stories being told on the big screen are worth celebrating…for now!

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