Guerrilla Tactics as Hong Kong Documentary ‘Yellowing’ Denied Theatrical Release

A documentary capturing moments of one of Hong Kong’s biggest civic protests could become the next “Ten Years,” last year’s dystopian imagining of Hong Kong under Chinese rule.

The new film, “Yellowing” has been denied general release in the city’s theaters despite repeated pleas. It documents the 79-day ‘Occupy Central’ protests in Hong Kong in 2014 and includes footage capturing clashes between protesters and the police, as well director Chan Tze-woon being punched in the face by a policeman.

Yellow was the color of the umbrellas carried by protesters as a shield against rain and tear gas.

The film premiered at the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival in January. Ying E Chi, an independent film body that was among the producers, has been negotiating with theaters ever since. Ying E Chi’s Vincent Chui has often worked with commercial cinemas to host special screenings of independent films. But after “Ten Years” won the best picture prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards in April, sparking an immediate political backlash, cinemas told him that there would not be any slots for “Yellowing” until 2017.

“I was hoping ‘Yellowing’ can get general release. Ying E Chi helped me negotiate with cinemas for a long time, but we failed,” Chan told Variety. The Hong Kong Theaters Association could not be reached for comment.

Chan has instead taken to staging guerrilla screenings. He said 20 screenings reaching nearly 3,000 people have been staged so far. Chui says that in order to meet the requirements for next year’s HKFA nomination, five ticketed public screenings were held this week at the Hong Kong Film Archives.

Like “Ten Years,” “Yellowing” is also enjoying a festival career. It played at the Taiwan International Documentary Festival in May and will next go to the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Chinese Documentary Film Festival in Hong Kong later this month. It has also been submitted for competition at the prestigious Golden Horse Film Awards in Taiwan.

“Freedom of speech and creativity in Hong Kong has been eroded over the the years. I’m very worried [about the future of Hong Kong cinema]. The topic of your films can directly or indirectly affect your film’s chance of accessing a wider audience,” Chan said.

More Film

  • Knuckle City

    Jahmil X.T. Qubeka on Durban Opening-Night Film ‘Knuckle City’

    DURBAN–Dudu Nyakama is an aging boxer whose best fighting days are behind him. But for a man whose only glory has come in the ring, a big prize fight offers the one shot at saving his family, dragging him into the criminal underbelly of the gritty township he’s spent his whole life trying to escape. [...]

  • it chapter two, comic con

    Comic-Con: 4500 Gallons of Fake Blood and Everything Else to Know About 'It Chapter Two''

    Comic-Con 2019 kicked off with a stacked presentation from the director and cast of “It Chapter Two” on Wednesday, inspiring a curious amount of joy at San Diego’s Spreckles Theater in spite of the abject terror offered up by the film. The closing chapter to 2017’s record-obliterating “It,” the highest grossing R-rated horror film of [...]

  • 'Between Me and My Mind' Review:

    Film Review: Trey Anastasio in 'Between Me and My Mind'

    Trey Anastasio doesn’t look like a rock star. With his thick rimless glasses and flop of sandy red hair, you might say he resembles John Sebastian, but really, he looks like a mashup of Mike White and Jon Cryer and the filmmaker Chris Smith. He’s an appealingly ordinary shaggy-geek dude, like some guy you might [...]

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    More Than 20 Feared Dead in Arson Attack on Japan's Kyoto Animation

    UPDATED: More than 20 people are feared to have died Thursday in an arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company in Japan, shocking a nation in which extreme violence is very rare. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call about 10:35 a.m. local time Thursday reporting an explosion on the first floor of the [...]

  • sith trooper

    Sith Trooper Revealed From 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” revealed a new storm trooper uniform Wednesday at San Diego Comic Con as part of a special exhibit celebrating the evolution of the storm trooper design. Dubbed the Sith trooper, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is [...]

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content