Writer/director Ray Yeung was reading about Hong Kong men in the 60-70 age group that were married and in the closet and decided to interview some of them. The interviews crystallized into the screenplay for “Suk Suk,” one of the projects vying for coin at the Busan Asian Project Market.
The film will follow two men in their twilight years who must choose between their love for each other and the families they have nurtured.
Yeung’s first feature, “Cut Sleeve Boys,” premiered at Rotterdam in 2006, won best feature at the Outfest Fusion Festival in Los Angeles and a best actor trophy for Chowee Leow at the Madrid LGBT Film Festival. His second feature, “Front Cover,” won a slew of awards including best screenplay for Yeung at the FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival 2016, the audience award at the Boston Asian American Film Festival and the jury award for best domestic feature at the Outflix Film Festival. It received a theatrical release by Strand in the U.S. and Edko in Hong Kong. Yeung is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
Producing for New Voice Production is Asia film biz veteran Michael J. Werner, who was a partner in pioneering arthouse cinema sales outfit Fortissimo Films until 2016, when the company filed for bankruptcy due to a fragile market. He’s backed some regional heavy-hitters: Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster,” Tran Anh Hung’s “Norwegian Wood,” Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s “Last Life in the Universe” and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Syndromes and a Century.”
Popular on Variety
“Suk Suk” is budgeted at just under $1 million and has raised $400,000 so far from two private equity investors. Werner also plans to apply for Hong Kong state funding. “We are planning to cast some well-known names. We think that it will add interest to the project and make it more accessible for a broader global market,” he said.
The team’s original idea was to aim the film at the Hong Kong market, as it is a Hong Kong story, but the universality of the theme made them decide to widen their horizons.
“The theme is really very universal, because we all age. It is a story about people who are mature, but they still want love,” said Yeung. “People over the age of 60 tend to be put in a category where they don’t have any desire anymore, but that is not true. These people still have a life to live and have a lot of emotions.”
Werner has attended countless markets as a sales agent, but as he said, “This is my first project market on the other side.”