Hong Kong film project “Impossible Split” and an untitled Japanese film project came out as the top winners of the HAF Awards. In its 15th year, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum project market offered 14 prizes to 33 producer and director teams seeking finance and international partners.
Winner of the Hong Kong Project category was “Impossible Split,” a $1.2 million drama based on the true story of Hong Kong sportsman Wu Siu-hong, who went through ups and downs to become the world champion bowler. It is to be directed by Tommy Tom Chung-sing, who was involved in the post-production work of “Kill Bill” and “Kung Fu Hustle”.
The untitled Japanese film that won the HAF’s non-Hong Kong award is to be directed by Tehran-born director Ida Panahandeh and produced by Japan’s Kawase Naomi. To be produced with a budget of $500,000, it will be shot in Nara and is positioned as a modern version of “one of Shakespeare’s pieces with a woman character” as the main role.
Singaporean comedy project “La Luna” was the biggest winner this year, bagging both the Wouter Barendrecht Award and the White Light Post-Production Award (HAF Project). Directed by M. Raihan Hal, it is about a young woman challenging age-old traditions in a strict Muslim village.
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A second Hong Kong project winner was “Forget You, Still Love You?,” which took the MM2 Award. To be directed by Kenneth Lai Siu-kwan and Paul Sze Pak-lam, the film is a romance about a 40-year-old couple who find love again when the husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Other winners were “The Patient” by China’s Yang Long, which won the iQIYI Special Award; “Drifting Lives” by China’s Danlly Li, which took the HAF/Fox Project Award; “The Asadas” by Japan’s Ryota Nakano, which took home the Paris Cooperation Village Award; “Femme Fatale” by Japan’s Kyoko Miyake, winner of the Network of Asian Fantastic Films Award; “Rainbow Mountain” by China’s Yun Degena, who won the Wutianming Post Production Award; “Village Rockstars” by Rima Das of India, winner of the White Light Post-Production Award (WIP Lab Project); “I Am a Banana”, a Singaporean-Canadian production directed by Honey B Singh, which bagged the G2D Post-Production Award; “The Third Wife”, a Vietnam film by Nguyen Phuong-Anh, which took the G2D Post-Production Award (WIP Lab Project); “Omotenashi” by a Taiwanese-Japanese creation directed by Jay Chern, winner of the Wanda Wip Lab Award.
Four projects — “Omotenashi”, “The Third Wife”, “Village Rockstars” and “Echoes” — will be presented again in May at the Cannes Market under a new “Hong Kong Goes to Cannes” program.