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Golden Scene: ‘First Night Nerves’ Continues Stanley Kwan Connection

Golden Scene founder Winnie Tsang’s connections with leading Hong Kong auteur Stanley Kwan go back decades. Even before the launch of Golden Scene, she was involved in handling Kwan’s 1998 romance “Hold You Tight,” which had been hatched with Tsang’s close associate, screenwriter Jimmy Ngai, and set up at her previous employer, Golden Harvest.

Since then, Kwan’s “Everlasting Regret” in 2005 and his 2010 effort “Showtime” have both been Golden Scene efforts.

As one of Asia’s few openly gay filmmakers, and a director who favors female-led subjects, Kwan has repeatedly turned to the twin subjects of sexual identity and cinema- and stage-craft. “Centre Stage” detailed the demise of a silent film star. “Showtime” is a Shanghai-set fantasy. Kwan also directed documentary “Yang +/- Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema.”

His “First Night Nerves,” based on another screenplay by Ngai, gets its world premiere as a gala screening in Busan. Set in a week of final rehearsals for a new stage play, written and directed by a transsexual woman, the film focuses on the inner doubts of and outward rivalry between the play’s two leading ladies. One is a stage veteran making her comeback a year after the death of her unfaithful husband. The other is a movie actress making her stage debut. Kwan has secured the services of beloved Hong Kong actresses Sammi Cheung and Gigi Leung, as well as rising mainland Chinese star Bai Baihe (“Monster Hunt,” “Go Away Mr. Tumor”).

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