A brace of personal tales from China and Hong Kong were among the 23 projects vying for attention at the 17th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum.
Liu Miaomiao is a rare female ethnic Hui Muslim filmmaker. She came to international prominence with 1993’s “Chatterbox” that won the President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal at the Venice Film Festival. Her last film, “Red Flowers and Green Leaves,” won the People’s Choice Award at the Pingyao Intl. Film Festival in 2018. Her HAF project, “12×4,” is informed by a 1995 experience, where, three days after her 33rd birthday, she was sent to a mental hospital for bipolar disorder.
“12×4” will follow a 48-year-old former ping pong champion in Beijing who has bipolar disorder and must learn to cope. “Mental disorders are incurable, so is life,” says Liu in her director’s statement. “I want to do a film about bipolar disorder based on my own experience while recognizing that in actuality, the disease completes me.”
Zhao Jin and Cao Liuying will produce for Midnight Blur (“Vanishing Days,” which played in Busan and Berlin), alongside veteran Fifth Generation filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang (“Springtime in a Small Town”). The project has raised $300,000 of its $1 million budget.
From Hong Kong, Luk Yee-sum came to the HAF with her sophomore feature “The Secret Diary of a Mom to Be.” The film will follow a public relations manager with rosy career prospects, whose life changes when she finds out that she is four months pregnant.
“This film will look into the most personal aspects of pregnancy through a whole new perspective and try to share with the audience not only the happiness and frustrations of childbearing but also the extraordinary lesson that can be learned from the experience,” says Luk in her director’s statement.
Luk’s screenplays for 2012’s “Love in the Buff” and “Vulgaria,” and 2017’s “Love Off the Cuff” were nominated at the Hong Kong Film awards, and the latter won China’s Huading Award for best writing. Her directorial debut, sexually frank coming of age tale “Lazy Hazy Crazy,” was nominated for the Asian Future Best Film Award at the Tokyo Intl. Film Festival in 2015, and competed for the Bronze Horse at the Stockholm fest. Jacqueline Liu Yuen-hung will produce for One Cool Film Production (“Tracey”). $1 million of the film’s $2 million budget has been raised.
One Cool is also on board Ng Yuen-fai’s upcoming sci-fi epic “Warriors of Future,” starring Louis Koo and Sean Lau, in which more than $45 million has been invested on special effects.