A new documentary component means that the work-in-progress section of this year’s Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum will double from 10 to 20 projects. The selection includes Ruby Yang (“The Blood of Yingzhou District”) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (“The Assassin”) as documentary producers, and Brillante Mendoza (“Kinatay”) as producer on the fiction side.
The WIP program expands the long-running HAF project support operations. It creates a platform for late-stage projects seeking closing funds, post-production partners, distributors, sales agents, festivals and other film-industry services
In its first two years the WIP section of HAF has presented notable films which enjoyed festival success last year. They include “Ayka,” which collected the best actress award in Cannes this year, and “The Man Who Surprised Everyone,” which won the Orrizonti Award for best actress at the Venice festival.
“With the expanded platform, HAF will become the first project market to receive both fictional and documentary work-in-progress submissions with approximately equal strength and numbers,” said Jacob Wong, HAF director.
Hong Kong’s Oscar-winning documentarian Ruby Yang is set as producer of Jo Cheng Oi-yue’s “Dear Daughter,” a feature focused on a Vietnamese refugee 30 years after he fled the war to live in Hong Kong. Taiwan’s art-house giant Hou Hsiao-Hsien is producer of Huang Hui-Chen’s “Loma – Our Home,” an examination of an ethnic Chinese journalist who joins forces with an indigenous tribe, whose illegal houses were repeatedly torn down by the Taiwanese government.
Among the WIP section’s fiction projects are: Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’ “Verdict,” the story of a woman who files a legal case against her abusive drug-peddling husband. Mendoza produces alongside Carlo Valenzona. Also from The Philippines, Jun Robles Lana (“Bwakaw”) presents “Son of God,” a film he previously presented at HAF in project form.
- The HKIFF is also beginning to take shape. The festival announced that it will host a retrospective section dedicated to legendary actress Li Lihua. She was star of “Storm over the Yangtze River,” and breakthrough Hollywood film “China Doll.” The section will include restored versions of her “Flower Girl” and “Barber Takes a Wife.” Another HKIFF retrospective will focus on the so-called fifth generation of Chinese film directors. Screenings include Zhang Junzhao’s unconventional war film “One and Eight,” Tian Zhuangzhuang’s “The Horse Thief,” Huang Jianxin’s “The Black Cannon Incident,” Chen Kaige’s Yellow Earth,” and Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut “Red Sorghum.”