Local project “Another World” and “Stranger Eyes” from Singapore took the top awards at the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), the first time that the nearly two-decade old project market has been held as a virtual edition.
Produced by Polly Yeung and to be directed by Ng Kai-chung, “Another World” is an animated fantasy, while “Stranger Eyes,” directed by Yeo Siew Hua and produced by Fran Borgia and Dan Koh, is a suspense thriller. Both projects were presented with a $12,902 (HK$100,000) cash prize, organizers of the Hong Kong-Asia Financing Forum announced on Monday.
This year’s HAF, its 18th, presented a total of 54 projects, including 22 works-in-progress and 32 at various stages of development or pre-production. The forum was moved from the original March slot to an online version in August because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 10 prizes were presented. “Shimshon, Hasidic in Asia” scooped one of the documentary awards. Directed by the Hong Kong-born Sadie Granberg and produced by Shmuel Junger, the Hong Kong-Israel project tells the story of a rabbi living alone in Hong Kong in search of a Hasidic wife. Bangladesh project “Waiting for Winter” directed by Farid Ahmad and produced by Salma Sonia, which follows the journey of climate change victims, bagged the other award in this category. Judges praised them for their “feasibility, appeal and social relevance,” and each received a HK$100,000 cash prize.
The “originality and creativity” of Cambodia-France project “White Building,” directed by Kavish Neang and produced by Marine Arrighi de Casanova, won the first WIP Fiction Award, which was presented with a $10,000 (HK$78,000) cash prize. “I, Poppy” from India, directed by Vivek Chaudhary, was awarded the WIP Documentary Award.
Chinese project “Song of Spring” went home with the Cinerent Award, which presents an in-kind prize valued at $21,901 (RMB150,000) to a project shot in mainland China. The Udine Focus Asia Award, which promotes co-production between Asia and Europe, went to “The River Knows Our Names” from Vietnam. “Happy Journey and Last Will” and “The Neo-New Adventures,” both from China, won the White Light Post-Production Awards, offering each winner post-production services valued at $15,000 from White Light Studio in Bangkok.