Lin Cheng-sheng (“Betlnut Beauty”), Giddens Ko (“You Are The Apple of My Eye”), Pang Ho-cheung (“Love in a Puff”) and Yeo Siew-hua (“A Land Imagined”) are among the big name Asian directors lining up to participate in the 18th edition of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum.
The powerhouse project market will run for three days, alongside FilMart, traditionally Asia’s biggest film and TV rights market. With an unusual Wednesday start date for both, HAF will operate March 25-27, and FilMart 25-28 March.
In addition to the traditional one-on-one matching operation between producers and those distributors sales agents and financiers looking to invest at a film’s early stages, HAF also offers numerous cash and in-kind prizes. This year the 33 selected projects vie for 18 prizes and sponsorship packages.
The stellar lineup of directors is matched by equally established producers – and directors turned producer. These include: Hong Kong’s Heiward Mak preparing to produce Wong Ka-ki’s “Fire Room”; Daniel Yu Wai-kwok producing Pang’s “The End”; and Kim Ki-duk producing Tao Huaqiao’s “Eternal Night.”
Other highlights are: Japan’s Ogigami Naoko (“Close-Knit”) directing “Blind Forest,” set in a facility where women gathered to create Braille; and suspense thriller; “Stranger Eyes,” on which Yeo reunites with “A Land Imagined” producer Fran Borgia; and Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul producing the road movie project, “9 Temples to Heaven,” for his long-time assistant director Sompot Chidgasornpongse.
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Another is former Wall Street Journal Asia editor Dean Napolitano’s debut film “June Snow,” about New York-born Eliza Li, who follows her parents’ footsteps in becoming a Cantonese opera performer. Hong Kong-based documentary Oscar winner Ruby Yang is attached as producer.
Organizers report receiving 338 submissions from 17 countries and regions. Hong Kong had seven selected. Mainland China is the largest group, with seven selected. And there are a further three Chinese-language projects from Taiwan.
There are nine documentaries including Eden Bernal’s “The Siren Song,” about three generations of Mexican fisherwomen and produced by Hong Kong’s Polly Yeung, becomes the first project from Mexico to take part in HAF.