“Fly Me to the Moon,” a work-in-progress from Hong Kong, dominated the prizes presented at the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum project market. It collected five awards and was invited to continue its journey at Cannes in May.

Directed by first-time feature maker Sasha Chuk and produced by the veteran Stanley Kwan, the film tells the tale of a pair of sisters moving from Hunan to Hong Kong in the 1990s. They are faced with an identity crisis, poverty and their father’s drug addiction. It entered the market with $640,000 of its intended $705,000 production budget in place, and more than filled the gap with the prizes announced on Wednesday.

The HAF operated its 21st edition March 13-15 on the side lines of the FilMart rights market. It showcased 28 in-development projects and 15 works-in-progress, for which it arranged one-on-one meetings that were intended to facilitate co-financing, co-production and rights sales.

Another work-in-progress “Salli,” directed by Taiwanese first-time director Lien Chien-hung collected three prizes. It is a drama film about a possible romance scam and came to HAF with $1.15 million of its $1.30 million budget in place.

Among the in-development pitches, fantasy-drama “The Poison Cat” was another three-time winner. Hailing from mainland China and first-time director Guan Tian, it is a story about the connection between an evil force and the children in a village. The biggest in-development project award went to “The Marriage Drive,” from Hong Kong’s Lawrence Kan.

Despite participation from across the Asia region, only two non-Chinese-language project were rewarded with HAF prizes, Japanese work-in-progress “Who Were We” (Japan) by Tomina Tetsuya and Singapore’s “Skin Coat,” which will be in the English language.

HAF 2023 Awards list

WIP Awards x2 (one HK, one overseas) (HK$100,000 cash)
Non-HK project: “Salli” (Taiwan, France) Dir. Lien Chien-Hung.
HK project: “Fly Me to the Moon” (Hong Kong) Dir. Sasha Chuk.

IDP (HK$100,000 cash)
Non-HK project: “Non-Fiction Stories” (mainland China) Dir. Zhao Jin.
HK project: “The Marriage Drive” (Hong Kong) Dir. Lawrence Kan.

NAFF Award
“The Poison Cat” (mainland China). Dir. Guan Tian.

Udine Focus Asia Award
“The Poison Cat” (mainland China). Dir. Guan Tian.

ARRI Award ($15,000 in kind equipment rentals)
“The Mermaid’s Tale” (Taiwan, Hong Hong) Dir. Norris Wong.

White Light Post-Production Award x2
IDP: “The Poison Cat” (mainland China). Dir. Guan Tian.
WIP: “Salli” (Taiwan, France) Dir. Lien Chien-Hung.

HAF Goes to Cannes x5.
“Brief History of a Family” Dir. Lin Jianjie.
“Fly Me to the Moon” (Hong Kong) Dir. Sasha Chuk
“Hani” (Hong Kong) Dir. Hou Dasheng
“Salli” (Taiwan, France) Dir. Lien Chien-Hung.
WIP: “Who Were We” (Japan) Dir. Tomina Tetsuya

Taipei Film Commission Award (HK$30,000 cash) (Shared)
“Racing Storm” (Taiwan) Dir. Lin Yu-Hsien
“Skin Coat” (Singapore) Dir. Tan Wei Keong.

TAICCA Award ($10,000 cash)
“Skin Coat” (Singapore) Dir. Tan Wei Keong.

MM2 Award (HK$100,000 cash)
“Fly Me to the Moon” (Hong Kong) Dir. Sasha Chuk.

Heaven Pictures Young Director Award (HK$150,000 cash)
“Fly Me to the Moon” (Hong Kong) Dir. Sasha Chuk.

CCG Grand Award (HK$200,000) Award for a HK film project.
“Fly Me to the Moon” (Hong Kong) Dir. Sasha Chuk.