HAF UNVEILS 22 WORK-IN-PROGRESS PROJECTS
The Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) today announces 22 feature projects shortlisted for the Work-in-Progress Programme (WIP), comprising of ten fictions and 12 documentaries from territories including Hong Kong, China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The WIP initiative, to run exclusively online this year in parallel with the main HAF programme, will take place from 26 to 28 August in conjunction with FILMART Online, the virtual platform of the 24th Hong Kong International Film & TV Market. HAF, WIP and FILMART were all postponed from March this year following the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HAF will announce details of the online arrangement for both HAF and WIP as soon as practicable.
Now in its fourth edition, WIP is designed to provide a platform for later-stage projects seeking completion funding, post-production partners, distributors and sales agents, film festival supports, and other industry services. The production on all shortlisted projects this year are completed, or near completion.
Some of the programme highlights are as follow.
FICTION FEATURES: PROJECTS FROM CHINA TAKE THE LEAD
A quartet of feature films from China looks at contemporary issues with new twists. ZHOU Ziyang, one of the most promising directors to emerge from China in recent years, describes himself as “grieved” over the immense harm brought onto people through rapid economic development and money-oriented values. He examines those themes in his second feature, Wuhai, about a married man facing financial difficulties. Documentary filmmaker QIU Jiongjiong’s first fiction feature, The Neo-New Adventures, is based on his family history, telling the life of the 20th century’s top clown actor of southern Sichuan and his underworld journey to the Ghost City after death.
Summer Blur, the first feature of HAN Shuai, is a coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old girl who begins to realise what it is like to be a woman in modern society. NIU Xiaoyu explores the emotions that bind people together in Virgin Blue, a story about a girl trapped in her grandmother’s memories, which intertwine with fragments of her past.
Jun LI, a Best New Director nominee for his debut feature Tracey (2018), brings his new drama, Drifting, which looks at the lives of homeless people in Hong Kong forced to continuous relocation for survival. Indian-born director Prasun CHATTERJEE’s Two Friends (Dostojee) is the story of friendship between a pair of eight-year-old boys belonging to two warring religious communities.
Adolfo ALIX Jr. draws inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy for The Double, a suspense drama in which the Philippine director says he “tries to make sense of my take in the cycle of violence and retribution based on my interviews with a real hitman.”
DOCUMENTARIES FOCUS ON CULTURE AND SOCIETY
FAN Jian’s Born to Be Second scrutinises the parent-child relationship, arguably the foundation of the Chinese society. After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, thousands of families lost their only child and were allowed to try to conceive another to fill the void created by the tragic event. The film follows two families as they arrive at critical junctures in their lives, challenging how they have been living for the past ten years. Another Brick on the Wall, by director ZHANG Nan, provides an intimate look into the intertwining stories of three characters, along with other co-workers, related to the two-year restoration project of the Panjiakou-Great Wall.
In China, people often avoid talking about death because it is a taboo and “inauspicious.” In Being Mortal, however, LUO Shuai recounts the stories of hospice care volunteers, who ponder life and death while they care for their patients.
HA LE Diem’s Children of the Mist, set in North Vietnam, looks at a Hmong girl as she walks the thin line between childhood and becoming an adult. In Kith and Kin, director Waraluck HIRANSRETTAWAT observes the breakdown of a Chinese-Thai family over the relocation of their ancestral grave in a darkly-comedic documentary set during the recent political turmoil of his native Thailand.
Please refer to the Appendix for a complete list of the 22 shortlisted WIP projects.
Online guest registration through www.haf.org.hk/guest.php is now open until 17 August. Once accredited, guests will be able to schedule online meetings with HAF and WIP filmmakers.