One NZ doco and a NZ-shot feature are selected for the 40th edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which revealed its full programme late Wednesday NZ time.
All up, the festival will present over 280 titles from more than 50 countries, reaching an audience of over 600,000.
Playing in March and April, Hong Kong is among the last of the international festivals to screen Cannes-premiered titles. So it is that, long after it’s appeared on video elsewhere, Australian director Justin Kurzel’s UK-made Macbeth is named for Hong Kong (possibly because these days no festival programme is complete without at least one film featuring Michael Fassbender).
Flying the flag for NZ is Pietra Brettkelly’s A Flickering Truth. Premiered at Venice in August last year, the HKIFF will be the film’s tenth festival appearance.
NZ shot, premiered in Toronto, Terence Davies’ adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song saw NZ stand in for Scotland during its shoot. The film’s cast includes BSS presenter and Top of the Lake actor Peter Mullan.
There are no NZ selections in the short film competition, where Zia Mandviwalla’s Night Shift and Leo Woodhead’s Cold Snap have taken awards in recent years. Animator Nina Gantz’s recent BAFTA winner Edmond does make the cut.
From across the ditch, Gillian Armstrong’s well-travelled doco Women He’s Undressed and Stephen Page’s Aboriginal coming-of-age tale Spear are both selected.
The HKIFF has a strong track record of supporting local filmmakers, and the 40th edition is no exception. In addition to the previously announced masterclass with Wong Kar Wai and 25th anniversary programme of titles by his Jet Tone Films production company, there are gala slots for a number of local features as well as a Hong Kong Panorama.
Frank Hui, Vicky Wong and Jevons Au collaborate on Berlinale-premiered noir Trivisa, produced by a Hong Kong master of the genre, Johnnie To (Drug War, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Vengeance). Trivisa opens the festival, while To’s Office in the Hong Kong panorama line-up. The prolific Herman Yau (whose Love Lifting and True Women for Sale played editions of the Hong Kong Festival here) will present the world premiere of his psychological thriller Nessun Dorma, written by Erica Li, who also wrote Yau’s 2015 Sara. Yau has a second film making its world premiere appearance at the festival, The Mobfathers.
Also in the Panorama line-up is omnibus title Ten Years, which has been ruffling feathers in Beijing.
The Hong Kong International film Festival will run 21 March – 4 April.