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HAF 2014: we are the champions

Following a mix up at last year’s awards it was important that this year’s went without a hitch. Having made a list and checked it twice, organisers were rewarded with a strong closing to what’s been a very busy three days.

While the meeting scheule at HAF has been hectic, the awards themselves were more measured. In part that was because the awards event returned to the Convention Centre after a couple of years 60-something floors up one of Hong Kong’s oldest skyscrapers, the Hopewell Centre.

Fortissimo FIlms' Michael Werner and Hip Hop Kabul director Fazili Amiri check out each other's moves

Fortissimo Films’ Michael Werner and Hip Hop Kabul director Fazili Amiri check out each other’s moves

The more measured pace was also partly due to there being less awards to hand out. Sadly, the Paris Project award, which grants the winner travel to and entrance into the Paris project market, is no more. It’s ironic that it has disappeared in a year when the festival is hosting French actress Isabelle Huppert and celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France.

Less awards naturally means less chances to win, not that winning prizes is necessarily the most valuable outcome from HAF. There were a number of returning filmmakers this year, Cannes winner Brillante Mendoza and a pair of 2013 victors, Jun Robles Lana and Taiwanese writer-director Jack Shih. Shih was the only member of the trio to become a back-to-back winner.

Director-producers Shirley Yung (left) and Carrie Ng collect the HAF Award from Create Hong Kong's Jerry Liu

Director-producers Shirley Yung (left) and Carrie Ng collect the HAF Award for Angel Whispers from Create Hong Kong’s Jerry Liu

All up, 29 projects were selected from around 300 entries.

Fortissimo Films’ chair Michael Werner noted that since the Wouter Barendrecht Award was instituted in 2010, three of the winners to date are currently in production or post-production.

Over the years, many HAF projects have gone on to good things, especially festival appearances and awards ceremonies. Previous HAF projects appearing in this year’s HKIFF include Lana’s Barber’s Tales, along with features Campus Confidential by LAI Chun-Yu, Soul by CHUNG Mong-Hong, and Concrete Clouds by Lee CHATAMETIKOOL (which entered HAF as Past Love).

The 2014 HAF winners are:

The HAF Awards (Hong Kong Project and non-Hong Kong Project)
presented by Create Hong Kong, Hong Kong Film Development Fund and the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum
Angel Whispers from Hong Kong, directed by Carrie NG and Shirley YUNG and produced by Carrie NG, Shirley YUNG and CHAN Pang-chun
Private Eyes from Taiwan, directed by CHANG Jung-Chi and produced by CHEN Hung-Yuan and PANG Yee-wah

HAF Script Development Fund
presented by Emperor Motion Pictures and the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society
The Solitary Pier from Taiwan, directed by Jack SHIH and produced by DAI Hsin-Ping

The HAF/Fox Chinese Film Development Award
Love is Speaking from China, directed by SHU Haolun and produced by LE Bei

The Wouter Barendrecht Award
presented by Wouter Barendrecht Film Foundation, Create Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Film Development Fund
Hip Hop Kabul from Afghanistan, directed by Fazila AMIRI and produced by Paul LEE

Fushan Documentary Award
in partnership with and supported by Fushan Features
Dust (China), directed by ZHAO Liang, and produced by PANG Yee-wah and Sylvie BLUM.

Network of Asian Fantastic Film Award
Dead, End from India, directed by Dev BENEGAL and produced by Dev BENEGAL and Satish KAUSHIK

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