29 projects, including one from Australia, will vie for support at this year’s edition of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) in March.
Over 300 projects were submitted for this year’s edition of HAF. Last year the selection was an all-Asian affair, with the exception of one Singapore-US project. For 2015, the door is opened wider, with European projects and a Cuban director also in the mix.
Among the Europeans at HAF will be producer Katja Adomeit (Daniel Joseph Borgman’s NZ-Denmark co-pro The Weight of Elephants), who continues with both animal-in-title and co-pro themes with Danish-Afghani project Wolf and Sheep. Two Sino-French projects are also named, one with LOU Ye producing. LOU’s previous Sino-French collaborations have sometimes endured troubled arrivals at home. The director removed his name from his much-awarded 2012 Cannes nominee Mystery in protest at the cuts Chinese censors imposed on the film.
Australian director Hannah Moon (Hamish, short Dario) brings doco The A Women, produced by Curb Denizen’s Joanna Bence (Andrey Khvostov’s 2013 UK-Russia co-pro St Petersburg). The A Women will examine the stories of China’s “Shengnu” or “leftovers”, a less than PC term for the country’s growing millions of well-educated, unmarried women.
This year’s HAF selections hail from almost 20 countries and territories, but regular attendees will find a number of very familiar names included in the final selection.
High on that list are John Woo’s longtime producer Terence Chang (Broken Arrow, Face/Off, The Crossing), presenting ZHOU Quan’s That Summer; and Oscar-winner Ruby Yang (The Blood of Yingzhou District), a producer for Stephen Gurie WOO’s doco The Last Stitch.
Among the locals, Hong Kong director HO Hong (Doomsday Party, HAF 2013) returns with Lost in Border, while Pang Ho-cheung’s producer Subi LIANG (Love in a Puff, Dream Home, Vulgaria) brings LUK Yee’s debut feature Lazy Hazy Crazy.
Also returning to HAF , for the third year in a row, is the Philippines’ Jun Robles LANA. A HAF winner in 2013 with Barber’s Tales, LANA will bring Die Beautiful.
Cannes winner Naomi KAWASE (The Mourning Forest), who brought two projects to HAF’s 2013 edition, returns wearing her producer hat for Cuban director Carlos Machado QUINTELA’s working-titled NARAtive Film 2015-2016.
2013 was a strong year for HAF projects. KAWASE’s Still the Water selected in competition at Cannes in 2014. LANA’s Barber’s Tales played several international festivals. Jong-bin Yun’s KUNDO: Age of the Rampant broke box office records in South Korea. Morgan Matthews’ X+Y, the last British project to be selected for HAF, premiered at Toronto last September.
In the year of its 50th anniversary of independence (at least from Malaysia), Singapore sees two projects selected including TAN Pin Pin’s Time Capsule. TAN’s To Singapore, With Love, in which Singaporean political exiles muse on the history of the city-state, was recently refused a certificate for exhibition in Singapore.
Lining up for the HK$100,000 HAF/Fox Chinese Film Development Award are three projects, one of which (YU Sen-I’s comedy My Beauty Queen Mom) is also in the main HAF line-up.
HAF offers several prizes in cash and kind and this year introduces Chinese internet video platform iQIYI as a Premium Sponsor, supporting a HK$100,000 award for a project from the Greater China region.
The Hong Kong Asia Financing Forum (HAF, 23 – 25 March) runs as part of the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo. Other events include FILMART (23 – 26 March), the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF, 23 March – 6 April) and the Hong Kong Film Awards (22 April). The Asian Film Awards (AFA), of which the HKIFF is an organiser, runs the same week as HAF.
The HAF Project List for 2015 is:
The A Women, Australia
Director Hannah MOON; Producer Joanna BENCE
American Serial Killer in Manila, The Philippines
Director Mikhail RED; Producer Pamela L. REYES
The Bicycle Girl, India
Director Shivajee CHANDRABHUSHAN; Producers Shivajee CHANDRABHUSHAN & Triparna BANERJEE
Breathing, Hong Kong
Director Gilitte LEUNG; Producer Richard GEDDES
Die Beautiful, The Philippines
Director Jun Robles LANA; Producers Ferdinand LAPUZ & Perci INTALAN
The Foolish Bird, China
Director HUANG Ji; Producer OTSUKA Ryuji
Ghost in Mountain, China
Director YANG Heng; Producer YANG Cheng
Hell is Other People, China
Director PENG Tao; Producers WANG Shaofeng & Lilly AUSTIN
A Jade Journey, Indonesia
Director Teddy SOERIAATMADJA; Edwin NAZIR
Last Days, China
Director Degena Yun; Producer XIE Fei
The Last Stitch, Hong Kong, Canada
Director Stephen Gurie WOO; Producers Ruby YANG & Alfred SUNG
Lazy Hazy Crazy, Hong Kong
Director LUK Yee-sum; Producer Subi LIANG
Les Célestes, France, China
Director Gabriel LE BOMIN; Producers WANG Fanghui & Didier DENISE
Lost in Border, Hong Kong
Director HO Hong; Producers Gilbert PO & HO Hong
The Man from the Sea, Japan
Director FUKADA Koji; Producers KOMURO Naoko & KINO Yoshi
The Memory of Okinawa (working title), Japan
Director HARA Kazuo, Producers HIRASAWA Daisuke & YOKOI Maki
My Beauty Queen Mom, Taiwan
Director YU Sen-I; Producer Rachel CHEN
Nanking Xmas, 1937, China
Director YIM Ho; Producers NG See-yuen & YIM Ho
NARAtive Film 2015-2016 (working title), Japan
Director Carlos M. QUINTELA; Producer KAWASE Naomi
Pontianak, Singapore, Malaysia
Director Glen GOEI; Producer TAN Bee Thiam
Riddle, China, France
Director ZHOU Hao; Producers Philippe BOBER & LOU Ye
A Shade of Paradise, Vietnam
Director PHAM Siu; Producer NGUYEN Hoang Diep
Silence in the Courts, Sri Lanka
Director Prasanna VITHANAGE; Producer Prasanna VITHANAGE
That Summer, China
Director ZHOU Quan; Producers Terence CHANG & Jacqueline LIU Wan-Ling
Time Capsule, Singapore
Director TAN Pin Pin; Producer TAN Pin Pin
What’s the Next?, China
Director LI Rui; Producer Pema Tseden
Wolf and Sheep, Denmark, Afghanistan
Director Shahrbanoo SADAT; Producer Katja ADOMEIT
Zhang Chu’s Novel, China
Director LU Yulai; Producer CAI Shangjun
The projects to compete for the HAF/Fox Chinese Film Development Award are:
My Last Wish by Leon SUN
Unexpected and Ambiguous by ZHOU Hongbo
My Beauty Queen Mom by YU Sen-I