Hong Kong, 8 February 2022 – The Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum today completes the line-up for its 20th anniversary edition (HAF20) with the announcement of 15 projects shortlisted for the Work-in-Progress (WIP) section, including nine debut features and works by Stanley KWAN, Winnie TSANG, WONG Lina, Matan YAIR, and YANG Heng.
HAF20, which already announced 28 In-development projects last month, will run online from 14 to 16 March in conjunction with the 26th Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART).
There were 84 WIP submissions from 23 countries and regions this year. Commenting on the selections, which have become an increasingly significant part of HAF since their introduction in 2017, HKIFF Industry Director Jacob WONG said he was particularly pleased to present BORROWED TIME and The Sunny Side of the Street.
“They are the first projects to have progressed through the HAF eco-system, from Film Lab to In development projects, and now onto WIP,” WONG said. “We set out to provide coordinated support across various stages of independent filmmaking, covering every aspect from early-stage project development, financing to post-production and promotion. It is very satisfying to witness some of these projects coming through.”
BORROWED TIME and The Sunny Side of the Street both won script consultation service awards at HAF Film Lab in 2019. They participated in HAF’s In-development projects section the following year and are currently in post-production.
BORROWED TIME, which Stanley KWAN produces for first-time Chinese director CAI Jie, is about a daughter who sets out from Guangzhou to Hong Kong to look for her long-missing father, played by Tai Bo (Suk Suk). In The Sunny Side of the Street, Anthony WONG (Still Human) plays a taxi driver who forms an unusual father-son relationship with a Hong Kong-born Pakistani child refugee.
Winnie TSANG produces for Hong Kong-based Malaysian filmmaker LAU Kok Rui, making his directorial debut.
Other WIP highlights include Silent Ghosts by YANG Heng (Ghost in the Mountains, Berlinale Panorama 2017), in which a tourist follows a mysterious woman to a small town where he encounters men with different memories of her. The recipient of an excellent screenplay award and production funding from Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, LEE Yi-Fang’s debut feature Little Blue is an intimate portrayal of female erotic desire.
Bad Rabbit Pictures, the Beijing-based production company founded by cinematographer CAO Yu and actress-producer YAO Chen, has two projects on the shortlist. WONG Lina, whose A First Farewell won the Firebird Award winner of HKIFF’s first-ever Chinese-language Young Cinema competition in 2019, returns with Village‧“Senet”, a poetic musical about a boy from a remote village in Xinjiang’s Taklamakan Desert. QIAO Sixue’s debut feature, The Cord of Life, explores the notion of hometown through a nomadic electronic musician who brings his Alzheimer-stricken mother back to the Mongolian grassland for her last days.
While Chinese-language projects dominate the field, this year’s WIP line-up still features an Israel Italy co-production. A Room of Its Own by Matan YAIR (Scaffolding, Best Film at Jerusalem Film Festival 2017) is about a 17-year-old teenager searching for his path in the world when his mother moves into his room after his father has moved out of the house. Also making the shortlist are two projects from India: documentarian Rajesh S. JALA’s first narrative feature, The Spark, is about a victim of violence who creates havoc in the ancient city of Banaras. He is joined by first-time director Syed Maisam Ali SHAH, whose In Retreat follows a marginalised character who returns home in a dream-like journey.
WIP Open Pitch (Hong Kong Time)
Date: 14 March 2022
Time: 15:30 – 17:30
All accredited FILMART and HAF guests are welcome to attend the online WIP Open Pitch through this link: www.hktdc.com/hkfilmart. Please refer to Appendix for details on all shortlisted WIP projects.
WIP began in 2017 as a dedicated platform for later-stage projects seeking completion funding, post production partners, distributors and sales agents, and film festival support, extending the services of the main HAF programme, which is for projects in the pre-production or development stages.
WIP projects have performed remarkably in film festivals internationally. As recent as Venice in 2021, Arsalan AMIRI’s Zalava won the International Film Critics’ Week grand prize, with Kavich NEANG’s White Building winning the Orizzonti Best Actor award. GAO Linyang’s To Love Again and LEI Lei’s animated Silver Bird And Rainbow Fish both competed in Rotterdam’s Tiger Competition this year, with To Love Again winning the Special Jury and FIPRESCI awards. Ananta THITANAT’s documentary Scala will premiere at Berlinale Forum.
Guest Accreditation for HAF
Guest registration for HAF20 is now open to investors, festival programmers and other industry professionals through https://industry.hkiff.org.hk/guest-registration. Accredited guests will receive a complimentary code for registration and schedule one-on-one online meetings with HAF filmmakers to discuss their projects.
For more up-to-date information about HAF, please visit our official website at https://industry.hkiff.org.hk or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hkiffindustry/.
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