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‘Mihara,’ ‘Savage,’ ‘Without a Head’ Named as Macau Project Winners

Director Jacqueline Castel and producer Pier Harrison’s psychological horror film “Mihara” won the Ivanhoe Pictures award at the Iffam project market. The U.S.-Japan production will follow an American teenage girl, traumatised by her mother’s ambiguous death, who is drawn to a mysterious Japanese volcano.

Castel is currently in pre-production on her first narrative feature, a Tokyo-set erotic thriller co-written with Sasha Grey (“The Girlfriend Experience”), and in production on feature documentary “Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth.”

Director Liam O’Donnell and producer Matthew Chausse’s U.S.-France-Indonesia sci-fi action project “The Last Savage” won the Hairun Pictures award. The film will follow a boy who is raised by tigers. When hunters kill his adopted family, he is forced to fight in a deadly new arena.

The producer and director previously collaborated on O’Donnell’s debut feature “Beyond Skyline” which is currently on release. Chausse has producing credits including “The English Teacher” and “The Countess
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Iffam: Pang Ho-cheung Readies Martial Arts Three-Parter

Iffam: Pang Ho-cheung Readies Martial Arts Three-Parter
Pang Ho-cheung, one of the most creative talents in the Hong Kong film industry, is poised to make his biggest project to date. He is just weeks away from shooting a trilogy of martial arts films whose Chinese title translates simply as “Kung Fu Story.”

Pang, who is a whirl of energy, spinning out novels, screenplays and executive production activities, has a track record of edgy films – revisionist romance “Love in a Puff,” sex comedy “Vulgaria,” and property-themed horror “Dream Home” – so he is unlikely to leave the martial arts genre completely untouched.

Plot and casting details are currently scarce, but Pang teases: “Ever since childhood, I’ve always taken different paths. My most recent film, ‘Love off the Cuff,” was not a single-issue movie. (“Kung Fu Story”) will continue in that vein.”

“We’re going to shoot all three together, so we’ve spent a year a year and a half on preparation, and have now
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Industry Experts Mull Disruption, Festivals And China At Iffam Forum

Disruptors of the traditional model of the entertainment industry such as Netflix and Amazon are temporary, while film is forever, was one of the key findings of the ‘Macao Forum’ a new Iffam initiative introduced this year.

The festival’s industry hub hosted several closed-door sessions where industry practitioners debated three topics. The first was ‘How can the film industry maintain consumer loyalty to the medium, in a world where TV is better than ever?’

Presenting the findings of the panellists on this topic, Gilbert Lim, executive vice president of Thailand’s Sahamongkolfilm International, clarified that by television, the intention was to discuss big screen versus small screen, including global giants Netflix and Amazon Prime. The panellists described the increased skew of young audiences towards social media where they get most of their updates and recommended that films need to do more creative digital marketing to get young audiences into cinemas. Exhibitors need to
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Macao Festival Targets Growth With Lively Program Including ‘Paddington 2’

Macao Festival Targets Growth With Lively Program Including ‘Paddington 2’
Opening a film festival with a movie as broad as “Paddington 2” is bold move and, in the case of the Intl. Film Festival & Awards Macao, was a carefully calculated decision. It suggests that commercial films can have artistic merit, and signals that Macao, in its second year of existence and first under a new director, intends to be audience friendly as well as smart.

“It is a delightful, five-star film for audiences of all ages. It makes for a playful opening that says: ‘Let’s have some fun before we get down to the serious business,’” says Mike Goodridge, who was appointed as the festival’s artistic director over the summer. “Unlike Hong Kong, just across the river, Macau doesn’t have a strong arthouse tradition. We are going to have to build audiences.”

To that end, Goodridge, who officially took up his position only in September, has been busily pounding the pavements in Macau and meeting
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Contemporary Chinese Cinema: The Year So Far

  • MUBI
Contemporary Chinese Cinema is a column devoted to exploring contemporary Chinese-language cinema primarily as it is revealed to us at North American multiplexes.Over the last few years it has become increasingly easy to see mainstream Asian films in North America at the same time they are released in their home countries. Thanks to partnerships with small, international distributors, the major multiplex chains (AMC, Cinemark, Regal) have devoted a handful of screens in major markets to showing new releases from India, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Most of these titles fall under the radar of both critics and audiences outside the diasporic communities to which they are targeted. They play for a week or two and then disappear, outside of a handful of breakout titles. Last year Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid made headlines for its high per-screen averages in North America as it shattered domestic box office records in China.
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Review: Love Off The Cuff Charmingly Caps Off the Trilogy

“n 55!w !” this string of characters is the first thing that fills the cinema screen. It is an especially important moment, as only fans of this rom-com trilogy will feel a knowing nostalgic flutter stemming from those random letters, the seemingly unrelated horror story preceding the credits, and the in-depth intricacies and fleeting yet entirely memorable moments two fated lovers share, but, for the uninitiated, let’s go back. In 2009, Hong Kong auteur Pang Ho-Cheung introduced audiences to a quintessential Hong Kong couple Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung). In the first film Love in a Puff, Pang uses a tool he has mastered already from previous directorial efforts (Men Suddenly in Black, Dream Home); critiquing Hk society, only this time for the...

[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
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Handover Hangover: Hong Kong’s Film Industry Faces an Uncertain Future

Handover Hangover: Hong Kong’s Film Industry Faces an Uncertain Future
When China took over Hong Kong’s sovereignty from Britain in 1997, the former British colony was promised “50 years unchanged” under the framework of “one country, two systems.”

Twenty years on, a lot has changed, including Hong Kong cinema.

At the turn of the 20th anniversary of the handover, Hong Kong cinema is at a crossroad. Filmmakers are facing questions concerning the future of the city’s film industry, which was once known to the world as “Hollywood East.”

“We must think about how Hong Kong cinema should position itself in order to find our way to the future,” says Wong Chun, the 28-year-old director of Hong Kong drama “Mad World,” which won the new director prize at last year’s Golden Horse Film awards in Taiwan and Hong Kong Film Awards this year. “What is our strength, as compared to films from other Asian countries? It’s time to reflect on this.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'29+1': Film Review

Two women on the cusp of the dreaded 3-0 see their two very different lives and worldviews intersect in Kearan Pang’s adaptation of her own one-woman 2005 stage play, 29+1. Pang, a theatrical performer (she had a role in Pang Ho-cheung’s Vulgaria) and writer (again, penning Pang’s Isabella), brings a much-needed female voice to the Hong Kong industry—Ann Hui, Heiward Mak and Mable Cheung being the only others regularly working who spring to mind—and though she has yet to get a handle on film as a form, her debut feature shows promise, and is a welcome departure from the martial...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

China Box Office: ‘Shock Wave’ Dents ‘Furious 8’ for May Day Weekend Win

China Box Office: ‘Shock Wave’ Dents ‘Furious 8’ for May Day Weekend Win
A crowd of Chinese movies jostled with record breaking “The Fate of the Furious” for the top spot at the China box office during the first weekend of the May Day holiday week.

Star-studded bomb disposal action thriller, “Shock Wave” emerged on top on Friday and Saturday giving it a weekend win. Directed by Hong Kong’s Herman Yau, produced by and starring Andy Lau, the film played some 55,000 screenings per day and earned a score of $24.1 million in three days.

Wanda’s crime suspense film, “Battle of Memories” started with 64,000 screens on its first day, but saw its play-dates shrink over the weekend. It finished in third place with $21.5 million.

Splitting the two newcomers, and taking second place, was “Furious 8” in its third week on release. Despite coming third on Friday and Saturday, it revved back into top spot on Sunday and finished the three days with $22.1 million. After 17 days on release,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

China Box Office: ‘Furious 8’ Drives Off With Second Weekend

China Box Office: ‘Furious 8’ Drives Off With Second Weekend
The Fate of the Furious” drove off into the distance in its second weekend at the Chinese box office, far ahead of holdovers and a slew of new releases.

It clocked up $53.4 million, for a cumulative score of $318 million after 10 days. That was despite its screen count being reduced by approximately a fifth to 120,000 sessions per day.

“Furious 8” continued to dominate China’s 400-odd IMAX screens, where it earned $4.5 million over the weekend. That gives it an IMAX China score of $23.2 million in 10-days, with 10 more days to play on the giant screen circuit.

Opening in second place with a score of $11.0 million was “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” which got to play over 40,000 sessions per day. In third place was new release Chinese romantic comedy “Mr Pride Vs Ms Prejudice,” which played an average pf 32,000 sessions per day and earned $7.29 million over the weekend. Including previews, it stands on $9.86 million.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Review: ‘Love Off the Cuff’

Film Review: ‘Love Off the Cuff’
The dialogue is dirtier than ever, and the gags outrageous, and yet, like the two central characters and the seven-year relationship they labor to keep alive, “Love Off the Cuff” shows signs of fatigue as Hong Kong auteur Pang Ho-cheung runs out of anything stunningly new to say in the third film in his urban rom-com series. Even so, the movie packs Pang’s trademark smart-ass humor, plenty of colloquial Cantonese wordplay, and a stream of cameos by dishy starlets — all of which should guarantee a robust box office in Hong Kong, but a meh reaction in China.

Pang, who started out as a whiz kid making off-color indie comedies, shot “Love in a Puff” in 2010 as a snarky rejoinder to a new anti-smoking law in Hong Kong. The protagonists, Sephora-lady Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and ad-man Jimmy (Shawn Yue) were chainsmokers who meet cute huddling over a garbage-can. The film became a sleeper hit,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'Love Off the Cuff': Film Review | Hong Kong 2017

Writer-director Pang Ho-cheung perhaps didn’t set out to make Hong Kong’s own version of Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, but he’s done just that with the third and (soft maybe) last installment of his own film series, following two young professionals struggling with romance. Starting with the social reorganization brought on by the city’s smoking ban in 2010’s Love in a Puff, and then economic realignment in Love in the Buff (set in Beijing) in 2012, Love Off the Cuff picks up five years later, with a new set of hurdles for the central lovers to clear. Based on the enthusiastic...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Udine Far East Film Festival Announces First Titles!

Fans of Pang Ho-cheung are poised to get a double dose in Italy as the Udine Far East Film Festival have just announced the first titles for the 2017 edition and included among them are one directing effort and one producing effort from the prolific favorite. What all is coming? Check out the announcement below! Feff 19 Expect the unexpected!   First preview of the 2017 line-up: from the bizarre comedy - produced by Pang Ho-cheung - Nail Clipper Romance about a red-haired girl who lives off nail clippers through the amazing trans costumes of Die Beautiful to the splatter-horror-gore of The Sleep Curse;   from 52Hz, I Love You, the Taiwanese La La Land, to the International Premiere of Love Off The Cuff and...

[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
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Women-Directed Features “Polina” and “The Drowning” Acquired

The Drowning”: Paladin

Two new women-directed films have found homes. Deadline reports that Oscilloscope Laboratories snagged the North American rights to Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj’s “Polina,” a ballet drama starring Juliette Binoche (“The Clouds of Sils Maria”), and Paladin and Electric Entertainment have acquired the rights to Bette Gordon’s psychological thriller “The Drowning,” led by Julia Stiles (“Bourne” franchise) and Josh Charles (“The Good Wife”).

“Polina” made its world premiere at the 2016 Venice Film Festival. Penned by Müller (“Le monde de Fred”), the French film “centers on Polina (Anastasia Shevtsova), a promising classical ballet dancer who is just about to join the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet when she discovers contemporary dance, a revelation that throws everything into question,” Deadline writes. After moving to France to work with a famous choreographer Liria Elsaj (Binoche), Polina is confronted by the fact that “determination and hard work don’t always lead to success.” The co-director of the film, Preljocaj, is a dancer and choreographer herself. Everybody’s on Deck’s Gaëlle Bayssière and Didier Creste produced the project.

Binoche has signed on to writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s follow-up to “Things to Come,” “Maya.” The film centers on a French war reporter (Roman Kolinka, “Eden”) dealing with the trauma of having been taken hostage in Syria. The Oscar winner’s next feature, “Ghost in the Shell,” hits theaters March 31. Scarlett Johansson stars as a cyborg in the big-budget sci-fi story.

The Drowning” debuted at the 2016 Warsaw Film Festival and opened the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival earlier this month. The film follows “a forensic psychologist (Charles) who is haunted by his expert witness testimony that sent a young boy to prison for a chilling murder. When the boy later reappears in his life, he is drawn into a destructive, soul-searching reinvestigation of the case,” the source summarizes. “Elizabeth Kling, Subi Liang, Ho-Cheung Pang exec produced and Radium Cheung, Daniel L. Blanc, Jamin O’Brien are producers.”

Gordon’s directing credits include “Handsome Harry,” “Luminous Motion,” and “Variety.” Next up for Stiles is “Smash” creator Theresa Rebeck’s “Trouble,” an indie comedy about feuding siblings played by Anjelica Huston and Bill Pullman.

Women-Directed Features “Polina” and “The Drowning” Acquired was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

HKIFF Lineup: Giddens Ko’s ‘Monsters’ Set as Opening Film

HKIFF Lineup: Giddens Ko’s ‘Monsters’ Set as Opening Film
Taiwan writer and director Giddens Ko’s thriller “mon mon mon Monsters” has been set as the closing movie of the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival. The film will play on April 25.

Before that some 230 titles from 65 territories will be screened, including 69 world-, international- and Asian- premieres. The lineup was announced today, during the FilMart market that is currently being held in Hong Kong.

“Mon mon on Monsters” is the second film as director for prolific novelist Ko who previously made 2011 pan-Asian hit “You Are the Apple of My Eye,” and latterly scripted “The Tenants Downstairs.”

The festival announced a spotlight on Taiwan and is paying a 10th anniversary tribute to the late Edward Yang. Restored versions of some of Yang’s best known titles, including “Taipei Story” and “A Brighter Summer Day,” will be on show.

Hkiff is also presenting a section dedicating to the 20th anniversary of
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Hkiff to celebrate 20 years of post-handover Hong Kong cinema

  • ScreenDaily
Hkiff to celebrate 20 years of post-handover Hong Kong cinema
Event will programme a section of Hong Kong films from the last 20 years, including Infernal Affairs, Election and Shaolin Soccer.

This year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff) will mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China with a special focus on major Hong Kong movies of the past 20 years.

The section, ‘Paradigm Shift: Post-97 Hong Kong Cinema’, kicks off with films such as Fruit Chan’s Made In Hong Kong and Ringo Lam’s Full Alert from the period immediately after the handover, when local cinema was under pressure with box office declining and the mainland market starting to grow.

It then moves on to landmark titles such as Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer (2001), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs [pictured] (2002) and Johnnie To’s Election (2005), which all defined Hong Kong cinema in their own way.

The series of 20 titles ends with Pang Ho-cheung’s Love In A Puff
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Hong Kong Film Festival to mark 20th anniversary of UK handover

  • ScreenDaily
Hong Kong Film Festival to mark 20th anniversary of UK handover
Event will programme a section of Hong Kong films from the last 20 years, including Infernal Affairs, Election and Shaolin Soccer.

This year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff) will mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China with a special focus on major Hong Kong movies of the past 20 years.

The section, ‘Paradigm Shift: Post-97 Hong Kong Cinema’, kicks off with films such as Fruit Chan’s Made In Hong Kong and Ringo Lam’s Full Alert from the period immediately after the handover, when local cinema was under pressure with box office declining and the mainland market starting to grow.

It then moves on to landmark titles such as Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer (2001), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs [pictured] (2002) and Johnnie To’s Election (2005), which all defined Hong Kong cinema in their own way.

The series of 20 titles ends with Pang Ho-cheung’s Love In A Puff
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Filmart: Hong Kong Director Pang Ho-Cheung on His 'Love' Series, What He Learned from Acting (Q&A)

Pang Ho-cheung is one of the leading Hong Kong auteurs to emerge in the 2000s, despite the local film industry experiencing a downturn. Hardworking and prolific, he is a true multi-hyphenate – with writer, novelist, director, producer, columnist and actor credits to his name.

Pang's latest directorial effort, Love Off the Cuff, the third installment of the acclaimed series, will open the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival in April. He talked to The Hollywood Reporter about making sequels, his desire to act and the benefits of his “dissociative identity disorder.”

Congratulations on Love Off the...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

FilMart: Sun Entertainment’s ‘Paradox’ Packs Powerful Punch

FilMart: Sun Entertainment’s ‘Paradox’ Packs Powerful Punch
Star-studded Hong Kong action film “Paradox” marks the first time that Hong Kong-based Sun Entertainment Culture has teamed with Flagship Entertainment, the joint venture between Warner Bros., China Media Capital and Tvb.

The action-packed flick, produced on a budget of over $14.5 million (RMB100 million,) also marks the first venture between Sun and Alibaba Pictures, the film-making arm of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

At a launch event for the film at FilMart on Monday, Paco Wong, MD of Sun, said that further collaboration between the two companies was possible.

Flagship was founded in 2015 to develop and produce Chinese-language and Hong Kong films for the Chinese and global markets. Last year, it announced its first 12 movie projects to be made in China. “Paradox” is a recent addition.

Other partners involved in the film are Bona Film Group, Weixi Films, Shanghai Professional Making Film, Yl Pictures and Beijing Yuanshi Media Co., Ltd.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The 24 hottest projects at this year's Hong Kong Filmart

  • ScreenDaily
There is a thrilling selection of Chinese-language titles at Filmart this year. Liz Shackleton picks out some of the most promising.

With very few Hong Kong or mainland Chinese sellers making the journey to this year’s European Film Market in Berlin, Filmart offers a chance for buyers to catch up with the Chinese-language titles that will be rolled out in the region for the rest of the year.

After serving up the biggest film of the Chinese New Year holiday — Kung Fu Yoga, starring Jackie Chan and directed by Stanley Tong — China’s Sparkle Roll Media has launched a Hong Kong-based sales arm that is selling Ding Sheng’s reboot of the A Better Tomorrow series.

Other high-profile action titles new to market include Distribution Workshop’s Extraordinary Mission, from the creative teams behind the Infernal Affairs and Overheard series, and Huayi Brothers’ crime drama Explosion, starring Duan Yihong.

Previously announced
See full article at ScreenDaily »
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