Working for film festivals does take a toll sometimes, but then again, I get to travel to cool places. In March alone, I headed out to SXSW in Austin, SFIAAFF in the Bay Area, Saigon and Hong Kong for the annual Filmart and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). Run by friend and mentor, Roger Garcia, the HKIFF and Filmart (the film market arm of the organization) has been on a roll with strong film programming, celebrity-studded events, capped with the Asian Film Awards, honoring the best in Asian cinema.
The big winner at the AFAs was A Separation, the Oscar winning film from Iran. Perhaps one of the best moments in the show was the audience award win for best actress going to Pinay comedienne Eugene Domingo for her performance in the hilarious The Woman in the Septic Tank. She was so funny, she even stole the show (and a kiss) from HK heartthrob and go-to guy Andy Lau.
The Filmart was a whirlwind of meetings, getting ready to see what’s in store for the year, especially when it comes to Asian cinema. This market has become very important because of its efficiency (it only lasts a brisk 4 days), geography, and the amount of Asian companies that come to this market to make it a true hub for Asian filmed content. What was most interesting was to see the sheer amount of representation from Mainland China. They were out in full force!
Perhaps the biggest (or cheekiest) news to come out of the market was the announcement of a 3D Sex and Zen sequel… How could they top this last one? You guessed it, it’s going to be in 4D, as in vibrating seats and other bells and whistles! Titled 4D Sex and Zen: Slayer of a Thousand from the Mysterious East, the director is apparently trying to cast Taiwanese high profile model Alina Hsu. Can’t wait!
Back to the HKIFF, I was honored to accept the Festival’s invitation to be on the Firebirds Jury, viewing films in the Young Cinema section. A new section, the films reflect coming-of-age stories by first or second time filmmakers. It was a robust selection of films with some very strong contenders. My fellow jurors, Korean director Lee Yoon-ki and legendary Hong Kong film critic and writer Law Kar (get his seminal book on HK Cinema), met this morning and deliberated. We chose two films, which will be announced tomorrow, which I will update on this blog post once the official announcement is sent out.
Overall, it was happy viewing of some great films, with quick food excursions and small walks around HK Island, to fit in-between. I will write up a quick wrap up in the next day or so of some key films that I enjoyed at HKIFF. In the meantime, here’s some photos highlighting this most fruitful and relaxing of trips that truly made me fall in love with HK again…
So, check out the follow up to this trip, with some film recommendations from the HKIFF. In the meantime, I’m going to have another drink. Wish me film hunting!