Shaw Brothers' entire library moved into HK Film Archive

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 May, 2009, 12:00am

The Shaw Brothers studio has finished moving its entire library of more than 700 original prints to the Hong Kong Film Archive - the largest single donation it has received.

Archive head Richie Lam Kok-sing hoped the donation would encourage other film companies and film labs to contribute to building the city's film heritage.

Ann Hui On-wah, who won best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards last month, and Shaw Brothers kung fu star Gordon Liu Chia-hui were among those celebrating the donation yesterday at the archive site in Sai Wan Ho.

The collection contains the original prints of more than 700 Shaw Brothers films, including such classics as The Kingdom and the Beauty, One-Armed Swordsman, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Come Drink With Me, The House of 72 Tenants and Justice, My Foot!

Other material, such as trailers belonging to the Shaw Brothers library, which is owned by Celestial Pictures, will also be kept by the archive.

The archive has more than 8,000 film titles, about 100 of them Cathay Studio films and the rest from various film companies.

'But [the Shaw Brothers collection] is the most important collection that we have ever received,' Mr Lam said, adding that Shaw Brothers had an indisputable place in the history of Hong Kong cinema.

He said that it has taken a few years for all the more than 700 films to be moved to the archive. The films will be preserved in a low-temperature, low-humidity environment.

'I hope this donation from Shaw Brothers library can set an example for other film companies so that they are more willing to let us preserve the original prints for them,' Mr Lam said. 'The original prints are important not only for academic purposes or for us to show films. It is important to keep our cinematic treasures for future generations.'

He said that some film companies were still reluctant to donate the original prints, and he hoped that as they converted their collections to digital format they would become more willing to donate films to the archive.

The archive has four specially equipped storage centres - three in its Sai Wan Ho building and one in Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay. The archive expects it will have to expand in the future to house future donations.