Hong Kong filmmakers find Google support for documentaries

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 11:41am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 12:28pm

Three independent documentary filmmakers are banking on Hong Kong’s penchant for “googling” what they don’t know to promote their latest works and rally support for the city’s film culture.

Google and the Hong Kong Art Centre’s Incubator for Film and Visual Media in Asia (IFVA) have collaborated to launch the Hong Kong Search Stories project, which premiered on Wednesday.

According to the search giant, the project aims to provide local filmmakers an opportunity to “bring theory into practice, through inserting new and innovative elements into local film”.

The three winners of IFVA’s 18th greenlab short film project, Jessey Tsang Tsui-shan, Leung Ming-kai and Chris Ng Ho-yin, were chosen to present their 2½ minute YouTube films, which document the lives of three individuals and how search technology has helped change their lives.

Leung’s Search for the Dream of the Red Pavilion tells the story of an actress raised in the US returning to Hong Kong to rediscover her roots. Ng's film Search of Tourbillon is about a young entrepreneur leaving his job in finance to become a watchmaker.

“I gave up my job at an investment bank to become a ‘post-80s’ entrepreneur, it's almost like a dream come true,” said Ng’s protagonist William Shum, who went on to establish watch brand Memorigin. He said he used Google Maps to locate watch retailers that would promote his tourbillon watch.

Tsang’s short-film, Search for the Taste Buds, follows traffic accident survivor George Tang, who rebuilds her life exploring the delicate relationship between food and human beings. “It really tells the story of how life and technology is so intertwined nowadays,” said Tsang.

This will be the second time Google and YouTube will step into the realm of cinema. In 2011 they produced a documentary drama featuring crowdsourced clips from all over the world that was also screened in Hong Kong movie theatres.

“Besides widening the horizons for local films through this collaboration, we also hope that the stories inspire viewers to set off on their own journeys of search and exploration,” said Google Hong Kong sales director Stella Cheung. 

All three Hong Kong Search Stories films will be showcased at the IFVA Award Presentation Ceremony on March 16 at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.