Filmmaker's debut exploring Hong Kong social issues hits international film circuit

Flora Lau Wan-man's Hong Kong and Shezhen-set project began with humble aspirations

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 2:48pm

It has been a whirlwind year for Flora Lau Wan-man. An independent filmmaker whose previous efforts consisted of short films and documentaries, the Hong Kong native has, in the space of a few months, gone from being a virtual unknown among local cinema watchers to a regular presence on the international film festival circuit.

Boasting a star-studded cast and crew, Lau’s feature debut Bends is produced by luminaries Nansun Shi and Winnie Yu Tsang. It is headlined by established thespians Carina Lau Ka-ling and Chen Kun, shot by lauded cinematographer Christopher Doyle, and has taken its new director-scriptwriter to festivals from Cannes to Toronto; from London to Stockholm.

Flora Lau’s Hong Kong and Shenzhen-set project began with humble aspirations – and a persistent struggle to secure funding. “When I started writing the story, I had a lot of questions about Hong Kong,” she said.

Lau said the scriptwriting stage began about three years ago, a period in which she was splitting her time between Hong Kong and overseas.

“I was curious to find out what Hong Kong means to me, and to other people. It’s a place that changes a lot; it’s already different to when I was growing up. And that evolved into the background of this story, which has two characters representing two different perspectives of Hong Kong.”

The double-character study of Bends, while fictional, is based on real people. In the film, the lives of two characters from vastly different social backgrounds, both with personal problems, converge in the form of a daily working relationship.

Read the full story in 48 Hours, out on November 21.