Occupy Central

Joshua Wong hopes Netflix airing of Occupy film will raise awareness of Hong Kong politics

Documentary Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower recently premiered at Sundance

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 11:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 12:23am

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung hopes that the recently released documentary on him can raise awareness of the political situation in Hong Kong, especially with this year marking the 20th anniversary of the handover.

The film, titled Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, covers the key role of the student leader during the 2014 civil disobedience movement Occupy Central, making its world premier last Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.

The documentary will be available to Netflix’s 93 million members in 190 countries later this year.

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong documentary to premiere at 2017 Sundance film festival

“It does not matter whether I am the main character or not. The most important thing is to reach the people who are interested in the democracy movement in Hong Kong,” Wong told the Post.

He said he hoped that Netflix could release the film before the handover anniversary date on July 1.

Cheung Chor-yung, a political scientist at City University, said he was not surprised by the interest of the film industry in Wong and in the city’s pro-democracy movement.

“People are attracted by such phenomena because there are all sorts of elements – a giant authoritarian state being confronted by a young and fragile-looking student ... it’s good stuff for filmmaking,” he said.

People are attracted by such phenomena ... a giant authoritarian state confronted by a young and fragile-looking student
Cheung Chor-yung, City University

Cheung noted that Hong Kong youth have been affected by Wong’s activism. “We can trace it back to anti-nationalism in education ... when Wong became a very famous figure as a secondary school student.

“Some students became politically more conscious and many of those who are not participating directly are still highly sympathetic to people like Joshua Wong,” he added.

The documentary was directed by American filmmaker Joe Piscatella.

Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice-president of original documentaries, said in a statement that Piscatella “has woven together the complex and inspirational story of an unlikely activist, whose acts of bravery and conviction need to be seen around the world”.

Wong founded student-led activist group Scholarism in 2012, when he was in secondary school. His arrest, along with those of two other activists following a class boycott in 2014, prompted thousands to take to the streets demanding “genuine universal suffrage”.

Piscatella said the Netflix partnership would help the documentary “reach millions of young people who will find inspiration in Joshua’s story”.

The film is, however, unlikely to reach mainland China, as the streaming service is not available there.