Growing up as 'big brother' in an underprivileged family, award-winning filmmaker Andrew Lau Wai-keung cuts a fatherly figure both at home and at work. 'Many colleagues nickname me 'Papa',' says Lau, best known as the director of the Infernal Affairs trilogy. 'I enjoy the feeling of being a father. Being a father means you have to take care of many people, especially if you are the father of a big family.' Now, Lau has two 'big families' to take care of. One is his film company Base Productions, where he is at the centre of things, helping less well-known filmmakers produce movies. He also invites new talents to join his crew. He says he doesn'tmind his prodigies leaving him some day to pursue their own film careers. 'I wanted to have my own film company when I worked under people. So if some day my colleagues become self-reliant and independent, I will be happy for them,'' says Lau. 'But the most important thing is that they have to show respect.''Lau also demands respect from his four children, who together with his wife Angela, make up the family that is dearest to his heart. As a busy filmmaker crisscrossing the mainland, the United States and Hong Kong to pursue movie projects, Lau admits he has been spending less time with his children over the past few years. 'If I am away at work overseas, I will talk to them over the phone once a day. When I am in Hong Kong, I will return home for dinner if possible,' he says. 'I also ask them to say goodbye to me before they go to school every morning - even if it means I have to be woken up by them early in the morning. It is a habit that I insist on.' Lau's strong sense of fatherhood stems from his upbringing. During the 1960s Hong Kong was far from affluent. His father needed to work very hard to support his big family - he had many children. 'He cared about us a lot. He bought new clothes for us to wear during the Lunar New Year and gave us presents on our birthday. He didn't have a lot of money, but he tried his best to satisfy our needs,'' says Lau. One of the most memorable scenes in Infernal Affairs involves Anthony Wong Chau-sang's character, a high-ranking police officer, giving a watch to his subordinate, an undercover cop played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai, as a birthday present. It is actually a scene that Lau experienced during his childhood. 'When I was in Primary Six, my father bought me a watch. It was my first watch and it was a very valuable gift,' says Lau. 'I was so happy that I cried. Today, I like to give people watches as presents. It has special meaning to me.' Lau has enjoyed a close relationship with his parents and siblings, and he wants the same togetherness in his own family. 'My second son and third son apparently do not get on too well. But on the school's sports day, they will cheer for each other,' he says. The director says he doesn't demand his children to become straight A students - as long as they work hard and are willing to take care of each other and those less fortunate. 'Through my dad, I learned that the world is a tough place to survive, but you still have to take care of other people,' says Lau.