Controversial Hong Kong film Ten Years to spawn international versions in Thailand, Taiwan and Japan
Audience reaction around the world convinced the filmmakers that the idea could transfer to other locations, and the three films are expected to go into production by the end of the year
The Hong Kong film Ten Years – a controversial socio-political fable which scooped the best picture prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2016 after being slammed by pro-Beijing media from both Hong Kong and the mainland – is set to spawn three new films set in Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.
In a statement released on Wednesday by the film’s production company, Ten Years Studio, executive producer Andrew Choi says, “When Ten Years was screened at festivals around the world, audience members responded with much emotion and introspection; their enthusiasm sparked the team’s interest in producing international versions.”
It echoes the sentiment expressed by director-producer Ng Ka-leung in a previous interview with the Post , in which he said, “While the foreign audiences might not be very familiar with the situation in Hong Kong, we often saw in the post-screening question-and-answer sessions that Ten Years has inspired its viewers to have a refreshed perspective about their own countries. … I hope the audience there will be inspired to rethink the future of their country as well.”
In the three new films, creative control will be given to the local producers and directors. All of them will follow the same format as the Hong Kong version and create an omnibus feature comprising five short films by five directors; each will picture the region in 10 years, taking on such issues as heightened government surveillance, technology’s impact on human relationships, and the loss of authentic culture.
When asked if he foresees the international versions to inspire as much controversy as the Hong Kong original, regional producer Felix Tsang tells the Post that “it’ll have to come organically”. It remains to be seen “how each film reflects the times of the countries that they represent. It reflects on how the filmmakers see their own country and how the film speaks to its people,” he adds.
The five directors included in the Ten Years Thailand project are Cannes winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, Aditya Assarat, Chookiat Sakveerakul and Chulayarnnon Siriphol. The director roster for Ten Years Taiwan includes Rina B. Tsou, Lau Kek Huat, Lekal Sumi, Pei-Ju Hsieh and Lu Po Shun. Details of Ten Years Japan will be announced at the Busan Film Festival in October.
The team behind Ten Years Studio – including Tsang and fellow regional producer Lorraine Ma, as well as producers Ng and Choi – are responsible for picking the directors, screening story ideas and shaping the screenplays. “But we emphasise to let the filmmakers have creative freedom,” adds Tsang. “Ten Years Studio provides part of the funding to get the projects started, and we do require the rest of the financing to come from local financiers.”
All three films are expected to go into production by the end of 2017.
Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook