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Chinese language cinema

Hong Kong filmmakers announce host of new projects

John Woo, Fruit Chan and Ringo Lam films among those heralded at industry fair Filmart

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 March, 2015, 2:11pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 April, 2015, 11:37am

Cinema-goers can look forward to a host of new movies from Hong Kong filmmakers - including projects by veteran directors John Woo, Johnnie To Kei-fung, Derek Kwok Chi-kin, Fruit Chan Gor and Ringo Lam Ling-tung.

There's also Wong Jing's 100th film, and several films from relative newcomers to the director's chair, among them screen veteran Nick Cheung Ka-fai, singer-turned-filmmaker Juno Mak Chun-lung, and actress Carrie Ng Ka-lai.

And there's the usual sprinkling of sequels, such as  The Vanished Murderer - a follow-up to 2012 crime mystery The Bullet Vanishes -  The Monkey King 2 in 3D and  From Vegas to Macau 3, the latter two scheduled to hit Hong Kong cinema screens at Lunar New Year 2016.

They were among the films touted to local and international distributors on Monday, the opening day of this year's Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (Filmart). It marked the launch of the Entertainment Expo Hong Kong at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, and coincided with the opening of the 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival on the other side of Victoria Harbour.

As reported last week, Woo will direct thriller Manhunt, an adaptation of Juko Nishimura’s Hot Pursuit, after he wraps up his two-part romance epic The Crossing. The Japanese novel was first made into a film in 1976 starring Ken Takakura and directed by Junya Sato.

Johnnie To's Three will bring together Louis Koo Tin-lok, Zhao Wei and Wallace Chung Hon-leung in a thriller set in a hospital. Derek Kwok will direct War of Injustice, a film about the legal profession. Benny Chan Muk-sing's next project is The Deadly Reclaim, an action epic set in the early 1940s in Pucheng, China, starring Lau Ching-wan, Koo and Eddie Peng Yu-yan.

Koo will also star alongside Shawn Yue Man-lok and Joseph Chang Hsiao-chuan in Wild City, which marks veteran director Ringo Lam's long-awaited return to feature-film making following a prolonged hiatus in part due to his hesitation to adapt to the Hong Kong-China co-production model.

Fruit Chan Gor, whose most recent film, sci-fi mystery The Midnight After, has won wide acclaim, is returning with two films for Emperor Films: Kill Time, an adaptation of a Chinese novel starring Ethan Ruan Ching-tien and Angelababy Yeung Wing, and action movie We’re the World, with singer Hins Cheung King-hin taking the lead.

Wong is selling The Invincible 12, which the prolific and critically divisive filmmaker claims on the promotional poster to be his 100th movie – although, frankly, everyone else has stopped counting.

Media Asia is bringing together eight Hong Kong directors - Lam, Ann Hui On-wah, Tsui Hark, Woo, Sammo Hung Kam-po, Yuen Wo-ping, Patrick Tam Kar-ming and To for what sounds like a truly exciting project, called Eight & A Half.

Nearly 800 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions are attending this year's Filmart, which runs until March 26. Monday saw a flurry of press conferences from, among others, production houses Emperor Motion Pictures, One Cool Film Production, Sundream, and Star Alliance Movie. 

Emperor played coy on some projects - like Alan Mak Siu-fai and Felix Chong Man-keung’s film series for the group, about which no details were released - but gave actor-turned-director Nick Cheung a grandstand welcome. Yet when Emperor boss Albert Yeung Sau-shing took to the stage to announce a new film deal with Cheung, the actor repeatedly addressed the film mogul as “Yeung Chai” – or Little Yeung – to his visible displeasure. When Yeung then invited director Dante Lam Chiu-yin on stage and Cheung touted the possibility of a sequel to That Demon Within, it was Lam’s turn to look thoroughly baffled.

Cheung had earlier announced his second directorial effort, the exorcism drama Master Fat, at the press conference of the rapidly rising company One Cool Film Production.

With the fortunes of the Hong Kong film industry improving, it was encouraging to see production companies put their trust in some emerging directors. A case in point is the critic-turned-director Philip Yung, who is testing his mettle on the high-profile crime drama Port of Call, the closing movie at the city's film festival, which stars Aaron Kwok Fu-shing.

Among other such projects are Love Detective by Jil Wong Pak-kei (who made S for Sex, S for Secret and Guilty), Concerto of the Bully by Andrew Fung Chih-chiang (The Midas Touch), and She Remembers, He Forgets by Adam Wong Sau-ping (of The Way We Dance fame).

TV director Nick Leung will make his big-screen debut with the Lam Ka-tung-produced horror comedy Get Outta Here. New director Yuen Kim-wai is launching an enviable project in Heaven in the Dark, which will reunite the July Rhapsody cast of Jacky Cheung Hok-yau and Karena Lam Ka-yan. Having recently co-directed the female-centric thriller Angel Whispers with experienced producer Shirley Yung, actress-turned-director Carrie Ng is looking to make her solo feature debut with Knock Knock! Who’s There?, a horror triptych set in a funeral parlour.

Meanwhile, Juno Mak is looking to build on the acclaim of Rigor Mortis with his second effort as director, writer and producer, Sons of the Neon Night. The CGI-driven crime drama is a Hong Kong-China co-production with a budget of HK$120 million.