Hong Kong indie filmmaker turns to crowdfunding

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 June, 2015, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 June, 2015, 10:35pm

The best thing about crowdfunding — other than, well, having people give you money — is that it provides direct feedback from your core audience. That’s what Derek Ting, the writer and star of the 2012 local indie drama Supercapitalist, is hoping to get for his new film, Always, which he also directed.

The New York native, who’s been living in Hong Kong since 2006, knows getting funds presents a challenge. That’s because, unlike his 2012 film which had a finance thriller theme that resonated with business-minded Hong Kong, Always is a slow-burning romantic drama without any big names attached. “I know Always is less sexy than my first film,” says Ting. “But it’s more character-driven, and it’s a story about the connection between Hong Kong and China.” Ting has already completed the film. The US$25,000 he’s hoping to raise is to help cover costs and to, in his words, “find his core audience”.

At the time of going to press, the campaign, hosted on Indiegogo, had raised more than 30 per cent of its goal, but, with only 23 days to go, it’s a bit behind schedule. “Part of me does worry the film won’t [meet the goal],” says the former CNN producer. “But I think people can surprise you.”

He cites the example of Supercapitalist, which was distributed through video-on-demand and found its biggest audience in America's Midwest. “If someone from Iowa can love a film starring all Chinese faces, about the financial world of Hong Kong, then I have faith in Always.”

The film has already enjoyed some success. It premiered at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival in the US in April, which led to a Los Angeles Film Review Spirit Awards nomination for best cinematography. Adding to the film’s lustre is the recent Oscar win by sound engineer Ben Wilkins for his work on the film Whiplash

“Wilkins is the sound producer of Always, too,” says Ting. “Although this is a low-budget film, I don’t doubt the film’s quality at all.”