HAPPENINGS: Montblanc celebrated the 25th anniversary of its prestigious arts and culture award in Hong Kong with a lavish gala. This year's patron for Hong Kong, veteran filmmaker and producer Johnnie To, was honoured for his exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of Hong Kong films. He was awarded a limited-edition fountain pen and a HK$132,000 donation for his "Fresh Wave" programme which aims to support young filmmakers.

To's many celebrity friends turned out to support including Anthony Wong, Wai Ka-fai, John Shum, and Charles and Tiffany Heung. Canto-pop star couple Andy Hui and Sammi Cheng also made a rare public appearance together to support To. The pair later joined singer Jonathan Wong and his acapella band on stage to perform Frank Sinatra's My Way on To's request. 

OVERHEARD It’s great to see so many Canto-pop stars give live performances tonight.

CHIC CHAT with Johnnie To

How do you feel about winning the award?

I think my team is behind all the awards that I've earned.

Why do you enjoy making films?

Films give us a great platform to let our imagination flow freely.

What's next for you?

I'm very grateful for winning the patron award, and it encourages me to help the next generation of filmmakers.

In what way?

I want to inspire our young generation of filmmakers to work harder. I also want to promote them on the international stage.


Chic Chat with Simon Ma

You are a judge for the Montblanc Patron of Art award. What are the winning criteria?

First, the winner needs to be respected and representative in his industry. Johnnie To has made great contribution to the film and creative industry. He’s an idol for many people.

Why do you think luxury brands are collaborating with cultural and arts creatives?

Art is a universal language. There are many ways to play with it, and to make it beautiful. I think it's a new [kind of] expression. Art can be showcased in different places, or it's tangible that you can collect and bring home. 

What is your key to success?

To be hard-working and never give up. My job is tough, and you should do something that is sustainable and with an international view that could influence other people. I’ve worked in different states, such as Miami and New York. It is important to strike a balance between different places.

What do you think of Hong Kong's contemporary art scene?

It is small. I think the most important thing is to touch people's feelings. I do support the art and creative industry in Hong Kong. However, I think Hong Kong needs more art space, more local artists’ exhibitions, and also more international promotion. 

Mainland collectors are emerging now. What’s your understanding of this phenomenon?

I think things [should be] slower. I would like to say that market prices should not be set by a particular person. Art is not measurable by price. It is measured by international recognition.