Saville Chan to continue making films with familiar themes for Hongkongers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 5:27am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 7:05am

Hong Kong's starring role in movies isn't expected to fade soon.

Producer and writer Saville Chan Sum-yiu says he is writing a new film - She Remembers, He Forgets - in which an unhappily married woman ponders her past in an effort to understand why she didn't settle down with a certain former lover.

The film was partly inspired by Chan's observation that many Hongkongers romanticise the city's colonial past. When the city's last governor, Chris Patten, visited last month, some welcomed him with colonial flags.

"Our reminiscing is sparked by dissatisfaction with the present. This is what we are going through now in Hong Kong," says Chan, who co-wrote and co-produced The Way We Dance, last year's hit about young artists. "But clinging on to the past is no use. To change the future, we need to start with the present."

The film won best new director, best newcomer and best song - penned by Chan - at last week's Hong Kong Film Awards.

Chan says he wants to make films that tell local stories. The Way We Dance was made with only HK$5.3 million, with one-third coming from the government's Film Development Fund. It raked in more than HK$13.6 million.

Fundraising is hard, he says, if films are made principally for a Hong Kong audience and not mainland viewers. Yet he's confident some investors are interested in making films for Hong Kong. The Way We Dance and The Midnight After are produced by local film company and distributor Golden Scene.

"Film is not just a business," Chan says. "Filmmakers know that film is an important cultural product that can influence people. Freedom, our system and our tradition of Cantonese and English languages bring us success."