Master filmmakers from the mainland and Taiwan may steal the limelight at next month's Cannes Film Festival - but Hong Kong won't be completely out of the picture. Twenty-one local productions will feature in the festival's short-film corner, which showcases more than 2,000 films from around the world. First-time director Judy Chu Fung-han is one of those who will head to the French city's famed La Croisette, where she will show her self-financed 17-minute work Undernourished? during the festival that runs from May 13 to 24. Chu will rub shoulders with the likes of Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien and the mainland's Jia Zhangke, both of whom have films in competition for the festival's most prestigious prize, the Palme d'Or. The 34-year-old filmmaker says the environment in Hong Kong is not friendly to new talents, despite government attempts to create opportunities for them to blossom. Chu said her film, which tells the story of healthy young woman raised by her blind parents, was intended as a full-length feature. "But it is difficult for first-time director to raise funds," Chu said. That was despite the existence of the Film Development Fund, which funds productions, and the Arts Development Council, which funds art film projects. CreateHK also runs the First Feature Film Initiative, which professional groups can enter to win HK$3.25 million to fund their first film. But getting a share of the funding is "very competitive" said Chu, a 2005 graduate in drama from the Academy for Performing Arts, who scripted last year's feature I Sell Love . She made it to the final 10 for an award from the Incubator for Film and Visual Media in Asia, run by the Hong Kong Arts Centre, but missed out on the prize. But Chu would not be defeated and pressed ahead, making the film with HK$20,000 from savings and help from friends. "If I didn't take the first step, I would never have a chance," she said. "So I cut down my expenses to save money for this project and asked friends to help." Chu said that although the film was not part of a competition, its presence in the short-film corner would give her a chance to set up meetings with producers. "If I didn't have this film, I wouldn't have had enough works in my portfolio to show others. It is a great platform to present my work and myself," she said. "My goal is still to make a full-length feature." The Asian entries for this year's Palme d'Or include Hou's martial arts epic The Assassin starring Shu Qi and Chang Chen, Mountains May Depart , the first feature that Jia shot outside China, and Our Little Sister by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda. They will take on films from big-name Western directors including Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes.