Footballer on film

Kevin Kung

When his school decided to produce a full-length movie, a student athlete had to face new challenges

Kevin Kung |

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Football player Chan Ho-chun plays fellow footballer Ip Chung-long in the film produced by his school.
Footballer Chan Ho-chun is the funny guy in his class and always makes people laugh. But he didn't know that his "talents" would win him a chance to become a leading character in his school's film production 4 In Life.

Yan Chai Hospital Tung Chi Ying Memorial Secondary School decided to produce a 90-minute movie of encouraging stories based on four former or current students. And students took up active roles in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Ho-chun, a Form Six student, was nominated by his teacher to play the role of footballer Ip Chung-long because of his active nature in class. Ip was a student and football team captain at Tung Chi Ying. In the film, he is of similar age to Ho-chun.

Ho-chun passed the audition after acting several scenes for the production team. "I was delighted to do the filming. I told my mum the good news but she asked, 'Is it a short video clip for campus TV?'" he says. Ho-chun found it difficult to handle the pressures of acting and production. He considered quitting, but unlike during a football match, there was no way that he could find a substitute.

"I wanted to quit because I had a rough start," says Ho-chun. "I had NGs and I was not satisfied with my performance. It was a new challenge for me as I had never tried serious acting before. It's not easy as you need to show emotions and express yourself through acting. But I understood I needed to be responsible and try my best to improve and complete the production."

He also worried that his friends might think he would become a star when the film was released and they would not be as close as before.

The 18-year-old didn't quit in the end, but he did do something that almost ruined the whole film. "I went to Baotou in Inner Mongolia to represent Hong Kong at the All China Secondary Schools Students' Games in July. I had to spend almost half a month there and therefore I had a haircut," says Ho-chun.

His hair was cut very short. "I thought my hair would grow, and when I came back to do the shooting again, it would look the same as before."

But he was wrong. He looked very different when he came back to Hong Kong.

Raymond Tang Wai-man, the director of the film, who is also an old boy of Tung Chi Ying, was not happy but fortunately Ho-chun only needed to re-shoot one scene.

Playing the role of Ip also gave him some special experiences. Ip's father is famous director Lee Lik-chi, while his mum is a secretary in the school office. "I have known her at school for years and didn't have much communication before. But now my 'mum' in the film still calls me 'son' when we see each other at school," says Ho-chun. He also thinks that he has become braver after acting and is no longer afraid of speaking to a big crowd.

Ho-chun plays for the Second Division team Tai Chung Football Club. While he spent so much time on filming, he had less time for school team and club. "This is my sacrifice for the film production. But I am really excited to see the final result."

The film's production started in the second term of the last school year and went on until October, taking 71 days to complete shooting.

The premiere of 4 In Life will take place at Telford MCL cinema at 2.30pm on December 13. Details will be announced soon on the school's website: