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Le Concours des Courts Métrages

 Le FFHKP est fier de présenter les cinq œuvres réalisées par cinq réalisateur.ice.s indépendant.e.s.

Le passé n'est jamais passé. Répondant à ce que les Hongkongais ont vécu ces dernières années, les cinq œuvres sélectionnées pour la compétition de courts métrages du festival sont chargées d'un sentiment de perte, de frustration et de peur, mais non dénuées d'espoir. Dans des styles disparates, ces films montrent comment les artistes de Hong Kong capturent de manière créative et réfléchie la "structure du sentiment" qui émerge. Nous avons discuté avec eux des inspirations et de l'esthétique de leurs films, des contraintes réalistes et de la puissance cinématographique dans le temps et l'espace.

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Interview with Erica KWOK

1. What was your inspiration for creating this film? Erica: This short film revolves around the existential crisis of the protagonist at the age of twenty-seven. The initial draft of the script was written as an assignment during my university screenwriting course. At that time, I was particularly interested in the concepts of “Live Fast Die Young” and “Embracing Life and Death,” which became the starting point for my creative process. As I approached my own twenty-seventh birthday, I decided to revise the script. It was because we were living in an unstable era, where various events happening in the current time easily make us feel lost or believe that no action can bring about change in our lives. Therefore, the revised script focuses on finding the meaning of “rebirth” after “death” and explores how we can take action and resist, by contemplating “death”. 2. French audiences are often curious about Hong Kong as portrayed in cinema. What message or impression would you like them to gain from your film? Erica: For me, themes of women, growth, and existential crisis have always been important. I hope to reflect the thoughts and social realities of young people in Hong Kong through a coming-of-age story. For example, the environment of the record store is actually a microcosm of society, where surveillance cameras are everywhere, and the actions of the employees are monitored and controlled by the boss. The attitudes of the customers also reflect the pressure that young people in Hong Kong face in their work and living environments. When our souls feel trapped, what should we do? Even if resistance fails, does that mean resistance is futile? I believe these are all thought-provoking questions. 3. As a filmmaker, what do you think about the past, the present, and/or the future? Erica: In the past, I have been fascinated by the mentality of urban alienation, perhaps because Hong Kong is a capitalist society where people’s sense of meaning often depends on how much wealth or resources they possess. If we believe that life’s meaning is not solely defined by these factors, it is easy to feel disconnected from society as a whole. This was a thought I used to have. Now, living in Berlin, Germany, and being physically distant from Hong Kong seems to provide me with more opportunities to contemplate issues of identity. Hong Kong is currently going through its largest wave of emigration in history, with many people choosing to relocate or explore alternative ways of life. I don’t necessarily see this as a negative thing. Living abroad has also allowed me to encounter more Hong Kong people who have moved at different times, and I am collecting their oral histories. In the future, I hope to film stories about Hong Kong women who have migrated and wandered in foreign lands, exploring more identity issues. 4. What led you to opt for the brisk comedic style in this film? Erica: Before I left Hong Kong for Berlin, I experienced three years of pandemic-induced isolation. Frustrated with many unreasonable pandemic policies and often confined to my home, I felt a lot of pent-up frustration and anger that I wanted to release through creative channels. Eventually, I decided to transform my inner turmoil into comedy, channelling these emotions into a different kind of passion and vitality. I also invited friends around me to join me in the production.

de Erica KWOK

27 

Comédie fantastique | 29 min | 2022 | VOSTFR

Pendant qu'elle travaille dans un magasin de disques, la protagoniste adore rêver. A l'approche de ses 27 ans, elle traverse une crise existentielle et tombe dans une série d'imaginations et de réflexions étranges...

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A Letter from Prison 第一封信

de Jason YIU

Drame engagé | 19 min | 2022 | VOSTFR

Informé de l'emprisonnement de son meilleur ami, le protagoniste commence à lui écrire des lettres pour l'encourager...

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Interview with Jason YIU

1. What was your inspiration for creating this film? Jason: I had a friend who was sent to jail, and I didn’t know why. This incident greatly impacted me, and I could only communicate with him by letter. I had been thinking that sending a letter to the jail would not be difficult until I took up the pen; only then did I recognise the great pressure I would face with this letter. For example, I would fall under surveillance if I sent a letter to the prison, inducing “special care” for both of us. I was also worried about whether he would feel offended if I wrote about what happens behind the walls. Actually, it wasn’t easy to write this first letter, which made me want to document it. 2. French audiences are often curious about Hong Kong as portrayed in cinema. What message or impression would you like them to gain from your film? Jason:Foreign audiences may have a general perception that Hong Kong is full of gangsters and gunfights with police, or they may think Hong Kong is still a free place. I hope this short film allows the audience to feel that our freedom has been lost gradually. 3. As a filmmaker, what do you think about the past, the present, and/or the future? Jason: In Hong Kong, our history is tampered with every day, so now we bend ourselves to record what can’t be forgotten, hoping to make a difference in the future. 4. What presents the greatest challenge when creating a film with such a self-reflexive approach? Jason: There are a lot of blind spots in designing a character based on myself. For example, I see myself as a straightforward person, but others see me as a hothead with a sharp tongue, so I wrote many lines that did not make any sense in the first draft of the script. Luckily, there was another script writer who joined me and analysed the characters objectively. It has also helped me to see myself and face my shadow side more clearly.

Rubbish Ban 阿才

de Kingston CHOW

Comédie fantastique | 20 min | 2022 | VOSTFR

Pendant le COVID, la petite amie du protagoniste lui a dit qu'elle voudrait jeter les déchets. Pourtant, elle n'est jamais revenue après l'avoir laissé dans la rue. Après cet épisode ridicule de sa vie, le protagoniste a été ordonné par son patron de se débarrasser des trucs inutiles, mais il n'a jamais réussi à trouver une poubelle...

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Interview with Kingston Chow (Rubbish Ban)

1. What was your inspiration for creating this film? Kingston: I have joined a campaign named “Keep Rolling” by Ying E Chi. The shooting campaign’s theme was “How do the Hongkongers deal with the coronavirus pandemic?” And that time, the new “National Security Law” had just been passed in Hong Kong. We could not use a direct way to express our opinion since we really wanted the screening could still be held in Hong Kong. I noticed that Hong Kong was lack of rubbish bins at that time but the pandemic was not the reason. It was because a lot of rubbish bins were used as roadblocks in the Anti-Extradition Law Movement in 2019. And then, all of the bins were all removed by the government later in 2020. I tried to match the emotion between the lack of rubbish bins and losing freedom from the pandemic policies. So the idea “Unable to find a rubbish bin because of the pandemic” was born. 2. French audiences are often curious about Hong Kong as portrayed in cinema. What message or impression would you like them to gain from your film? Kingston: I often think that foreigner’s image of Hong Kong is really not matched with reality. I have seen some foreign movies claimed to be shot in Hong Kong but the CGI or the movie set did not grasp the soul of Hong Kong. I tried to picture the background of Hong Kong as real as possible. The streets are busy but narrow and sometimes wet and filthy. There are lots of tall buildings packed in a tiny district and still many construction sites. Many new, modern and old stuff are mixed in a frame. And most importantly, the pandemic policy at that time was really as ridiculous as the film mentioned. I only tweaked a little bit when talking about rubbish bins for the storytelling, as there are still rubbish bins in Hong Kong, of course. 3. As a filmmaker, what do you think about the past, the present, and/or the future? Kingston: I think film is like a pocket of time that the director would like to record and present that moment. The idea of the film always comes from a part of a time period which is the past. The shooting moment is the present. And the time when the audience watches is the future. After the audience watches it, they may have some other thoughts on different things. It is like a conversation travelling for a long period of time. Also, films are always referencing other films. Some films’ future are other films’ past. When I am imagining Rubbish Ban’s world, I always think of an old Hong Kong film Escape from Hong Kong Island (2004, dir. Simon Lui). That film has a similar concept to my film: instead of failing to find a rubbish bin, the protagonist of Escape from Hong Kong Island cannot escape Hong Kong Island. I think an absurd film world is actually an exaggeration of reality. There must be some linkage to the real world. This is the way I think of film when I try to create something. 4. Why did you choose dark humour and absurdist style for this film? Kingston: The Anti-Extradition Law Movement in 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 were really frustrating at that time. I called it a dark period in Hong Kong. I would like to use dark humour or even a bit of comedy instead of a serious tone in the film just to not irritate any audience so much. I just want everyone to relax a bit while watching. The absurdity could bring the audience a step back and look at how stupid and ridiculous the pandemic policy is.

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By 3 pm 下午三點

de CHOY Kaiu

Drame engagé | 22 min | 2021|VOSTFR

La protagoniste a décidé de quitter son emploi et de travailler en tant qu'auto-entrepreneuse dans un minuscule studio loué. Pendant qu'elle prend sa fuite de la réalité, elle entend par hasard la belle musique de son voisin, ce qui l'entraîne dans l'imaginaire…

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Interview with CHOY Kaiu 

1. What was your inspiration for creating this film? Kaiu: In fact, the inspiration for this story came by coincidence and kind of my personal experience. Three years ago, I did move into a subdivided unit as my studio in a factory building. In the afternoon, after I’d been there a day or two, while I was cleaning up, suddenly, there was a loud piano sound from the next door. I found that moment really surreal because the walls between subdivided units were very thin, hence terrible soundproofing as if the piano was playing right next to me. But it didn’t annoy me, probably because it was classical music. In the next few days, at a particular time, I kept hearing the door open, footsteps, and then the piano practice from my neighbour. Suddenly, it was like the first shape of this story downloaded into my head. It was an amazing experience! Surely, the final product differs a lot from the original idea. Certain plots in the first draft were impossible to realise due to limited resources, and something there was also hard to show due to political concerns in Hong Kong. Thus, in the end, it has become the present version with supernatural elements added. One day after I had the primary framework of the story, I saw a story on Facebook but not covered in the mainstream media about a piano teacher, who committed to helping the “siblings” in 2019, was found dead at home. Since I came across this story from an online media only two days after I had the first shape of By 3pm’s, I really found it coincident. Finally, I have included many stories heard from friends and collected on the web, after digesting them, in the final draft of my script. Due to resource constraints, a group of friends supported the production by contributing HKD 500 each, and the shooting location was my own studio within one day – of course it’s a long day. The gist of this film is the use of spatial and audio elements for storytelling. Another theme is that, after 2019 and due to the pandemic, many people did not go out and got trapped in their own places, always with masks. Interpersonal connection and communication were suddenly broken. I’d like to deliver this experience in my story, hoping the audience will echo it. Even if they don’t, it’s still a challenge for me to make a short film conveniently, given a restrained budget. Of course, it’s not perfect, but still an exercise for myself, demonstrating a rather independent spirit in filmmaking. I believe I am improving, and I will do better next time! 2. French audiences are often curious about Hong Kong as portrayed in cinema. What message or impression would you like them to gain from your film? Kaiu: When I made this film, I aimed to communicate with Hong Kong people who had the 2019 and the pandemic experience thereafter. I didn’t expect many screening opportunities overseas that have followed, so I didn’t particularly think about what messages foreigners would receive. I just want to tell a story of the present signalling what we have been through, with a common feeling masked by the pandemic. These are the two things I want to communicate to the audience. As for the French audience? I think they have mostly watched mainstream productions from Hong Kong, or independent films that are extraordinary, such as Made in Hong Kong. I believe if a film is good or moving, it is related to the film language as a universal language. If the audience “gets it” and like it, it proves the film is good. If we fail to use the universal film language to impress them, I haven’t done well enough, and I will try harder next time! 3. As a filmmaker, what do you think about the past, the present, and/or the future? Kaiu: In the past, I had been working on distribution, promotion, and production—later also the creative part—of non-mainstream films for a long time. I had adopted a “do you best” attitude when undertaking these tasks in Hong Kong. While the film industry, mainstream film festivals, or semi- independent films by famous directors already have their distribution models established, independent films or films seemingly less commercial in Hong Kong have limited space. This is because, apparently, Hong Kong is an international metropolis, but it is conservative in many aspects. Moreover, this is a place where “quickly getting rich means all,” hence very limited room is left for developing other initiatives. Thus, it was very difficult to make non- mainstream films without government funding in the past! Now, it’s hard even to move an inch! Many things you want to do fall under great restrictions in a public funding system under totalitarian control. If you have to step back a thousand miles before you can get a small grant, would that be what you really want for what you will do? Why don’t you do something else if you just want to make some money and feed yourself? For me, this is the time to have a break! As for the future, personally, I can’t think of anything because I really can’t see any future! Apart from persistent self-censorship for the present, I can’t see how much I can go further. I may have to seek room outside Hong Kong. That is what I think at this moment. 4. What led to your choice of a ghost story within the horror genre for this film? Kaiu: In fact, I have always loved supernatural stories. My previous short film was titled A Summer Ghost Story, filmed around 2016. It’s about a missing person in Macau during the “ghost month” of the Lunar calendar. Within the framework of a ghost story, it touches upon how everyone has a hidden secret, something unspeakable in the heart. That was the first time I used the ghost genre for storytelling. So this is the second time I tell a ghost story. I think a ghost story could allow greater room for the audience’s imagination than the first draft, which was based on a true story. First, the ghost genre would enhance the audience’s curiosity; second, I plan to use promotional film stills to create an expectation among the audience that the film is a romantic encounter of serendipity appealing to the “cultured youth.” Thus, some of my friends afraid of ghost films blamed me: “How come this is a ghost story?” I think in Hong Kong’s current situation, the supernatural or ghost genre are pertinent means to illustrate characters, human nature, and the present condition of individuals.

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Moonshine 明月光

de YEUNG King-Lun

Drame social | 15 min | 2021 | VOSTFR

Un appel soudain et anonyme venant de Taïwan a brisé la vie tranquille de la protagoniste et l'a ramenée dans une mer de souvenirs...

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Interview with YEUNG King-Lun

1. What was your inspiration for creating this film? King-lun: I enjoy watching stories about ordinary people. When extraordinary events occur in society, some individuals are often forgotten, and no one considers how their lives are affected. That’s why I want to capture and portray their experiences through film. After 2019, many individuals have made the decision to leave Hong Kong due to various factors. I wanted to tell a story about the people who leave and the ones who choose to stay. Regardless of their choices, each of them faces their own challenges and dilemmas. Due to budget constraints, we decided to focus the story on a single phone call taking place at a single location. We capture a ten-minute long-distance call between two individuals who have separated. This phone call serves as a representation of the emotions of Hong Kong people living in a dispersed era. The male character, who has recently fled to Taiwan, reaches out to the female character, who remains in Hong Kong. He shares his struggles and inconveniences in the new environment, while she promises to take care of his mother and even lends him money. 2. French audiences are often curious about Hong Kong as portrayed in cinema. What message or impression would you like them to gain from your film? King-lun: Ultimately, we wanted to reflect the emotional turmoil and challenges faced by this generation of Hongkongers. 3. As a filmmaker, what do you think about the past, the present, and/or the future? King-lun: Film has the power to connect the past, present, and future by capturing and preserving moments in time while simultaneously projecting narratives that resonate with audiences across different eras. It can reflect on historical events and their impact on the present, shed light on contemporary issues, and imagine future possibilities. Through storytelling and visual representation, film bridges temporal gaps, allowing viewers to explore the continuum of human experiences and the interconnectedness of different time periods. I believe that Moonshine is timely as it is created in response to the societal conditions we are currently experiencing. We hope to convey our emotions to the other side of the Earth through this film, or to serve as a record for future generations to look back upon, and feel our emotions. 4. Why did you prefer a dimly lit, slow-paced atmosphere throughout the film? King-lun: Silences and pauses play a significant role in the conversation, occupying half of the call. Through this film, we aim to delve into the depths of a fading relationship and convey the feelings of longing, uncertainty, and insecurity experienced by both characters. By focusing on these emotional nuances, we hope to create a poignant portrayal of the impact of separation and distance on individuals in the context of contemporary Hong Kong.

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