The 16th Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) today unveiled the 10 shortlisted projects for the Work-in-Progress Lab (WIP Lab), an initiative to help filmmakers secure post-production funds, sales agents and film festival support. The event will take place on 19 March 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of HAF.
HAF is one of Asia’s most important film-financing forums, providing a platform for projects in the pre-production or development stages. The WIP Lab further extends the services of HAF by offering a platform for late-stage projects seeking closing funds, post-production partners, distributors, sales agents, festivals and other film-industry services.
The 10 shortlisted projects, which were chosen from 141 WIP Lab submissions, are required to have completed or nearly completed shooting or production. This year’s projects include five films from Asia and five from diverse countries around the world.
Shortlisted Projects by Established and New Filmmakers
From Hong Kong, award-winning independent filmmaker Fruit CHAN (Made in Hong Kong, 1997; The Longest Summer, 1998; Little Cheung, 1999) serves as producer of director Oliver CHAN Siu-kuen’s feature film debut, Still Human, about a paralyzed man and his Filipina domestic worker who strive to overcome their cultural differences and personal hardships.
Two dramas from mainland China explore families in conflict. Director HUANG Zi’s first feature, From Black and White to Shades of Grey, which was previously selected at HAF 2014, looks at the agonizing trauma placed on a family when the father is diagnosed with cancer. In ZHAI Yixiang’s Mosaic Portrait, a journalist investigates the rape of a teenage girl in a remote village. The project won the Million-Dollar Grand Prize of Taipei Golden Horse Film Project Promotion in 2016.
Three Russian films take on social issues confronting the lives of ordinary people. In director Sergey DVORTSEVOY’s The Little One, an illegal immigrant woman from Kyrgyzstan working in Moscow attempts to find her abandoned baby. In The Pencil by Natalya NAZAROVA, a teacher defends her students against a gang leader. Co-directors Natalya MERKULOVA and Alexey CHUPOV offer a parable about a man who attempts to deceive death by changing his sex in The Man Who Surprised Everyone, a co-production with France and Estonia.
Two feature debuts by Asian filmmakers are also on the WIP Lab short list. Japanese director SAKAHARA Atsushi’s documentary, AGANAI – The Atonement, looks at his personal experience as a victim of the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, which killed 13 people, injured nearly 6,000 and made headlines around the world. Bhutanese director Tashi GYELTSHEN describes The Red Phallus as “about the paradox of being a human”.
Bulgarian director Svetla TSOTSORKOVA’s drama Sister tells “the story of how one girl becomes a woman,” and how she learns that if one wants to stay human, sacrifices must be made. From Panama, Félix GUARDIA’s animated feature The Sorcerer is a wild journey through the absurd and surrealist universe of Panamanian artist Julio Zachrisson.
In addition to meetings with potential partners and investors during HAF, WIP Lab shortlisted projects are also entitled to compete for three post-production awards: the Wanda WIP Lab Award presented by Wanda Media Co. Ltd., offering a cash price of HK$100,000 (approx. US$12,800) to encourage the development of outstanding cinema; the G2D Post-Production Award and the White Light Post-Production Award each offering in-kind post-production services that is worth US$15,000 respectively (approx. HK$117,300 each).
The “HAF Goes to Cannes” Program
For the second consecutive year, HAF will collaborate with Marché du Film, Festival de Cannes, to present an important program offering market screening and pitch opportunities for up to five projects at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May. “HAF Goes to Cannes” presents opportunities for filmmakers to look for sales agents, distributors and film festivals. Priority will be given to WIP Lab projects. Beijing Nicefilm Technology Co.,Ltd., a TV and film production company in China, will provide a traveling subsidy of HK$100,000 in total to the projects selected for “HAF Goes to Cannes”.
“The increase in applications this year and the 10 selected shortlisted film projects reflect the growing interest by filmmakers in Asia and from around the world in the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum’s Work-in-Progress Lab,” said Mr. Jacob WONG, Curator of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society and Director of the HAF. “These exceptional projects represent a wide variety of cultures, languages and societies, and HAF is proud to offer a platform for these filmmakers to present their works to film-industry professsionals,” WONG said. “In addition, we look forward to working again with Marché du Film and offering a showcase for these independent Filmmakers at Cannes this May.”
Work-in-Progress Lab Open Pitch
Date: 19 March 2018 (Monday)
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Venue: Screening Room (N206, N207), Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Remarks: HAF/ Filmart badge holders, registered media and press