The path of Iwai Shunji’s career is unique in Japan. He started out in television, making a dozen short- and medium-length films including 1993’s Fried Dragon Fish, starring a young Tadanobu Asano, and Fireworks, Shall We See It From the Side or the Bottom?. The latter won an award from the Directors' Guild of Japan, something unprecedented for a TV movie. He found his next outlet at the 9pm “late show” screenings at theaters, where he exhibited his 47-minute Undo about the madness inherent in love. The hallmarks that defined his career - poetic works with fresh visuals, sensual soundtracks and Japan’s most beautiful actors - were already evident. His first feature-length film was the 72-minute Picnic, starring Asano and singer Chara as escapees from an asylum, but the first to reach cinemas was his classic Love Letter in 1995. The parallel-timeline romance is about a young widow who sends a letter to her dead husband in his Hokkaido hometown, only to get a reply from his female classmate with the same name. The film brought Iwai legions of fans across Asia; while it sold out theaters in Japan for 14 weeks, it played in Hong Kong for 30 straight weeks and became the must-see film for students in South Korea where Japanese films were still banned. The first phase of Iwai’s career came to a close with the release of his wildly ambitious Swallowtail Butterfly the following year. Set in an alternative Japan, home to millions of immigrants in shanty towns, it stars Chara as a wannabe pop star whose dreams are realized when her “Yen Town” comrades get rich using the most ingenious currency scam ever committed to celluloid. Ahead of its time for its depiction of a multi-racial Japan, its adoption of world-class CGI in an extraordinary butterfly sequence, and its multi-media marketing campaign, it also marked Iwai’s withdrawal from Japan’s rigid film industry. Two years after the sprawling 146-minute Swallowtail, Iwai returned with his smallest movie yet, the perfectly-formed 67-minute April Story about a female student moving into her own apartment and experiencing first love. Iwai not only wrote, directed and edited the film, but also produced it, composed its music, and self-distributed it. It marked a new self-reliance and a necessary detachment that that would later see him becoming his own cinematographer. He has since made films in New York, Vancouver and Paris, directed an animated feature, and set up a company in Shanghai where he is about to launch the next phase of his career. (S.C.)
Lee Byung-hun is the undisputed leading man of South Korean cinema, and beyond. His career has spanned twenty years in genres as diverse as the romance, the wuxia epic, the eastern (Manchurian) western, the period drama, and the bloody thriller. Lee nurtured his domestic popularity by moving back-and-forth between successful TV dramas (Beautiful Days, All In, and Iris) and contemporary classics from directors Kim Jee-woon (A Bittersweet Life; The Good, the Bad, the Weird; I Saw the Devil) and Park Chan-wook (Joint Security Area). His partnerships with these world-renowned directors also earned him critical acclaim, and a fervent fan base in the West. Throughout his career, he has chosen to work with debut directors, demonstrating a keen eye for talent through collaborations with Kim Sung-soo (Run Away), Lee Young- jae (The Harmonium in My Memory), Kim Dae-seung (Bungee Jumping of Their Own), Park Young-hoon (Addicted) and Lee Jae- kyoo (The Influence). This willingness to take risks can also be seen in the personae he has taken on, from the sadistic crime lord in Tran Anh Hung’s I Come with the Rain, to the one-handed survivor in Woo Min-ho’s Inside Men. Lee’s first foray into Hollywood was in 2009 with the memorable role of Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He is fast becoming one of the best known Asian faces in the West for his appearances in blockbuster franchises (Red 2; Terminator Genisys). But he has also maintained a successful commercial career and critical respect at home, winning a Grand Bell Award for Best Actor for his dual roles in Choo Chang-min’s lavish 2012 period drama Masquerade. It is currently South Korea’s 8th most successful (local) film of all time. The same year, Lee and veteran Ahn Sung-ki became the first Korean actors to immortalize their hand- and foot-prints on the forecourts of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. 2016 is proving another landmark year for Lee outside South Korea, beginning in February when he was tasked with presenting the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the 88th Oscars. Lee next appears in Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, the latest remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. This year, we are proud to bring him back “East” as a recipient of one of our anniversary edition’s Star Asia Awards. (C.M.).
The daughter of an English teacher who herself trained and worked as a nurse, Miriam Yeung epitomizes the anything-is-possible spirit of Hong Kong. Since winning third prize in a TVB singing competition in 1995, Yeung has released 40 albums, acted in 35 feature films and become one of Hong Kong’s leading charity ambassadors. After starting her movie career in 1998 in James Yuen’s Rumble Ages, Yeung became a major box office draw in 2001-2 with her charismatic performances as quirky girl-next-doors in three offbeat comedies directed by Joe Ma: Feel 100% II, Dummy Mommy Without a Baby and Love Undercover. Her new prominence was recognized at the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, where she was presented with the Most Popular Artiste Award. For several years she balanced a career refining her natural skill as a comedienne while challenging herself in more demanding roles, including Fruit Chan’s dark horror Dumplings in 2004. However, unable to find a persona that again resonated with Hong Kong audiences, she focused on her music career. She found that reconnection in 2010—after a turning point in her personal life: marriage— when she started a creative partnership with Pang Ho-cheung, taking both their careers to another level. In the 18-rated romance Love in a Puff, Yeung played foul-mouthed cosmetics salesgirl Cherie who starts a relationship with an advertising executive after city-wide smoking regulations throw the chain-smokers together. Two years later, Yeung won Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards for the more poignant Beijing-set follow-up, Love in the Buff, also a major box office hit in both Hong Kong and mainland China. Yeung has continued to work with Pang, most notably on Aberdeen, and with another chronicler of modern Hong Kong, Johnnie To, on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2. In 2015, two decades after launching her entertainment career, Yeung headlined the biggest local hit of the year, Little Big Master, based on the true story of a kindergarten teacher fighting for the education of five underprivileged kids in the New Territories. At this year’s NYAFF, we present her newest film, Adam Wong’s ambitious mid-life crisis romantic drama She Remembers, He Forgets. (S.C.)
John Lloyd Cruz
John Lloyd Cruz, arguably the most powerful actor in the Philippines, was discovered by a talent scout in a shopping mall. After appearing in a handful of teen- oriented television shows, he signed with ABS- CBN’s Star Magic group in 1997, giving him a platform to star opposite leading actresses Toni Gonzaga, Sarah Geronimo, and Bea Alonzo in a series of romantic blockbusters for the television behemoth’s Star Cinema studio. His Cathy Garcia-Molina-directed romantic dramas One More Chance (2007, with Alonzo), A Very Special Love (2008, with Geronimo) and You Changed My Life (2009, Geronimo again) were the country’s highest grossing films three years in a row making him the country’s undisputed box office king. Last year’s sequel A Second Chance stands as the country’s highest grossing local film with a $12 million domestic haul. He has also won practically every award in the Philippines. In New York, we are capturing him at a crucial moment in his career, with a screening of his first film as a producer and investor, Erik Matti’s Honor Thy Father. Although the crime thriller was released one month after Second Chance, it marked his first film after a one-year stand-off with ABS-CBN and a radical departure from his still-boyish image. The film, about family, religion and corruption, stars Cruz as a father whose household is besieged by mob violence and whose daughter is kidnapped by creditors after the collapse of his father-in-law’s pyramid scheme. Released on December 25th within the nationwide Metro Manila Film Festival, it unravelled a corruption scandal within the event itself, that led to radical changes and hearings in Congress. To salute his reinvention as one of the Philippines best actors inside and outside the romantic genre, the New York Asian Film Festival is presenting Cruz with his first international award. (S.C.)
Jelly Lin is China’s newest “It Girl” after her film debut Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid broke box office records earlier this year. She was among 120,000 contenders who joined open auditions for the titular role of a half-woman, half-fish who seduces an environmentally- unfriendly property developer so that her mer- kind can assassinate him... only to fall madly in love. Lin’s beguiling performance, which showed her as a gifted comedienne, has been described as the film’s “secret weapon” that catapulted it to $520 million at the China box office. Later this year she stars as the near- immortal Tianshu Youhua in L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties, Guo Jingming’s motion- capture, CGI adaptation of his own novel. Next year she’ll be seen in Tsui Hark’s Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 2 and the Hasichaolu-directed, Jean-Jacques Annaud- produced The Legend of the Mongol King. Lin is represented by Chow’s talent management agency, Worth Achieve Associates. (S.C.)
Teri Malvar’s film career is the stuff of fairytales. While accompanying her part-time actress mom to an audition, she unexpectedly landed the main role. That film was Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo’s coming-of-age drama Anita’s Last Cha-Cha, a competition entry in the 1st CineFilipino Film Festival. Set in a small village in the Philippines, Malvar depicted the (lesbian) first love story of its 12-year-old protagonist with effortless charm and sensitivity. Malvar caused a media storm when she won the festival’s Best Actress award, beating screen legend Nora Aunor. It also shared the Best Film Award. Anita is one of several daring castings with which Malvar has broadened the range of Philippines’ cinema. Malvar followed Anita with Kip Oebanda’s human trafficking drama In the Can, in which she played one of a group of children forced to work long hours in a sardine- canning factory. Her next two films owe a debt to The Wicker Man, True Detective and the works of David Lynch. In Alec Figuracion’s Zigzag Road, she played the moral center of a nuclear family who are trapped together with other travelers when their car cannot find its way out of a spaghetti nest of twisting roads. In Jet Leyco’s mystery Town in a Lake she played a schoolgirl who disappears when her best friend (and alleged lesbian lover) is rape-murdered. Both films create rich mythologies whose undercurrents consume their contemporary protagonists. With Ralston Jover’s Hamog (Haze), Malvar is on the cusp of getting the international attention she deserves. Conceived as the tale of four homeless street kids, Malvar’s screen-stealing performance as Jinky led the filmmakers to refashion the film’s second half around her. She won her second Best Actress award for her fiery portrayal at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival. She is next competing for Best Actress at the Shanghai and Moscow International Film Festivals, which are hosting the film’s Asian and European premieres. (S.C.)
Shandong-born Yue Song learnt different fighting styles from a young age, studying traditional boxing, kickboxing, ju-jitsu, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, and mixed martial arts. He also created his own moves, including the “bullet punch”, “seven-meter flip”, and “gun grab”. He first came to the attention of action fans with his short training video, Chinese Kung Fu Kid Shocks the World, which demonstrated his practical, balls-to-the-wall street-fighting style. In 2008, it became an internet sensation with over 2 million views and 8,000 comments on Youku. In 2009, his first martial arts feature collapsed due to poor budgeting and a series of accidents on set. In 2010, he took out a bank loan to make The King of the Streets, which he shot over 20 exhausting days. Yue, who was director, screenwriter and actor, next spent six months persuading the Beijing Film Bureau to let it pass it through censorship, before its theatrical release in 2012. The Bodyguard is his latest (glorious )attempt to put Chinese martial arts back on the map. (S.C.)
This year’s New York Asian Film Festival is awarding Japanese actor Go Ayano a Screen International Rising Star Award for his chameleon-like range as an actor, whether portraying long-haired students or demon assassins. In 2016, he is already emerging as Japan’s hottest actor for roles including a Machiavellian fixer in Shunji Iwai’s A Bride for Rip Van Winkle, the country’s most corrupt cop in Kazuya Shiraishi’s Twisted Justice, and as one of three suspects of a heinous crime in Lee Sang-il’s upcoming murder-mystery Rage. Ayano’s rise has been swift. He first burst into the Japanese film industry’s consciousness in 2009 with a supporting role in Takashi Miike’s school gang warfare franchise entry Crows II. He has since starred in a series of iconic films including Mika Ninagawa’s Helter Skelter, Keishi Otomo’s Rurouni Kenshin, Shuichi Okita’s A Story of Yonosuke, Eriko Kitagawa’s I Have to Buy New Shoes, and Oh Mipo’s The Light Shines Only There. He is represented by TriStone Entertainment (S.C.)
Apinya “Saiparn” Sakuljaroensuk made a striking acting debut in the title role of Pen- ek Ratanaruang’s Ploy, which premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2007. To age the 16-year-old Sakuljaroensuk, she was given a distinctive afro hairstyle for her role as a young woman stranded at a hotel bar. She has since acted in 25 feature films, working with leading mainstream directors such as Bhandit Rittakol (Boonchu 9), Prachya Pinkaew (4Romance), Paween Purijitpanya (4bia) and Yuthlert Sippapak (Friday Killer). Since Ploy, she has also continued to work in Thai independent cinema, winning award for her keenly-observed performances in Tongpong Chantarangkul’s I Carried You Home and Lee Chatametikool’s Concrete Clouds. She is currently a student at Rangsit University where she also teaches acting. After a two- year absence - during which she directed three short films - she returns to the big screen in 2016 with social media slasher-horror Grace and Anocha Suwichakornpong’s upcoming, multi-threaded By The Time It Gets Dark. (S.C.)
Yoshinori Chiba started his career as one of ten employees at Gaga Corporation. In 2004, he produced Keita Amemiya’s Zeiram as a company employee only to be reprimanded for being heavily over budget. His second chance came four years later with the boom in straight-to-video releases, producing films in-house for Takashi Miike (Fudoh: The New Generation), Sato Shimako (Wiz- ard of Darkness), and Rokuro Mochizuki (Another Lonely Hitman). In 1998, after producing 60 films at Gaga, he started his own company, Media Suits, where he launched the careers of Yasuo Inoue (The Neighbor No. Thirteen), Yudai Yamaguchi (Battlefield Baseball), and Yuji Shimomura (Death Trace). In 2009, he created the Sushi Typhoon label at Nikkatsu, where he produced films by Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Helldriver), and Sion Sono (Cold Fish). His recent films for Nikkatsu include The Mo Brothers’ Killers, Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe, and Kazuya Shiraishi’s Twisted Justice.
Michael Arias dropped out of his linguistics degree to become a musician, before joining the film industry in 1987 as a motion capture camera assistant on genre classics The Abyss and Total Recall. After a period working under VFX legend Douglas Trumball at Universal Studios’ theme parks, Arias moved to Tokyo in 1991 to work for IMAGICA and Sega. Returning to New York in 1993, he co-founded CG design boutique Syzygy Digital Cinema — creating film title sequences for David Cronenberg, Spike Lee and The Coen Brothers — and then helped develop hybrid 2-D and 3-D animation software at Softimage for DreamWorks Animation (Prince of Egypt) and Studio Ghibli (Princess Mononoke). Relocating to Japan in 1995, he fell in love with Taiyo Matsumoto’s Tek- konkinreet manga, creating an award-winning four-minute film pilot short before producing The Animatrix omnibus at Studio 4°C. His films include the feature-length anime Tekkonkinkreet, the live-action Heaven’s Door and dark sci-fi anime Harmony
Born in Singapore, raised in Malaysia, and educated in Switzerland, half-Swedish Annicka Dolonius is one of Philippine cinema’s most international citizens. Five years after playing a high-school student in Auraeus Solito’s 1980s-set Philippine Science, she entered the film industry like a whirlwind with another Cinemalaya competition entry, Marietta Jamora’s 2012 What Isn’t There. Before casting began, Jamora told the festival organizing committee who were seed-funding it, “I just want to discover somebody and hope she looks like a young Winona Ryder.” She got that and more in Dolonius, who played the carefree, music-loving Enid del Mundo who sweeps the virginal protagonist off his feet. After a series of bit parts in commercial films and television, she returned to leading roles last year in Jim Libiran’s high school orgy drama Ninja Party and Mario Cornejo’s Apocalypse Child, for which she won her very first acting award at the Quezon City International Film Festival (QCinema).
Monster Jimenez is a producer, screenwriter, and director who has worked in film, television and print media. She and her partner Mario Cornejo collaborate as the “Monster and Mario Show”: Cornejo directs the duo’s narrative feature films; Jimenez directs their documentaries. Their first partnership was the anarchic comedy Big Time, about the misadventures of the Philippines’ two most useless robbers, which competed at the 1st Cinemalaya Film Festival in 2005. Cornejo directed her own debut feature, the jaw-dropping documentary Kano: An American and His Harem in 2010, which was recognized in Amsterdam, Cinemanila and at the Gawad Urian Awards. Apocalypse Child, which won Best Film at the 3rd Quezon City International Film Festival (QCinema), is also nominated for several Gawad Urian Awards on 21 June, the eve of NYAFF. Jimenez is the presiding chairperson of IFC (Philippine Independent Filmmakers Multi-purpose Cooperative), and co-founder of Arkeo Films and This Side Up.
Kim Jin-hwang is a graduate of Sejong University’s Film Department and the Korean Academy of Film Arts’ Department of Directing. After making a series of short films — The Ordinary Moment (2012), A and B (2012), Curtain Call (2014), and Mrs. Hwang (2014) — Kim directed, wrote, edited and co-produced his debut feature, The Boys Who Cried Wolf. The thriller, which doubled as his KAFA dissertation film, explores the ethical boundaries of make-believe when an actor for hire becomes embroiled in a murder case as a fake witness, only to discover layers of pretense. It premiered in the “Korean Cinema Today: Vision” section of last October’s Busan International Film Festival, where it shared the Directors’ Guild Award. After its international premiere at the competitive “Forward Future” section of the Beijing International Film Festival in April, it receives its first screening outside Asia at this year’s New York Asian Film Festival.
Lee Joon-ik serves up Korean history with black comedy, razor-sharp satire, and plenty of mud and blood. His first commercial hit was the 2003 satire Once Upon a Time in the Battlefield which he followed two years later with one of the ten most successful South Korean films of all time, The King and the Clown, about a Joseon Dynasty king who falls for a young, feminine actor in his court. After contemporary comedies Radio Star and The Happy Life, and the bittersweet Vietnam film Sunny, he returned to historical ground with sword actioner (and NYAFF 2010 closer) Blades of Blood. Battlefield Heroes was his wildest swing yet, a sequel to Once Upon a Time in the Battlefield that plays like an absurdist All Quiet on the Western Front. He vowed to retire if it flopped, which it did... before returning with Hope in 2013 about a horrifying case of child rape. This year we screen his most recent films, which show the impressive range of his cinematic output: lush period drama The Throne, and stirring biopic Dongju; Portrait of a Poet (2016).
While John Lloyd Cruz is the leading man of Philippines’ mainstream cinema, Sid Lucero is the leading man of the country’s thriving independent film scene. Born Timothy Mark Pimentel Eigenmann, his stage name comes from the role played by his father Mark Gil in Mike De Leon’s Filipino classic Batch ‘81. Since his first feature in 2006, Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Donsol, Lucero has won multiple awards awards, including Best Actor at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival for his role as an imprisoned child-murderer in Ellen Ramos and Paolo Villaluna’s Selda. Directors he has worked with include Raya Martin (Independencia), Brillante Mendoza (Captive) and Lav Diaz (Norte, the End of History, A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery) in films that have defined the image of Philippines’ cinema at Berlin, Cannes, Venice and other international film festivals. With Mario Cornejo’s Apocalypse Child, and the role of man-child surfer Ford, Lucero has perhaps found his career-defining role. He can next be seen as a priest tracking down a serial killer in Martin’s Smaller and Smaller Circles.
Shanjhey Kumar Perumal
Shanjhey Kumar Perumal is a Malaysian director and writer. Since earning a Communication Degree in Film and Broadcasting from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), he has worked in a diverse and wide range of media — from documentaries and short films to musicals and children’s programs — and has written and directed over 300 episodes for Malaysian television. In 2006, his short film Thaipoosam received international recognition at the 36th International Film Festival Rotterdam, and his subsequent films went on to receive similar acclaim across the festival circuit. In 2009, Machai was awarded the Grand Prize at the BMW Shorties Malaysia; his short film Jagat went on to win Best Cinematography at the International Toronto Tamil Film Festival in 2011; and in 2013, his documentary The Day That River Ran Red won the Jury Award at The KOMAS Freedom Film Festival Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur 2013. Perumal founded Skyzen (M) Sdn. Bhd in 2013 with the goal of producing high quality narrative, documentary and experimental films for the big screen. Jagat is his debut feature.
Hideo Sakaki made his acting debut as the boy next door in Tomoyuki Furumaya’s beloved youth romance This Window is Yours. After several years, he returned as an actor in a series of genre films, notably Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus, Alive, Azumi, Arigami, and Godzilla: Final Wars. Other genre film directors he has worked with include Yudai Yamaguchi (Battlefield Baseball), Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge), Tak Sakaguchi (Samurai School), Hajime Hashimoto (Flower and Snake: Zero), and Koichi Sakamoto (Girl’s Blood). He has also found small roles in the films of Isao Yukisada (Year One in the North), Eiji Uchida (Sisterhood), Isabel Coixet (Map of the Sounds of Tokyo), and Naomi Kawase (Still the Water). He directed his first feature film, youth drama Grow, in 2007. Since then his films have included anarchic comedy Accidental Kidnapper, politically incorrect romance Disregarded People, and Kiyamachi Daruma, his adaptation of Hiroyuki Maruno’s “unfilmable” novel about a quadruple amputee.
After starring as a down-on-her-luck wannabe singer in 23-minute Kun Shan University student short Whispers in the Reality, Kaohsiung- born Ivy Shao made her acting debut proper in the television series Confucius (2002), as one of the modern university students of the reincarnated philosopher. She has since worked primarily in television dramas such as Taiwan-China co-production Love at Second Sight (2014), romantic-comedy When I see You Again (2015), and romantic drama Beautiful Secret (2015) before taking the leading role in time-travel romance drama Back to 1989 (2016). In 2015, she played a supporting role as the best friend in Chou Ko-tai’s 1980s-set youth drama First of May. Her daring role in The Tenants Downstairs as the dangerously seductive Yingru, who collects blood- red suitcases in her sparsely furnished room, is one of the most iconic to emerge from Taiwan cinema in the past decade.
After dropping out of his Spanish studies major, Shin Yeon-shick turned to filmmaking with his directorial debut Piano Lesson, made for just $300 in 2002. Committed to a career in the movie industry, he next made black-and-white indie A Great Actor, which put him on the cinematic map with screenings at the Busan and Rotterdam festivals. Four years later, Shin received critical acclaim with his controversial inter-generational romance The Fair Love, featuring Ahn Sung-ki as a 50-something in love with a friend’s daughter half his age. In 2012, he again explored the creative process with sophisticated arthouse drama The Russian Novel about a man waking up from a coma to find himself a literary sensation for novels he didn’t write. In Rough Play (2013), Shin adapted a screenplay by Kim Ki-duk that explored the dark side of the Korean film industry. Following road movie The Avian Kind and omnibus Like A French Film, Shin has created his most ambitious work yet in the Lee Joon-ik-directed Dongju; The Portrait of a Poet.
After working as an assistant director for Isao Yukisada, Isshin Inudo and Koji Wakamatsu, Shiraishi directed a low-budget, straight- to-video horror before made his directorial debut proper, the raw, uncompromising Lost Paradise in Tokyo. The independent film, about a real-estate agent, his mentally-disabled brother, and a prostitute who form an unlikely trio that fantasize about escaping to an imaginary island. Shiraishi’s second feature, crime drama The Devil’s Path is much larger in scope, tackling police incompetence, media ethics, and personal redemption. It stars Takayuki Yamada as a journalist investigating the lives of two serial killers who formed a partnership only for one to betray the other, initiating a cycle of revenge. Shiraishi’s third feature is a natural (and major) next-step, tackling institutionalised corruption in Japan’s police force in the anarchic Twisted Justice in which a wrestler-turned-cop starts dealing drugs so that he can import Russian guns that his bosses can report recovered on Hokkaido’s streets.
Before entering the film industry, Adam Tsui was the CEO of BMG Music Entertainment Greater China and Sony Music Greater China. He launched the careers of some of the region’s hottest music talents including Jay Chou, Wang Leehom, Jolin Tsai and F4. His first film production was Giddens Ko’s adaptation of his own novel, You Are the Apple of My Eye. After its huge commercial success in Chinese-speaking markets, including setting the box office record as the highest grossing Chinese-language film ever released in Hong Kong, he founded Taipei-based Amazing Film Studio. He has since produced Guo Jingming’s landmark Shanghai-set Tiny Times franchise and local romance Café. Waiting. Love. The Tenants Downstairs is his third collaborations with Ko and his debut as a film director in his own right. His company has seven films in various stages of development for release in the next three years, including Ko’s Mon Mon Mon... Monster.
Wang Yichun sets her debut film, the coming-of-age drama What’s In the Darkness in a village in China’s Henan province during the 1990s, where and when she herself was a teenager. She began writing the screenplay in 2002, after the death of her father. A year before filming began, she started to collect props to recreate the key period in China’s modern development. Originally conceived as a surreal Lynchian-style drama, she had to accommodate the limits of her sub-$500,000 budget — and her crew — by introducing a different visual aesthetic, one based on disturbed serenity. Yet to be released in China, the film has been optioned to be remade by local actress Zhang Jingchu. Wang won the Best Director Award at the 9th First International Film Festival in Xining before the film made its international debut in the Generations section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
Adam Wong became a filmmaker while an exchange student at the University of Iowa, borrowing the campus’ cameras and editing equipment to direct his first short films. Upon returning to Hong Kong, he taught creative media at Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a visiting lecturer while directing making-of featurettes for films by Peter Chan and Sylvia Chang. His first feature was When Beck- ham Met Owen, about two 13-year-old boys whose love of soccer unites them. His second feature, Magic Boy, is a Mongkok-set youth romance that takes place in the world of amateur magicians. Wong spent the next four years looking for an investor to finance his third feature, The Way We Dance. The film also captured the spirit of youth with its tale of hip-hop street dancers. It was an unexpected box office hit on release in the summer of 2013, scoring more than HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) at the Hong Kong box office. With She Remembers, He Forgets, he enters a more mature phase of his career.