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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Heading to the Hong Kong International Film Festival and Filmart 2008

The past few days whirred by in a blur. Just as I usually was when involved in a production, I found myself buried deeply into the editing process of CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, my first actual short film in more than a year. By Sunday (16th of March), I had finished the first cut of the film, and also celebrated dad's birthday.

Then Monday came, and I was suddenly on a plane to Hong Kong for the 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival. KURUS (known outside Malaysia as DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY, but I'll still refer to it as KURUS in the post cos' it's shorter) had been invited to the festival and will be having its world premiere under the Asian Digital Competition (fellow Malaysian film, FLOWER IN THE POCKET is also competing in this category). The short film BLUE ROOF, which I also had a hand in producing and editing, has also been invited to the festival as well. I'm excited because this marks my first time in a film festival since last September in Chile (read my brilliantly written memoirs of that trip here).

But I'm actually here for the HONG KONG - ASIA FILM FINANCING FORUM (HAF), which is held in conjunction with the film festival, and I'm invited as producer of KURUS.

My guest pass

Aside from hearing that there would be some industry screenings, I don't really know much about the HAF. I tried asking some festival staffers and they couldn't tell me much either cos HAF actually had a different group of staff and neither of the HAF people were here.

I'm now staying at Cosmopolitan Hotel (... god, it took nearly an hour and a half to get there from the airport via shuttle bus!) and it's a pretty nice-looking hotel. This is my room.

My hotel room

The 2nd Asian Film Awards was held tonight and I was slightly bummed out cos' I cannot score an invitation to the awards event despite the fact that the AFA, HKIFF and HAF are sister companies. (I would later watch the live telecast instead) So, I ended taking a walk at Wan Chai near my hotel, soaking in the scenery and environment. Very crowded place, bustling with energy, the last time I came to Hong Kong was 6 years ago and my memories of it have been hazy.

Wan Chai at night

I ended up eating beef noodles at your traditional HK restaurant.

Place where I had my dinner

Typical Hong Kong restaurant

After walking around and even checking out the Times Square shopping mall. Saw armours from the upcoming film THE EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS starring Kelly Chen, Leon Lai and Donnie Yen:


I made my way back to the hotel, and saw roadside stalls.

Roadside stalls in Hong Kong

Roadside stalls in Hong Kong 2

There had been fear of bird flu outbreak, yet I cannot resist the temptation of trying out food at places like that. I don't know, I might want to go try it during the few days I'm here.

I'm managed to secure myself an invitation to the premiere of legendary Japanese director Yoji Yamada's latest film, KABEI - OUR MOTHER for tomorrow, just before the festival's opening cocktail. I'm looking forward to attending it.

Will keep you all updated about my adventures in Hong Kong. Quite a hassle that I can't really surf in my own room (have to pay an outrageous amount for that), only the hotel lobby has free wi-fi.