Wong Kar-wai Gives Backing to $33 Million Hong Kong Film Revival Plan

Renowned filmmakers Wong Kar-wai, Peter Chan Ho-sun and Derek Yee are among the top directors who have pledged to pass on their skills and experience to the young generation. They are part of a $12.9 million (HK$100 million) government-funded initiative to boost Hong Kong’s film industry, following damage from the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing political turmoil.

Under the new Directors’ Succession Scheme funded by the Hong Kong Film Development Fund, each of the directors, together with Gordan Chan and duo Mabel Cheung and Alex Law, will team up with one or two young filmmakers to produce a film that uses a $1.2 million (HK$9 million) government subsidy. Around 10 to 12 projects are expected to be realized this way.

The program is among the five measures totalling $33.5 million (HK$260 million) rolled out on Monday. Commerce secretary, Edward Yau said local film production and investment have shrunk over the past year, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests that began last June.

Cinemas were closed for six weeks from March to mid-May, and the territory’s box office receipts plunged by more than 70% in the first half of 2020. Coinciding with six months of political protests, box office also dropped 10% in the second half of 2019.

More than $1.05 million (HK$8 million) has been allocated to a scriptwriting incubation program that is expected to generate 40 screenplays. The government will boost its financing for projects through the Film Production Financing Scheme, which will allow investors that co-finance the projects to recover their investments first. It will also release its funding earlier, around a total of $12.9 million ($100 million) for more than 10 film productions.

Funding will be given to guilds to organize training programs for other industry practitioners. And also to boost the production budgets of award-winning projects under the First Feature Film Initiative, now its sixth edition.