Film co-productions started to emerge after the end of World War II. Under the rapid rise of post-war world trade, filmmakers and film companies began turning to the international market for funding, talents, and technology. Though at the time, co-productions were more about business expansion and tapping into foreign markets than initiating cultural exchanges among countries. Nonetheless, the trend of international co-productions and advancing technology have paved the way for culturally distinct films from non-Western nations to travel far and beyond their home countries.
Global economic growth also encouraged the development of arts and culture, governments around the world are becoming more keen to support independent film productions. The rise of film festivals, finance forums and film markets also enable filmmakers to reach more audiences and industry people abroad, helping them garner international recognition. From attracting investors and skilled personnel, to fostering international collaborations, international co-productions have radically changed the ways in which films are made and distributed.
Pan-Asian film productions began taking shape in Hong Kong during the 2000s, and brought about numerous commercial films co-produced with Thailand, South Korea and Singapore. Since the signing of the CEPA in 2003, Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions have gradually taken over as the norm in Hong Kong cinema. Meanwhile, in recent years, film industries in our neighbouring Asian countries are on a meteoric rise. Especially in Southeast Asia, where we have been seeing a progressively growing international co-production model and more independent films making their marks in international festivals.
Kicking off the programme, New Cinema Collective looks at three Asian film companies with sound experience in independent international co-productions. Founded by a group of filmmakers, Epicmedia Productions specialises in film production and finding local and international funding for Filipino film projects. Japan’s KUZOKU is dedicated to independent film productions, the two core members of the group constantly travel across Asia to capture and develop little-known stories into films, from which they initiate opportunities for co-productions. Singaporean film agency Momo Film Co focuses on working with emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia to produce culturally-diverse projects.
The films and shorts selected in this section reflect the companies’ diverse fields of interests and experiences in co-productions. Malaysian filmmaker Bradley Liew’s debut feature, Epicmedia Productions’ Singing in Graveyards is a semi-autobiographical film about the late Filipino rock star Pepe Smith. KUZOKU’s Bangkok Nites, directed by Katsuya Tomita, delves into Bangkok’s red light district and the lives of its inhabitants to explore Thailand and its bordering countries’ complicated geopolitical landscapes. Finally, Momo Film Co presents four short films from Singapore and Vietnam that encapsulate the aesthetics and cultures unique to the South Asian region. Focusing on three notable independent co-productions from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in recent years: Singing in Graveyards, A Land Imagined and Blue Island, the films’ producers and directors will share their experiences of working on the films, and discuss the future of film co-productions with fellow Hong Kong filmmakers in the online panel.
This section introduces innovative co-production companies such as Epicmedia Productions from Philippines, Momo Film Co from Singapore and KUZOKU from Japan by screening selected films they co-produced; the programme also looks into three case studies of independent co-production from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong: Singing in Graveyards, A Land Imagined and Blue Island, with their producers and directors breaking different production routes, share their experiences of working on the films, and discuss the future of film co-productions with fellow Hong Kong filmmakers.
Malaysia, The Philippines ｜2016｜DCP ｜141′
Hong Kong Premiere
Q&A with filmmakers, hosted by Jun LI
A Manila-based film company, founded in 2011 by producer Bianca Balbuena, directors Pepe Diokno and Bradley Liew, and writer Lilit Reyes. Its mission is to create movies that matter by collaborating with fearless filmmakers and discovering the next generation of storytellers. It also specialises in international co-production most notably: Beast (2015, PH-Australia), Singing In Graveyards (2016, PH- Malaysia), Motel Acacia (2019, PH-Slovenia-Singapore-Taiwan-Thailand) and Above The Clouds (2014, PH-France).
Japan, France, Thailand, Laos｜2016｜DCP｜183′
Hong Kong Premiere
Q&A with filmmakers, hosted by LIM Kah Wai
Founded in 2001 by Katsuya Tomita and Toranosuke Aizawa, KUZOKU is a film production company powered by independent Japanese filmmakers. Staying true to their independent spirit and approach to production, KUZOKU has created audacious, original film projects that cover a myriad of themes in Japan and Asia.
The panel will look into a selection of acclaimed co-produced films that have emerged from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong: Singing in Graveyards, A Land Imagined and Blue Island, the films’ producers and directors will share the creative and production process behind each film and introduce the concept and workings of co-production, also to explore the possibilities of independent co-production for Hong Kong films and cover the essentials of production.
“Momo Film Co Short Film Programme” presents four short films from Singapore and Vietnam: You Idiot, Sunday, Mary, Mary, So Contrary and Côi, encapsulate the aesthetics and cultures unique to the South Asian region.
Hong Kong Premiere
Q&A with filmmakers, hosted by Didi WU