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HAF Project Market Selection Reflects COVID Impact on Storytelling

Leading indie film project market, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum has revealed a selection of 28 titles for its twentieth edition and confirmed that it will be held online for the third time in a row.

“Unfortunately, we won’t have the opportunity to celebrate our 20th anniversary by hosting our usual in-person event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions,” HKIFF industry director Jacob Wong said. “Nevertheless, based on experience gained from the last two years, we will strive to improve our online booking and meeting system to make it a breeze for all participants.”

The market will operate March 14-16, 2022, alongside the 26th edition of rights market Hong Kong FilMart (March 14-17.)

The market contains a familiar mix of experienced hands and newcomers. Among the well-established producers and directors with projects selected are: Huang Ji (2021 Rotterdam festival winner “Egg and Stone”); Hong Kong’s Jun Li (“Drifting”); Japan’s Mariko Tetsuya (“Destruction Babies”); Tsang Tsui-shan (“2021’s “Big Blue Lake”); former Fortissimo Films chief Michael J. Werner; Fruit Chan (“The Midnight After”); Nonzee Nimibutr (“Nang Nak,” “Jan Dara”); Ding Yuin-shan (“Push”); and Jane Zheng (“The Farewell”), Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur”) and Mira Lesmana (“Kuldesak”).

The 28 projects were selected from 222 submissions from 38 countries and regions. The final count includes eight projects from Hong Kong and twelve that are by first-time feature filmmakers.

Organizers said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen in the projects, both as a reflection of the stories that it has thrown up, and by the opposite reactions to it. Magic realism is a recurring theme.

Pandemic stories include “A Woman Builds,” a tale of family separation by Huang Ji; and “Chifan” by Tsang Tsui-shan in which a Belgium-born Chinese woman is branded as an outsider in the eyes of the locals in Antwerp.

Directors choosing to blur the line between fantasy and reality include Bhaskar Hazarika with “Insectum,” in which an Indian man descends into an insect-like state; Colleen Kwok whose “The Stars The Sun The Moon” sees two primary schoolmates travel twenty years into the future; and Panu Aree and former Variety correspondent Kong Rithdee with their Thai-Muslim horror “The Cursed Land.”

HAF 2022 In-Development Projects

“A Woman Builds” (Mainland China)
Dir. Huang Ji.
Prod. Otsuka Ryuji. Prod. co. Yellow-Green Pi

“Absence” (Mainland China)
Dir. Wu Lang
Prod. Dun He. Prod. co. Shanghai Turan Movie

“Bada” (South Korea)
Dir. Choi Ji-un
Prod. Yang Yun-ho. Prod. co. Puruen Gonpangii

“Chifan” (Hong Kong)
Dir. Tsang Tsui-shan
Prod. Teresa Kwong. Prod. co. River Vision Company

“Cubs” (Indonesia)
Dir. Riri Riza
Prod. Mira Lesmana. Prod. co. Miles Film

“Don’t Cry, Butterfly” (Vietnam)
Dir. Duong Dieu Linh
Prods. Tan Si En, Tran Thi Bich Ngoc. Prod. co. Momo Film

“Hanging Sun” (Taiwan, Hong Kong)
Dir. Shih Li
Prods. Julia Chu, Jade Lee. Prod. cos. Million Star Entertainment, Golden Gate Productions

“High Noon” (Hong Kong)
Dir. Wong Hoi
Prods. Michael J. Werner, Ngai Tat-sum. Prod. co. S&S Production

“I Might Write About Us” (Hong Kong, Taiwan)
Dir. Jun Li
Prods. Peter Yam, Stefano Centini. Prod. cos. Good Sin Production, Volos Films

“Insectum” (India)
Dir. Bhaskar Hazarika
Prod. Shyam Bora. Prod. co. Metanormal Motion Pictures

“Ma Bufan’s Family” (Mainland China)
Dir. Cao Yang
Prod. Zhang Yu. Prod. co. Deep Focus Pictures Culture Communication

“Malice” (Taiwan)
Dir. Lim Lungyin
Prods. Ivy Shen Yu-Hua, Kuek Shee Heng. Prod. co. Tydal Productions

“Maybe Today, If Not Today, Maybe Tomorrow” (Malaysia)
Dir. Lim Han Loong
Prods. Tan Chui Mui, Yeap Swee Leong. Prod. co. Da Huang Pictures

“Mind Load Waves” (Mainland China)
Dir. Song Chuan
Prod. Chen Hong. Prod. cos. Dot Art Creation Studio, Shanghai Crescent Productions

“Missing” (Japan)
Dir. Mariko Tetsuya
Prod. Eisei Shu. Prod. co. Roji

“Not Found” (Mainland China)
Dir. Huang Ningwei
Prod. Liu Jiayin. Prod. co. Changsha Bu Che Nuan Tan Film & Culture Co.

“Passion” (Iran)
Dir. Ida Panahandeh
Prods. Ruth Yoshie Linton, Arsalan Amiri. Prod. co. Evar Film Studio

“Smashing Frank” (Hong Kong)
Dir. Trevor Choi
Prod. Fruit Chan. Prod. co. 16 by 9

“Summer Breeze” (Hong Kong)
Dir. Ho Yuk-fai
Prod. Amy Chin Siu-wai. Prod. co. Meh Mono

“Tender Is The Night” (Mainland China, U.S.)
Dir. Moxie Peng
Prod. Jane Zheng. Prod. co. Seesaw Productions

“The Cursed Land” (Thailand)
Dir. Panu Aree, Kong Rithdee
Prod. Nonzee Nimibutr. Prod. co. Cinemasia

“The Midsummer’s Voice” (Mainland China)
Dir. Zhang Yudi
Prods. Mei Qiaochu, Wang Luka. Prod. co. Beijing MaxTimes Cultural Development Co.

“The Millionth Lipstick” (Mainland China)
Dir. Xu Zhenhao
Prods. Yang Chao, Yang Jing. Prod. co. Beijing Trend Cultural Investment Co.

“The Partner” (India)
Dir. Nithin Lukose
Prods. Raj Rachakonda, Anurag Kashyap. Prod. co. Studio 99 Films, Alif Talkies Productions

“The Returning Tide” (Hong Kong)
Dir. Jill Li
Prods. Ding Yuin-shan, Joyce Yang. Prod. co. Glory Pearl

“The Stars The Sun The Moon” (Hong Kong)
Dir. Colleen Kwok Tung-shuen
Prods. Stephen Lam, Sandy Yip. Prod. co. Production Avenue

“Travellers” (India, France)
Dir. Pierre Filmon
Prods. Sonal Sehgal, Pierre Filmon. Prod. cos. Sonal Sehgal Films, Almano Films

“Watergrass” (Mainland China)
Dir. Qi Rui
Prod. Qi Rui. Prod. co. Beijing BigFish Cine.




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