The Hong Kong Film Awards will be held tomorrow, April 15th, at the Hong Kong Cultural Center. In preparation of the event, website Chinese Films has an article lamenting the fact that it is increasingly difficult for new talent to make waves in the Hong Kong film industry.
The article makes notice that many of the filmmakers nominated for the Best Director award – like Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, and Johnnie To – have been in the industry for decades. Andy Lau and Lau Ching-Wan, both up for the Best Actor award, have similarly been in the business a long time.
Kwok Chin-kin, director of the critically acclaimed Gallants, spoke about why it’s so difficult for new talent to break into movies in Hong Kong. Says Chin-kin: “The Hong Kong film industry is completely controlled by commercial interests. The investors are ultimately businessmen. Employing new actors may cost them less money, but the risk is very high, simply because box office revenues cannot be guaranteed.”
Ip Man producer Wong Bak-Ming puts it this way: “Presented with an audience of 1.3 billion people, mainly on the mainland, a film’s content should cater to mainland audiences. Bigger markets mean bigger film productions, which, normally only capable directors are able to manage. So, younger directors who have little experience have few chances to make an impact.”
As the years go by, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Hong Kong cinema needs new talent in order to survive. The old guard of fan favorites, like director Tsui Hark and star Donnie Yen, continue to put out quality work but there is arguably a general lack of innovation and risk-taking in Hong Kong films today. Perhaps the industry needs to, in essence, return to its roots and give new filmmakers the opportunity to try and recapture the spark, the energy that dominated Hong Kong cinema during the 80’s and 90’s.
BREAKING NEWS: Lovehkfilm.com has the detailed list of nominees and winners at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards.